A Remarkable Year in Sri Lanka

Last year, I found myself unexpectedly in Sri Lanka, working with the Tamil community helping small family-run businesses grow and prosper in a country ravaged by a decades-long civil war. As is so often the case, the experience left me altered in many ways and in wonder of my Remarkable Year in Sri Lanka.

Come join me on Saturday March 24, 2018 at the Annex, Cove Commons on Bowen Island for an evening of storytelling, lots of chat, delicious Sri Lankan food (not too spicy I promise!) and a few Sri Lankan foodie items to buy.

The evening will also be a fundraiser to educate Nepali kids with spinal cord injuries – a cause close to my heart. Donations are encouraged.

Tickets are $20 and for sale at The Gallery, Cove Commons., Bowen Island.

Hope to see you (yes you!) on March 24: 6.30pm- 8.30pm.

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation www.bomkarlsson.com and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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5 Responses to A Remarkable Year in Sri Lanka

  1. Mick Canning says:

    A little far away for me, sadly. But, totally unconnected with that, have you read anything by the Sri Lankan author Jean Arasanayagam? I discovered her books while I was in SL, and bought ‘Peacocks and Dreams’ which beautifully written, and then later read ‘All is Burning’ which is a series of short stories, lots of them set during the civil war. I would recommend them.

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Why thanks Mick, I will check her out, particularly the short stories. I bought a few books there too, particularly poetry (buy in every country I visit if English books are available), lovely memento. Will have to drag them out of boxes again. Hope you are well!

      • Mick Canning says:

        Very well thanks, Kate. Both books are short stories, actually, but Peacocks and Dreams is a series of short stories – vignettes, really – making up a whole. Stunningly beautiful writing, methinks. The shopkeeper in Kandy who sold it to me seemed delighted i was buying it, and told me that she had been his English teacher at school.

        Hope you’re well too!

      • Kate Coffey says:

        Bit of a sinus infection but otherwise. Very busy these days with life and work. Roll on the days when I can return to SE Asia!

      • Mick Canning says:

        I hope you’re over that soon. Yes, I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to get back there, too.

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