The Sambodhi Home

The Sambodhi Home
Ayubowan! Kohomada? 
When I first arrived in Hikkaduwa and was chatting to Saya, he asked about what I do back home. I told him I work in respite for people with disabilities, and he told me about Victoria and the Sambodhi Home. The Sambodhi Home is a home for women with disabilities, about a 20 minute tuk tuk ride from Hikkaduwa beach, and Victoria has been going weekly to spend time with the women, bring craft material, and do different activities with them. Immediately I was interested in tagging along, and got chatting to Victoria within the next few days.
Victoria told me about how one lady started the home, and now she has two other women working there with her. There are over thirty women living here, and one male, relying mostly on donations from the community to keep running.

Since finding out about the Sambodhi home, I have been lucky enough to visit three times with Victoria and our friends Gayan and Saji. My experiences here have been absolutely fabulous, as the women are unbelievable. When I first arrived at the home I was greeted by all of the ladies standing, holding their hands together and calling out ‘ayubowan’ to me. I went along and said hello to each lady, and was quickly swept away by one lady in a wheelchair. First she gave me a necklace, and then began showing me all of these amazing crocheted blankets, bags and bracelets, which were made by the women. One lady, Pushpa, who has lost the ability to use her arms, also does amazing crocheting with her feet. Watching Pushpa drawing, writing and moulding clay with her feet is truly remarkable.
That day at Sombadi we did some drawings to show support for France, as the bombings had recently taken place. The women all put so much energy and love into their drawings, it was really inspiring. After our craft time, everyone sat around while two women played the bongo drums and everyone sang along. They love music, so it was great to look around and see the smiling faces littering the circle – although my smile disappeared when they insisted I sing a song! Haha. It was actually kind of hard to leave as I had had such a nice time there.

Victoria and Pushpa

Everyone with their drawings
My second visit to Sambodhi was extremely fun as well as we had some extra people coming along. A group of artists from across Europe had come to Hikkaduwa to collaborate on a one day arts festival filled with music, craft and theatre.  When they found out about the Sambodhi home, they got into contact with Victoria and asked if they could come along to make masks with the ladies. When we arrived that day, Samson the sculptor, did a little hello speech and then sang a traditional Nigerian welcome song which the women absolutely loved. Within no time everyone was sitting down and shaping the clay for their mask mould. It was so much fun, and great to watch the women use all of their creative ability to do some amazing work.

The ladies making their moulds
The masks coming along nicely
On the third visit to the home, we were again accompanied by more artists, so that we could do the plaster for the masks. This was a lot of fun, and the ladies really enjoyed putting the bandages all over the masks they had created. It was quite exhausting helping everyone with this, so I think everyone was happy when we had a break after the first layer of plaster. Samson and Yuri got out some instruments they had brought along and began playing wonderful tribal music. Yuri, who I believe was from Sweden, began belting out tradition Mexican, South American and African songs. It was strange to hear such a voice coming out of him. Everyone enjoyed the energising music, and some of the ladies got up to dance, which was so much fun to watch. Being in that moment was really special.
Words cannot really describe just how extraordinary this place is, how amazing the women who run it are, and how beautiful the women who live there are. There is so much positive energy at the Sambodhi home, with smiles and laughter at every corner. I’m so lucky to have been able to visit and I cannot wait to come back on the 20th December to help out with the day trip.
On a final note; Victoria has been raising money for the home so that she can buy some more supplies for the women and for a daytrip she is planning on the 20th December. If you are interested in donating some money, starting at 5 euro, please follow this link. Every little bit counts! I think today is actually the last day open for donations…


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