Piyumi was a young baby found in an orphanage in 2005 by Lynn Stanier when she went to Sri Lanka to help after the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami. She picked up this tiny, crying baby just a few months old who immediately stopped when Lynn cuddled her and held her close. Lynn says that she felt such a strong connection she knew she had to do more. She is a strong believer that two hearts beating together through a simple act such as a hug, communicates so much to a child.
Lynn took over the orphanage that Piyumi was living in, cleaned it up, created a nurturing environment and implemented a system of House Mothers so each child could bond with a loving "mother" . TFT are campaigning for alternative family care in Sri Lanka such as fostering or adoption, however there remains an immediate need to provide homes for orphans until the system changes.
Piyumi born in 2004 was a quiet and shy child and when she was 5 years old, Lynn discovered that her mother was alive and had never stopped hoping to find her. Piyumi's mother had also been looking for her son and they finally found him in 2008. After extensive safety checks, a supervised reunion was organised and Piyumi and her mother and brother became inseparable. Lynn recalls how it was so clear from the way they all immediately clung together that they were a family reunited and the long task of formally reinstating Piyumi with her family completed in 2010, the same year that TFT was formalised as a registered charity.
It seemed a happy ending to an amazing story. Sadly Piyumi lost her brother and her mother became very ill. There was a fear of Piyumi being sent back into the system but TFT stepped in to ensure that they could be kept together.
These excerpts are taken from communications about Piyumi's progress from 2012 - 2021.
"Piyumi our first reunited child now stands taller than me ( not difficult! ) Sharlika and Sandaruwan were also both rescued by TFT from orphanages and live next door to Piyumi in the second TFT house.
Their older brother has now finished his education, thanks to the school books he received over the past few years, and works to help support his mother and siblings. It has been a huge achievement for these Sinhalese and Tamil families to put aside their cultural differences and live side by side in peace and harmony over the past few years, and the children are all great friends"
"I delivered a whole boxful of photos to Piyumi and her sick mum Badrani, which brought squeals of delight. They don’t have mirrors let alone cameras and are always intrigued to see their photos on my phone which makes them laugh hysterically! It also brought tears of sadness remembering Isuru who so tragically died in 2013 in a motorbike accident aged 16.
He would have been a wonderful ambassador for TFT and we had so many hopes and dreams for his future. When I found him in the orphanage in 2008 he was 11 years old. He told me that after three years there, he still cried every day for his mother who could not look after her children when her husband disappeared during the tsunami and she became homeless and had no means to support them. I know how much he appreciated every day of his freedom when the family were reunited, as he told me each time we met. He had the most beautiful spirit and he’s sadly missed by us all"
"Piyumi has become the most dedicated and devoted daughter that any mother could dream of. They have both been through so much over the past year as Badrani is diabetic and was in hospital for several months. Now she’s home but needs a daily nurse and constant care. TFT is providing all their needs and support to ensure we keep Piyumi out of an orphanage which was suggested by hospital doctors when Piyumi refused to leave her bedside.
Badrani is now on the road to recovery and she is so thankful to TFT for all the help she and Piyumi receive, especially her wheelchair which has meant she can get out of bed and see the sunshine again"
"Piyumi's dream is to be an artist. As it is very difficult to make a living as an untrained artist, Piyumi is going to become a classroom assistant at our TFT preschool, creating art with the children. At the same time she will learn English, build her low self esteem and confidence and be given further vocational training so she can become independent and support herself and her mother."
In 2022 TFT has a plan to provide vocational training, build confidence and help Piyumi to stand on her own two feet as a financially independant young woman able to write her own destiny.