Johnson Matthey renews its commitment with a further five years of donations to support children orphaned by the tsunami
Johnson Matthey was swift to react, along with the global community, when the tsunami hit the Indian Ocean on 26th December 2004. Like the other countries affected, Sri Lanka was immediately thrown into turmoil. Water destroyed many people's livelihoods and an appeal went out to the rest of the world for action and assistance. As an initial demonstration of support, Johnson Matthey pledged to donate $100,000 towards a specific reconstruction project and also agreed to match the total amount of employee personal donations, which brought the total donation from the company and employees to over $200,000.
But while some of the company's charitable giving is in response to a disaster, much of it is longer term. In Sri Lanka, following its support for a school and orphanage rebuilding project, Johnson Matthey made a commitment to maintain a relationship with young victims of the tsunami by making a donation of £3,000 a year over five years to support the education of children who had been orphaned. This money was earmarked for their school fees, supplies and extra classes, and was intended to help them to pursue their education.
In July 2011, Johnson Matthey's Chief Executive, Neil Carson, and his family visited one of the schools the company supports in Sri Lanka. He met some of the children who are sponsored and saw first hand the impact of the funding.
"The charity that Johnson Matthey supports, UK Friends of Galle, is run by Siri, a Sri Lankan man living and working in the UK," he explains.
" The organisation specialises in giving direct support to local schools and providing funds for simple things like shoes, school uniforms, pens and paper but also gets involved in building new schools and recently opened a library. Johnson Matthey has now sponsored 40 children and my family and I met 15 of them in a Buddhist Temple in Galle."
"Every penny that Johnson Matthey provides goes towards the children's education – none of it is lost in administration."
The results of Johnson Matthey's donations are starting to come through. "One of the first girls that our company sponsored is soon to become a doctor," adds Neil. For others, the journey is just beginning:
"One of our recent new beneficiaries is so poor that he and his family live under a road bridge."
There is no doubt that the funds are providing much needed, and much appreciated, support to the Sri Lankan children. Twelve year old Dilmi Samadini writes:
" Thank you very much for the scholarship money you send… it is very helpful to do my studies well. I buy my school needs and pay tuition fees from that money."
Sixteen year old Wyjayanthi Madushika came second in her class at the end of year exams, while her sister came third; both are sponsored by Johnson Matthey.
" We are studying well because of your help," writes Wyjayanthi.
Having recently reached the final year of its original five year commitment, Johnson Matthey's Charities Committee agreed that the company should renew its commitment with a further five years of donations. As a result, the group will continue to support many of the same children, along with a handful of new students, with the aim of increasing the scope of opportunities for their future.