Why Leo Hope?
On the 26th December 2004, Sri Lanka was struck by the worst natural catastrophe in her history - the Asian Tsunami. At Leo Burnett Solutions Inc. (LBSI), the response was immediate. The team rallied together to form Leo Hope, a charity that would go on to help 370+ people and assist the community in the hamlet of Hiddoruwa in Kosgoda to rebuild itself.
How Did the Leo Hope Team Respond?
In the initial aftermath of the tsunami, the most pressing needs were temporary shelter, food and healthcare. We took up this challenge and fulfilled it by providing the much needed solutions and started supplying tailor-made rations to homeless families. We then teamed up with Apollo Hospitals to conduct health camps to prevent the spread of disease and provide much-needed medicine and care. We also counseled the families and livened up the spirits of the children.
The next task was to build houses. We set ourselves a fund raising a target of Rs. 20 million and aimed to build 27 homes. But, because of the overwhelming generosity of the global Leo Burnett network, as well as friends and the extended families of the Leo Burnett community, we were able to raise over Rs.50 million and increase our target to 71 houses.
How did the Leo Hope Project make a Difference?
While the new homes were being built, we wanted to return a degree of normalcy to the lives of the children in the community. To do this, we gave the kids books, uniforms, shoes, stationery etc. so they could return to school. We also initiated a scholarship programme.
We also wanted to help each family regain their livelihoods so we resourced items that would help generate a livelihood and provided fishing boats, trishaws, hand-tractors and block stone machines. We also provided soft loans to more enterprising individuals and lent a hand in re-opening a corner shop, a kottu kade and a communications centre.
In September 2005, the Leo Hope Project attained its goal when 71 new houses were handed to the residents of the hamlet in a ceremony that was as personally fulfilling as it was deeply moving for those involved.