In December 2004, an undersea earthquake in the Indian Ocean triggered a gigantic tsunami that ravaged the coastal regions of South-East Asia and claimed hundreds of thousands of victims. Four months after the catastrophe, representatives of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation paid a first visit to the devastated southern province of Sri Lanka around Galle. In Seenigama, the most seriously affected of the coastal areas, two-thirds of the inhabitants had lost their lives, leaving hundreds of orphans. The Foundation’s team decided to put some hope and joy back into the lives of the traumatised children and adolescents and, through sport, help them come to terms with their horrifying experiences.
Together with the local authorities, the charity organisation set up the Seenigama Sports project, which has since established itself as the main provider of leisure-time activities for young people in Sri Lanka. The programme provides stability, gives children something to look forward to and helps improve their social skills. Over 1,000 of them participate every month in the various sports on offer, such as cricket, volleyball, badminton, swimming, cross-country running and table tennis.