A KIND-HEARTED couple have urged Huddersfield people to help them improve life for deaf orphans in Sri Lanka.
Paul and Lynn Stothart have travelled to the poverty-stricken country for the last 15 years and become involved in helping people living in an area 20 minutes from the capital, Colombo.
The area, Negombo, was devastated by the tsunami on Boxing Day and people that Paul and Lynn knew were killed.
The New Mill couple are to return to the island towards the end of April for two weeks, intending to help an orphanage for deaf children.
They are now appealing for donations.
Paul, 47, is a member of Holmfirth Round Table and will use links with Round Tablers in Sri Lanka to make sure projects are done.
Money will be sent to Sri Lanka and only paid out as specific stages of projects are finished.
Paul will also supervise much of the work himself.
Three years ago Paul and Lynn helped a family by building them a house in just two weeks.
He met beach seller Rafiq Mohammed, his wife and two young children who were living in dire poverty - literally on the beach.
Paul said: "I decided that if we could organise a house for them we'd pay for it.
"The house was built in two weeks and cost just £130 - less than a penny a brick.
Mr and Mrs Mohammed had another child about a year ago.
The family survived the tsunami because Mr Mohammed saw a tell-tale sign that a tsunami was on its way when the sea level suddenly dropped and he could see coral he'd never seen before.
He grabbed his family and fled to the hills and safety.
The area has been badly hit by the commercial after-effects of the tidal wave. Friends told Paul that a 90-bed hotel in Negombo only had three guests in it. "They are absolutely desperate for tourists," he said.
Paul and Lynn have given money to the orphanage for deaf children before, but now want to help far more.
The rundown orphanage is inland and was not affected by the tsunami.
"We will assess what needs doing when we get there and get on with it," said Paul. "I'll be supervising the work and come back with photos to show all that has been achieved with the money from Huddersfield people."
He added: "The poverty out there is both unbelievable and shocking.
"These people literally have nothing. We can do so much for them with help from kind-hearted Huddersfield people.
"This will be a specific project and people will see the good their money has done and the changes it will make to these children's lives. Their money will be helping vulnerable, desperate and very needy people."
* Anyone wanting to help can contact Paul on 01484 686200.