Our Views

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Nirosha and her daughters Samadinee, Sachintha and Chaya

This International Women’s Day, Newport had the opportunity to talk with Janet McKelvey, Co-Founder of TRIP Canada. Since 2005—and approaching the 20th anniversary of the tsunami on Boxing Day 2024—McKelvey and TRIP Canada have built over 60 homes in Sri Lanka, helped more than 50 Sri Lankans participate in and graduate from university, raised millions of dollars, and created over 250 volunteer experiences in an ongoing effort to build sustainable communities and transform lives. You can read the full interview here.

Janet’s journey, although not initially rooted in gender equality, has profoundly empowered women in Sri Lanka, offering them opportunities to educate their children, break the cycle of poverty, and inspiring a collective understanding that individual efforts can indeed transform lives.

The discussion with Janet seamlessly intertwines with the personal triumphs of women whose lives have been touched by TRIP Canada. Take Nirosha, a garment factory worker who, with the help of TRIP Canada sponsors, ensured her daughters’ education: Samadinee, who just graduated with a business degree; Sachintha, who is in third year at the University of Visual and Performing Arts; and Chaya has just been accepted into university.

The many stories, along with the diverse experiences of female volunteers—ranging from 12 to 82 years old—working tirelessly on the ground in Sri Lanka, underscore the tangible impact of TRIP Canada’s mission.

These narratives not only celebrate the empowerment of women but also highlight the collective effort required to foster gender equality and inspire inclusion. From building homes to supporting education, TRIP Canada has woven a tapestry of hope and change, driven by the belief that everyone, irrespective of gender, has the right to a brighter future.

We also spoke to one of TRIP Canada’s regular volunteers, Amalie Bruun, who has been a TRIP Canada Team Leader and Onsite Project Coordinator for over 16 years.

“Sri Lanka is a pretty special place despite all of its issues, and Janet is single handedly one of the most determined people I have ever met. What she has accomplished is truly remarkable and inspiring. She has found a way to not only give back, to also allow people to help people build a community, which is a very hands-on experience. It starts with a home and spreads from there.”

As we honour International Women’s Day, we acknowledge the significant contributions of the women within TRIP Canada and beyond, who have not only contributed to the mission’s success but have also been instrumental in shaping a more inclusive and equitable world.

For those inspired by TRIP Canada’s mission and Janet McKelvey’s visionary leadership, exploring their efforts further at https://www.tripca.org/ offers a deeper understanding of the transformative power of collective action and inclusive support.