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Picture book: 15 years Little Smile Sri Lanka


It seems like a distant different time the March back in 1999 when I started the “adventure humanity” in the Sri Lankan mountains giving it the name Little Smile. I was the first white who since the country’s independence in 1948 settled here far away from the tourist crowds in a wild mountainous region close to civil war, surrounded by wonderful nature and bitter poverty.
So many things have happened since then. My unconditional YES to the great challenge to give children in need a home, protection and a future and to show this divided country that people can live peacefully together like one big family regardless of race and religion, had consequences for me and Sri Lanka. And it had a high price: I left my live in Germany, gave up security, job and family facing envy and ill-will, defamation and betrayal, even persecution culminating in imprisonment and violence. Yet I have never regretted this decision. Of course there were moments of doubt and lies, betrayal and violence have left their marks on me. But in the end all these problems have made me stronger and made what started with a little children’s house in the Sri Lankan mountains something that has an impact at many places in Sri Lanka, something that moves people, changes them and brings hope.
It was not easy for Annkathrin Blank and me to choose the pictures which truly present a place and make it possible to look behind the façade and look at it with the soul. We hope these pictures – the places, buildings and above all the faces and gestures – transmit what makes Little Smile so special and as we find so unique. Take some time and listen to each picture telling its story and at the same time being part of one very special bigger story. Each picture, however, is also meant as a Thank You to all those who accompanied us on this long and hard road and will continue to do so.