Lynn Stanier, Founder and driving force behind charity Their Future Today has received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire M.B.E in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for her community services in Sri Lanka.
Lynn previously specialised as a sports tour and holiday specialist to Sri Lanka. She and her son Ryan flew out in 2005 in response to appeals from her local agent in Colombo. An earthquake off the coast of Indonesia triggered a massive tsunami, causing the single-largest natural disaster in Sri Lanka’s history. I am sure we all still remember the images.
The devastation to life and livelihoods was immense The Tsunami had left 4,500 orphans, who were crammed into the already over stretched orphanages. Moved by the immense suffering they saw at a children’s institution in Galle, Lynn vowed to do something to help.
On her return to the UK Lynn appealed to the Disaster Emergency Committee of charities to step in. Lynn was advised that “the initial disaster had been dealt with” and “there were no plans to assist in the rebuilding”.
And so, Their Future Today was born. Not as a gesture of charity, but as an act of human justice. Lynn galvanised her friends, clients and colleagues into action. Entirely self- motivated, she has launched and organised many fundraising activities including a series of Balls, and has coerced friends and supporters to visit the institution and take up her cause.
Determined that every penny would be spent directly, immediate focus was put on building trust with local government to make the drastic improvements necessary to transform the Galle institution. Today, Lynn is currently working with the Southern Province Commissioner and Ministers to introduce a foster care system and is delighted that she has now secured some funding from the Sri Lanka government to help drive this forward.
Since 2005 Their Future Today has helped around 16,000 children, and employs 26 local people in Sri Lanka.
When asked “what does the MBE mean for both you and the charity, Lynn said “I am so very honoured to receive this award, but I could not have done all I have without the unwavering help, support and fundraising from my family, friends, clients and supporters. I would like to believe that this honour will help us to raise our profile further, as so many people are unaware of the many problems still faced. It is so, so sad that 80% of the so called orphans in these institutions do have a parent or extended family, but they are too poor to support them and my wish is to do all I can to help ease this.”
Lynn carried on to say “It is so important that we continue to strengthen families, raise the stands of care and stay to assist the local communities. Help is still needed to manage the stigma, cultural differences and the long term emotional and physical damage, which is inflicted on children with no current alternative but to be pleased in an orphanage. To have the support and funding from the Sri Lanka Government to help us achieve this is so exciting and I am very proud that both I and Their Future Today are part of this movement of change.