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Helpers Among Us — Vithiananthans sponsor girls soccer in Sri Lanka

A soccer team in Sri Lanka was the recipient of Squire Road resident Chelvan 'Chevy' Vithiananthan and his family's efforts to bring sports to his hometown of Tellipalai. COURTESY PHOTO/CHELVAN VITHIANANTHAN

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There are so many ways to help folks who have limited resources, and Squire Road resident Chelvan “Chevy” Vithiananthan discovered on a trip to his Sri Lanka home town that kids there need soccer equipment — as well as funding for a girls’ soccer coach. 

So he started asking both on Facebook and among the soccer players in town for donations, and he not only got soccer balls, but also shin guards, shirts, and shoes.

Chelvan Vithiananthan and his family have come together to raise donations to fund soccer activities for girls in his hometown of Tellipalai, Sri Lanka. COURTESY PHOTO/CHELVAN VITHIANANTHAN

Vithiananthan grew up in the part of Sri Lanka affected by the 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. His hometown, Tellipalai, was one of the areas evacuated by the Sri Lankan armed forces as a security zone for a large Air Force and Navy presence nearby.    

He says the schools in the area were badly affected by the war and six years ago, he and his family visited Union College Tellipalai, one of the oldest schools in Sri Lanka. It was founded by New England American Missionaries in 1816.

Donations from various schools and soccer organizations lay spread out on the couch of Chelvan 'Chevy' Vithiananthan's home. COURTESY PHOTO/CHELVAN VITHIANANTHAN

“During the visit, says Vithiananthan, “my daughter pointed out that there were no trophies for girls’ sports in the school.” 

And he found out the reason — they didn’t have funding for girls’ sports. 

“My daughters were playing a lot of sports and they wanted to sponsor a girls’ soccer team if the school started one,” he continued. “The principal was interested, but due to cultural issues, the local education department would not allow them to form a girls’ soccer team. But times have changed and they started a girls’ soccer program in November 2023. They formed three teams (Under 12, Under 15 and Varsity). They hired a coach (who currently plays for the Sri Lankan national side) whose salary is paid by us.” 

Chelvan 'Chevy' Vithiananthan and his daughter, Ami, check out donations for the Sri Lankan soccer team. COURTESY PHOTO/CHELVAN VITHIANANTHAN

Vithiananthan reached out to his daughters’ schools (The Rivers School in Weston) and the Winchester Soccer Club to see if they could help. Rivers donated over 100 soccer balls and the Soccer Club members donated shorts and socks for the girls some balls, cones, and pinnies.  A friend of the family took the donations when he visited Sri Lanka.

“The next biggest expense,” says Vithiananthan, “is cleats. The Winchester community has been tremendous in providing used cleats and soccer gear. I am still looking for more cleats and shin guards. I am still getting equipment from people and will continue to collect and ship.”

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