SUBA UDE provides physical, creative and emotional projects for displaced persons living in welfare camps in Sri Lanka. We focus on psychosocial needs beyond food, shelter and medicine.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Suba Ude's mission is to organize long term sustainable and participatory creative programs for tsunami affected people. Suba Ude is an organization that functions independently under the wing of its parent organization, the US-based non-profit private organization, A Place Called Home (, whose headquarters are in South Central Los Angeles. Suba Ude is funded by private donations, raised independently of APCH.

In February 2005, Heather Goodwin and Stephanie Bleyer formed Suba Ude in the southern town of Matara. The original mandate was to provide creative and physical outlets to children residing in emergency welfare camps. Since its inception, Suba Ude has built playgrounds, produced marionette shows, painted murals, set up Child Friendly Spaces and Sewing Centres for their mothers, taught swimming classes, and organized sports and arts days. In April Suba Ude's focus turned to long-term sustainable creative projects. Suba Ude renovated a primary school and started Sase! - a foundation for children's arts education. Suba Ude also partnered with USAID to provide multi-media training for war-affected youth on the east coast of Sri Lanka. Today, the MonkBag is Suba Ude's focal project.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Love Child of USAID and Suba Ude

Youth Voice: The Living Together Project

Akkaraipattu is a mixed community of Muslims and Tamils. Part of the population is made up of war displaced persons, and the town was also affected by the tsunami. Incidents of violence and hartals are common, both in Akkairaipattu and in surround-ing areas, even after the ceasefire agreement of 2002. Mutual suspicion between ethnic communities exists at different levels, and youth especially feel frustrated at the lack of opportunities to express themselves and make their voices heard. This was the backdrop for the multi-media training program for youth that was launched by OTI in collaboration with Social Organization Networking for Development (SOND) in September 2005.
Seventeen young people from Akkaraipattu and the surround-ing towns were chosen to participate, based on their interest in community issues and possible media initiatives/interventions. They have chosen to name themselves “Youth Voice.” The course, designed by Marie Ange Bordas, a professional photog-rapher, sought to improve communication between multi-ethnic youth, their immediate environment, and their communities. Six girls and eleven boys between the ages of fifteen and twenty one have been working together and learning new skills of pho-tography, journalistic writing, and different modes of media and visual expression. The youth have visited the communities around them and documented all that interests them. In the words of one of the trainees, “This course allowed something that was locked inside me to come out.” Another stated that he had “…learned to solve conflicts that occurred in and outside the class, while working in this group.”
The end of the course will see the publication of a newsletter produced by the group, covering themes such as religious har-mony, the experience of being handicapped, thoughts about ethnic cooperation etc., to be distributed to NGO’s, schools and other organizations in and around the area. Individual projects carried out will result in a series of posters that celebrate diver-sity and support peace to be put up in neighboring towns.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

MonkBags go to WOMAD!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The DisPlacements Benefit at The Standard Hollywood

Setting: July 13, 2005. A windy warm LA desert night. A hip hotel. The Standard Hollywood. Aspiring starlet sits perched over concierge desk. Dr. Dre and posse approach...up white steps, through white lobby, over white shag carpet. Door girl stands guard outside hotel lounge. Encountered with "Don't you know who I am", she blithely responds, "It's a benefit. It's for creative youth programs in Sri Lanka." He hands her a hundred and they all walk in.

It was a Wednesday night party in Hollywood with a $20 cover. Proceeds would jump-start Suba Ude's latest project - a participatory multimedia program with multiethnic youth affected by the civil war on the east coast of Sri Lanka. The Standard graciously donated their lounge, which was packed by 10 pm with revelers getting happy on free Bombay Sapphire ( and burning holes in the dance floor. DJs Liza ( and Jimmy nearly set off the fire alarm with their hot sets while images of Suba Ude's programs projected overhead. This was globalization Hollywood style - two opposing worlds seamlessly fused together and set to a rockin soundtrack.

At the auction table, people huddled together, carefully placing their bids on free weekends at the Standard Hollywood and Downtown, a diamond necklace, a Kit (sex toys save the children!), MOCA ( memberships, and more. Party goers bought out the table of MonkBags ( and departed with goodie bags stuffed with Stonesthrow ( comps and Flaunt ( magazines, American Apparel ( shirts, and milk crates of records, brown cardboard boxes filled with gifts from generous donors.

As the lights came up at 3:30am, we gobbled down grilled cheeses and french fries and gave ourselves some props. We had done well. Weary and hung over, I caught a passing memory from a not-so-distant past. I was in a displacement camp in Sri Lanka setting up child-friendly spaces, sewing centres and marionette shows. Now thousands of miles away, I was struck by how far I had traveled and how much one can actually do to bring two sides of the world together!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Monkbag hits the streets

Suba Ude's fashionable livelihood project is slung over shoulders worldwide. Check out the interview.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Rebuilding Kamburugamuwa School

At Kamburugamuwa School in Matara (the south), Michele has been wearing 2 hats- contractor and muralist.

Through her organizational prowess, the computer room now has electricity, a waterproof ceiling, secure windows, new floors and brightly painted walls! Michele has supplied the elementary school with sports and playground equipment, new books, children's shoes and healthy snacks AND she has overseen the installation of new latrines and safety fence near the future playground.

Just some examples of improvements made at Kamburugamuwa School...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Muppets Take Ampara

In June we produced 10 marionette shows on the East Coast.
They rocked.
See for yourself.