The success of the grassroots activities of the youngsters in the SAF-SOS Friendship Camp at Malpotha, Sri Lanka, set the tone of SAF and SOS-Kinderdorf cooperation in the fields of organic agriculture and environmental protection.
SAF SOS Friendship Camp, in which forty girls and boys participated, was held at the SOS Vocational Training and Vacation Centre in Malpotha, Sri Lanka, from 12th - 21st August 2003. The youngsters learnt about the enormous economic potential of employing improved methods in organic farming and acquiring professional skills for gainful employment.
The first SAF-SOS joint project, approved by the SAF Chairpersons, was the Environment (organic farming) camp which was hosted by the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Malpotha, Sri Lanka, from August 12th - 21st 2003. The objective of the camp, in which 40 young people from the South Asian countries participated, was to expose them to a rural life style and environmental issues while at the same time fostering friendship and a spirit of regional cooperation.
Agriculture being the main subsistence of over eighty per cent of the people in South Asia, the huge success of Malpotha camp lay primarily in making the participants aware of how its enormous economic potential could be harnessed by acquiring professional skills for gainful employment.
They realized the benefits of protecting the environment, and above all they developed close ties with each other as they worked and played together, cooked different South Asian recipes and had fun singing and dancing as they exchanged information regarding their respective cultures.
Hence, it was decided that in future SAF-SOS vocational training camps be held annually in each of the eight South Asian countries in rotation, starting with Bangladesh in 2004.