NewUse has its head office in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka, and was created at the start of 2016. The organization is run by:
From the left: Charlotte Haughem, Jørn Hammelow-Berg, Dinseh R. Manawadu and Merete Lund
Merete comes from Trysil in Norway, and now lives in Hikkaduwa with her Singhalese husband, Dinesh, and their daughter Sanja. They run a travel agency, Norlanka Travels, and in the course of building a beach hotel. Merete has a bachelor in social work and has long experience working with young people with difficulties. Dinesh was born and raised in Hikkdauwa. He has a large local network, wide experience in the travel industry and experience of running companies in Sri Lanka.
Charlotte is married to Jørn, and they live in Sandefjord, Norway. They have had one-year leave of absence from their jobs to live in Sri Lanka and start up NewUse. With them they brought the children, Isak and Eva Lill. Jørn have also experience in working with young people with difficulties.
Background for NewUse Organization:
More and more tourists become aware of the beauty of Sri Lanka and the number of visitors is rising every year. Often it is not the country's many sights that make the most impression, but the people. Here you are met with a hospitality and an openness that is unique in the world. Many fall in love with the country and want to give something back.
Unfortunately, Sri Lanka is not only a paradise. The island nation is still struggling after 25 years of civil war that ended in 2009 and from the tsunami hitting the country hard in 2004. Sri Lanka is a developing country with high foreign debt. 4.1 % still live in extreme poverty (globalis.no), and welfare programs are inadequate. Income distribution is uneven and poverty is particularly high in rural areas.
Even tought the economy is growing and there has been an optimism in Sri Lanka the last few years, unemployment is high, especially amongst the young. For tourist places like Hikkaduwa it is a challenge that most jobs are seasonal. Many are out of work most of the year and there are no welfare schemes providing incomes enough for a living.