Global Good: MicroAid International In Sri Lanka

Jon Ross in Sri Lanka

Jon Ross in Sri Lanka

Entrepreneur, surfer, and humanitarian, Jon Ross has been compelled to help others throughout his life. For the last twenty years, he served as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Achilles Track Club, a running club for people with disabilities. In addition to guiding blind runners and people in wheelchairs in marathons, he also builds houses with Habitat for Humanity.  In early 2005, he was commissioned by a financial firm in New York to evaluate the disastrous effects of the 2004 tsunami and the needs of the victims in Sri Lanka. He explains, “What I found was that no matter the response of the big relief organizations, there are always individuals and families that still need help, months and even years, following a disaster. This planted the seed for MicroAid International.”

Launched in 2008, MicroAid is a 5013(c) organization whose mission is to provide assistance to those who remain in need after the initial emergency response and relief operations of other aid organizations begin to wind down.  With Sri Lanka as the first project site, Ross met with local NGOs and victims of the tsunami who were overlooked or underserved by relief and recovery responders. Years after the disaster, many families still need houses, tsunami orphans require support for their education, and workers have not been able to replace their lost tools of livelihood. Ross adds, “These now comprise the portfolio of MicroAid projects, and I am raising the funds to complete them. MicroAid is a charity–we are not loaning people money–because sometimes people just need help. All of the money we raise will go to assisting the victims; MicroAid’s overhead will be paid for by the board of directors and other specific donors.”

Stick Fishermen

Stick Fishermen

Despite the tsunami, the island has retained its vibrancy, and for those interested in traveling to Sri Lanka, Ross reports, “It is a beautiful tropical island with gorgeous beaches and turquoise water. The highland region has tea and rubber plantations and old-world colonial charm. The people exude warmth and the food is delicious, especially the southern Indian-style curries, dahl, and the rotis. I enjoyed visiting the small beach resorts in the south: Unuwatuna and Marrissa, and the famous surfing beach on the east coast, Arugam Bay. I took a train from Batticaloa to Colombo; it was a long trip (10 hours), but seeing the lush interior of the country, the rice paddies and the fog-shrouded mountains was amazing. (I would recommend the overnight sleeper instead of the day train.) Of course, in Colombo, tea or drinks at the venerable Galle Face Hotel transports you back to the days of cricket and gin and tonics. The Buddhist temple of Gangaramaya, an oasis compound in the midst of the crowded city, has an incredible display of all of the gifts people have given them over the years, including a fleet of automobiles, art, antiques, jewelry, and even an elephant. The highlight for me was meeting people I could help. They were gracious and grateful. And they were doing their best under difficult circumstances.”

To learn more about the organization and its work, check MicroAid International.

Latest posts by Ann Wycoff

1 Comment

  1. Sri Lanka Travel on December 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Sri Lanka is among the top travel destinations around the world. Nice work. Thanks for sharing

Leave a Comment


Enter your email address to subscribe to our newsletter and get the best travel advice straight to your inbox!

Join 8 other subscribers



The ultimate traveling companion, is an informative, entertaining and unbiased resource that combines the latest travel news, inspired articles and visual content all in one easy-to-navigate online destination. Sourcing what you need to know before you go, wandermelon gives avid travelers like you savvy shortcuts to the world’s best experiences and destinations.


wandermelonSunday, August 6th, 2017 at 10:23pm

Hamburg is totally happening! Check out some of Michael Webb's architectural favorites up on the melon this week as he explores HafenCity. #Hamburg #Germany #HafenCity


wandermelon added 4 new photos.Monday, July 10th, 2017 at 7:28pm

Wondering what's big in Japan for kids? Check out Kristina Foster's latest story on the melon: #japan #tokyoforkids #tokyo


wandermelon shared Art Of Extraordinary Travel's video.Friday, July 7th, 2017 at 8:52pm

Definitely putting this on my bucket list! 👍


Art Of Extraordinary Travel

This restaurant has one of the best views in the world.

wandermelonSunday, June 25th, 2017 at 3:03pm

Sadly there is a dark side to travel and in Bali the cruel dog meat trade is alive and well, PLEASE SIGN & SHARE and do what you can to end this hideous practice. Knowledge is power and tourism dollars matter a great deal to many of the countries that engage in animal cruelty so don't be fooled by many of the zoos and temples that use animals to lure you in and as a result suffer miserable lives... or worst, as below. Thank you! :(


wandermelonMonday, June 12th, 2017 at 12:22pm

Mexico City is as modern and cool as it gets with great food to boot. Check out Michael Webb's latest story on the melon: #MexicoCity #modernarchitecture


wandermelonSaturday, June 10th, 2017 at 12:30pm

Street art in George Town, the capital of the #Malaysian island of #Penang. Photo by Eugene Choy / Revelation Productions. Read more here



Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest