2020 Dec 2
Imagine an eight-year-old child with no one in his/her life. What would the child do? Wander the streets asking for help from strangers? Crying; trying to be brave? What kind of impact would this have on this child’s mind psychologically? It will weaken and shrivel up because all fears and insecurities will be weighing down on the child. Now, think for a moment. What if this was your child, left abandoned due to reasons beyond your control and you are helpless to do anything about it. What will you do if you came across a child like this? What will you want others to do if they saw a child like this?
SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka takes care of children without parental care, and have been doing so for the past 39 years in Sri Lanka. It is an organisation with over seventy years of global expertise in providing long term care for unfortunate children who have lost the care of their parents due to various reasons. SOS Children’s Villages is an independent non-governmental organisation based in Austria. Since its humble beginning in 1949, it now has a presence in 136 countries worldwide. The very first SOS Children’s Village in Sri Lanka was established in Piliyandala back in 1981, at the invitation of Mrs. Malsiri Dias who was the head of Child’s Secretariat at that time.
Fast forward to 2020, there are six SOS Children’s Villages in Sri Lanka, currently caring for over 800 children without parental care. All children assimilated into any of the six villages are strictly brought in through the Child Probation Department of Sri Lanka by adhering to legal guidelines and regulations.
SOS Children’s Villages has implemented other social development projects which have impacted Sri Lankan communities in a positive manner. The four SOS Vocational Training Centres around Sri Lanka that provides job-specific vocational training for free to young people from very poor families have opened up an avenue of opportunity for such youth in rural areas. More than 1800 youth have graduated from these training programmes and found themselves suitable self-sustaining employment. Apart from this, another project called ‘Family Strengthening Programme’ focuses on alleviating poverty-stricken families out of poverty. The ultimate objective of this project is to ensure children do not end up in child care institutions owing to numerous problems families face due to poverty. This is why SOS focuses on strengthening poor families by nurturing their skills and knowledge so it will help them find better sources of income which in turn will enable them to care for their own children without problems. Up to now, over 3300 such poor families have made use of this programme in Sri Lanka to come out of poverty and gain financial freedom and security.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has badly affected donations which this organisation depends on, to care for children in need. Since this pandemic is a global crisis, continuity of foreign donations too are at risk. Therefore, SOS Children’s Villages is reaching out to all Sri Lankans for support in caring for children without parental care in Sri Lanka, especially in this time of crisis. You can contact 076 322 7422 or 071 869 3208 if you would like to give your lending hand to help children in need.