We recently received an update from our volunteer coordinator at the Touch a Life with Hope Center in Sri Lanka, who took the time to share with us the history of the organization, as well discuss some of the ways they have been able to help some of the most vulnerable girls in Colombo — in large part thanks to our sponsors.
“It is with great pride and hope that I present this report of the Touch a Life with Hope Center, as this year marks the 35th year of the home since its inception.
From the entire staff of the Touch a Life with Hope Center, thank you to all the Children Incorporated sponsors for their support.
Touch a Life with Hope Center is managed by the Shilpa Children’s Trust. Empowering the lives of the girls that walk through our doors via a sound education remains a priority at the Center. Nurturing and uplifting girls through love, care, proper nutrition and guidance is our main goal. We strive to inculcate the values and the skills essential to live as a contributing member of society, and it is our fervent wish that when it is time for our girls to leave the Center that they join the community as mature independent young women.
Past to Present
“It is with pride that we remember the path travelled so far. The Touch a Life with Hope Center was established in 1987. It was the brainchild of a group, mostly of educationists led by Mrs. Sujatha Gunasekera, who took on the challenge to give protection to a group of children affected by the atrocities of the civil war.
With minimal resources, they were able to temporarily house around hundred children who were brought in from the war-torn areas, providing shelter, nourishment, clothing and a safe environment. In addition, building up their educational needs and skills, always a high priority, was cherished and served as the backbone of its mission statement.
In 1988, we were allocated land in Narahenpita, on a 30-year lease, and a basic shelter was built to accommodate 25 of the girls who had greatest need for a home. Since then, the Touch a Life with Hope Center has made great strides in its progress. Alongside the focus on education, individual talent and skills were recognized and development of these given importance for the overall well-being of a child. Space was created into the overall design of the Center to provide an area for the girls to be able to practice dance, music, drama and art. In 2002, we were fortunate in securing a three-year grant from international donor agencies, such as European-Commission and ICT (International Childcare Trust, UK) to build a comfortable and spacious home for fifty girls as well as a vocational center.
Continuing their work into the future
With the 2004 Tsunami affecting a greater part of the South coast, and thousands of children being orphaned, the Touch a Life with Hope Center, while adhering to the government regulation of keeping the children in their home environment, proposed and implemented a sustainable program to support 350 children for a period of four years. This was yet another milestone in the history of the Center.
Alongside the focus on education, individual talent and skills were recognized and development of these given importance for the overall well-being of a child.
Along with this ambitious project, between 2004 to 2009, many other proposals were written, and funds received to help communities within and around the community where the Center is located. Within these were micro financing, agriculture and home gardening, silting and cleaning of canals and supporting a school for children with Down Syndrome in the area — in total, over 10,000 lives were impacted through this project over the four years.
Through all of our development, Children Incorporated has been a crucial part in supporting our efforts and ensuring that the girls who are in attendance at the Center are receiving clothes, food, school supplies and hygiene items — all which contribute to their overall health and ability to do well in school. From the entire staff of the Touch a Life with Hope Center, thank you to all the Children Incorporated sponsors for their support.”
About Sri Lanka
The island nation of Sri Lanka is located just east of India’s southern tip. It has been known by many names over the centuries, but it fittingly derives its current name from the Sinhalese words meaning “resplendent island.” Amidst its tropical rainforests, coastal plains and south-central highlands, Sri Lanka boasts the highest biodiversity density in Asia, with roughly a quarter of its thousands of species of plant life and mammals existing nowhere else on the planet. Prehistoric settlements suggest that humans have also called this land home for thousands of years. Its strategic location and deep ports made it an important part of the ancient Silk Road and even tactical grounds in World War II.
Today, in the wake of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonization, Sri Lanka maintains its rich and ancient cultural heritage, comprising diverse ethnic groups, languages and religions. Despite its many advances, internal ethnic tensions remain active in Sri Lanka. In 1983, these culminated in 26 years of insurgencies and civil war, which, along with reports of corruption and widespread abuses of civil rights — not to mention the devastating tsunami of 2004 — left the nation reeling. Despite a recovering economy, Sri Lanka is still plagued by widespread poverty and its devastating effects.
How do I sponsor a child in Sri Lanka?
You can sponsor a child in Sri Lanka in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Sri Lanka that is available for sponsorship.