facts about The Wijewardane Children’s Home:
- Ages served: Girls from 7 – 18 years of age
- Facility description: A complex of buildings including four dormitories, a dining room and a kitchen, located on well-kept grounds, which feature vegetable and flower gardens and a playground.
- Education: The girls attend a nearby government-run school.
- Nutrition: The girls receive three nutritious meals each day.
- Daily activities: The girls participate in assigned chores around the home including cooking, cleaning and tending the gardens. There is also time each day for outdoor recreation.
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 called this land home for thousands of years.
Its strategic location made it an important part of the ancient Silk Road, and its deep ports were important during 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. The small town of Panadura is no exception to these maladies.
For this reason, the Wijewardane Children’s Home serves as a beacon of hope. Founded by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, the home serves as a refuge for the abandoned and orphaned girls of Panadura, as well as girls whose parents can no longer afford to care for them. Here, these deserving girls receive the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come.
Facts about SRI LANKA:
- Population: 21 million (2020)
- Languages Spoken: Sinhala (official) 74%, Tamil (national language) 18%, English 10%
- Unemployment Rate: 4.1% (2020)
- Poverty Rate: 4.83% (2020)