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Mobilising Communities in Kirimetiyawatte: Main project

In early 2016 Shining Life Children’s Trust (SLCT), in partnership with the Women’s Development Centre in Kandy, Sri Lanka started a new project with impoverished communities in Kirimetiyawatte. In the first six months we ran a pilot project to bring some immediate support to the communities, whilst doing further analysis to determine the best interventions to deliver long-lasting and sustainable change and empower the community.

We now plan to embark upon a full two and half year project, with a better understanding of how we can best help, and ask for your support in making a valuable difference to the lives of the most needy in this remote Sri Lankan village.

Kirimetiyawatte is a difficult to reach village in the Central Province in Sri Lanka. It is a former tea estate, which, along with its inhabitants, has been left neglected, with little investment or change, since the 1970s.

The 80 families who live in Kirimetiyawatte, would previously have made their living through tea cultivation. But since the closure of the tea estate, people have been left to rearing animals, and unskilled, daily wage labour to make ends meet. Some women from the area have decided to leave their homes and take up jobs as migrant workers in the Middle East.

During the initial six month project, we have identified a number of worrying issues within the community. Child abuse, sexual and physical assault, has been reported and child labour has been evidenced. Neither are reported to the police. Community mobility, leadership and lobbying is non-existent in this village.

Access to education is limited for the children in Kirimetiyawatte. There is no pre-school in the village. To take GCE or O/Levels children must walk 3.5km to the bus stop and then travel a further 7km to reach school. To go to this school, the children must pass a test, which they are poorly equipped for; most fail. There are no facilities in Kirimetiyawatte to advance the children’s learning; there are no libraries. No children from Kirimetiyawatte have ever been to university. There is a lot of child labour and child marriage in the area, which is no doubt exacerbated by the lack of educational opportunities.

There is a high incidence of alcohol abuse in the village, putting children in unsafe and abusive environments. Instances of domestic and sexual abuse towards women also abound, but go largely unreported.

To begin to address some of these troubling issues, SLCT proposes to deliver a number of programmes over a 30 month period, focused on both immediate needs and capacity building, to ensure that the community has the skills and knowledge to continue to grow and build a positive future on their own for years to come. Below are a few examples of programmes that make up the proposed project.

Early Child Care

We will develop an early child care development centre in the village. There will be both indoor and outdoor space, providing a safe place for young children to come to. It will be founded and run under the rules and regulations of local government to ensure its sustainability. It will have teachers, who will gain training, become qualified and earn salaries.

Children’s Clubs

A children’s club will be set up to provide an additional environment for learning and play in the village. There will be interactive programmes with other children’s clubs in the area and a trip will be arranged to give the children inspiration and exposure to new environments. Most children in Kirimetiyawatte do not usually have the opportunity to leave their village. A series of awareness training on topics such as health and food will be provided to the club. A small library will also be set up in the village for the children.

Mothers, pregnant mothers and young children

Registering births, training programmes to young and expectant mothers as well as nutritional programmes will all be conducted throughout the project. Malnutrition is an indicator of poverty and monitoring mechanisms will be implemented throughout the project to make sure child nutrition is improving. Immunisation will be followed up on with young children.

This is just a small sample of all the activities that the project aims to deliver to support the community in Kirimetiyawatte. For more information on this project, please see our full proposal.

To make this project a success, we need your support. Please help the community in Kirimetiyawatte by making a donation.

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