A stepping stone to protect our children

The SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka (SOSCVSL) held a panel discussion under the theme “No Child Alone” on Monday, 26 at the Upali’s by Nawaloka function room. Surrounded by the panellists, sponsors, and members of the media, this was truly an eye-opening occasion.

The panellists included Dr. Hiranthi Wijemanne, University of Colombo Head of the Department of Sociology Dr. Nishara Fernando, SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka National Director Divakar Ratnadurai, Nishan Fernando and Sujeewa Rajapakshe.

Following the lighting of the oil lamp and the welcome address by the SOS Children’s Villages Deputy Director of Development and Communication Hasangika Seneviratne, the panel discussion was initiated with Dr. Wijemanne heading the panel discussion. She talked about the importance of families and parents in a child’s life and the importance of children for the nation: “The development of a country can only be judged by how they take care of their children.”
Nishan Fernando discussed the importance of taking care of children without parents and the need to break the cycle of poverty.

Sujeewa Rajapakshe had the floor next, and he spoke about shaping the life of younger generations and the work done by SOSCVSL.

SOSCVSL Brand Ambassador Pooja Umashankar spoke about her experience with the SOS Villages and the level of love and care they receive: “I am so glad to be a part of this family. What I have to urge from everybody out there is that we need to look after our children, so it is our duty to do our part. SOS needs support with funding, and educational and vocational support.”

Finally, SOSCVSL National Director Ratnadurai addressed the gathering and spoke about the SOS Villages initiative. “Our villages have a family-like atmosphere, where there is a mother and a set of children she takes care of. The children are given proper education, vocational training, and medical and psychological attention,” she explained.

Founded in 1949, SOS Villages is a largest non-profit organisation dedicated to the care of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Functioning in over 135 countries including Sri Lanka, this is an initiative that – through family support and care programmes, medical centres, schools and emergency relief efforts – impacts the lives of millions of children and families.

When children cannot stay with their family, or have no family, SOS gives them a safe home, together with their siblings, where they can grow up in one of their SOS families. SOS has set up six villages in Sri Lanka: Piliyandala, Galle, Nuwara Eliya, Monaragala, Anuradhapura, and Jaffna, where they parent about 860 children.

Those interested in lending a helping hand can support by sponsoring a child for a monthly rate of Rs. 2,500 or sponsoring a family for a monthly rate of Rs. 15,000.
Tel: 011 2702712

Photos Indika Handuwala