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Feb 14, 2017

Focusing on Education and Healthcare

Helping kids with Reading & Writing
Helping kids with Reading & Writing

As The Sunshine Charity celebrates the start of its thirteenth year of operation, the strategic plan for 2017 is to focus on Health, Education and Culture. Children attending the day care centre are between the ages two to six years. Keeping this in mind, we will conduct more interactive workshops through art and music. Drawing, colouring and painting, are all ways of supporting the creative world of children by which they can show how they see the world. The day at the centre will also encourage the children to tell their stories, sing and dance to express their feelings and of course reading and writing which will help the kids to have a life-long love for learning.

In their day to day activities teachers have been and will be encouraged to use every opportunity to integrate the rich cultural diversity of Sri Lanka into the day care curriculum and weave it into the fabric of everyday life to achieve the goals of respect, and understanding that characterize cultural pluralism of the country. Fun and innovative creative, reading and writing workshops conducted over the last twelve years will be increased to achieve this.  We also hope to include children from the community to participate.

The health and wellbeing of the children will be given equal recognition making it an essential and important part of our work. Since the first workshop was conducted in 2010, when The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) awarded The Sunshine Charity the grant funds, value to the core work of our mission was supplemented through subsequent local and international funding, allowing the health and wellbeing programme to be sustained for a considerable period.

The next health and wellbeing camp will be conducted in May 2017. It was found that children attending the workshop for the second or third time benefitted most, as their follow-up treatments could be monitored, discussed and addressed more meaningfully. Since the workshops are conducted by local doctors and the fact that they have remained more or less the same, the relationship developed between doctor - mother - child have significantly improved. Obtaining follow-up treatment with easier access at the clinic or hospital, where some of the doctors work and checking on the immunization records are important outcomes of the programme.

Discussions held with parents on the health and nutritional needs of children has played a significant role in changing the mindset of mothers. The change in attitude and understanding has contributed immensely to improving the dietary needs of their children. Replacing sweets and biscuits with local food like sesame bars is one such example.

We look forward to the new year with great hope and privilege as we recommit ourselves to serve children affected socially and economically living in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. To bridge these gaps, The Sunshine Charity’s day care centre in Sambalthivu has created a haven for them, providing one nutritious meal, medical support, learning, and other day care services.

 

 

 

Story telling through drawing
Story telling through drawing
The Sunshine Library
The Sunshine Library
A run around in the playground
A run around in the playground
Dental Care
Dental Care
A discussion with mothers
A discussion with mothers
Jan 3, 2017

Thank you from The Sunshine Charity

Thank You from The Sunshine Charity

by Sharadha de Saram – Project Leader

As one year ends and the new year starts we would like to wish all our donors, volunteers and friends of The Sunshine Charity all the best for the year ahead and say thank you for your support and funding. Thanks to all of you we could carry out our tasks and implement projects in the last twelve months of GlobalGiving after entering the Open Challenge in 2015. Thanks to all of you we have survived the last twelve years, keeping to our mission statement that we will take care of Sri Lanka’s vulnerable children irrespective of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds.

While many day care centres established in the Trincomalee District, Eastern Province by international and local organizations soon after the tsunami to take care of children impacted by the devastation stopped functioning chiefly due to lack of funding, The Sunshine Charity is proud to be able to celebrate its twelfth year because of the support given by our donors, volunteers and friends. Through your support, we were able to provide 45 vulnerable and orphaned children in eastern Sri Lanka with health care, pharmaceutical drugs, worming treatment, one wholesome and nutritious meal, educational tools, uniforms, creative opportunities, outings and a committed and trained staff.

The day care centre compound is equipped with playground equipment and provides an open space for the children to play. The trustees also organize health and nutrition workshops for mothers to allow them to understand the health needs of their children. Check our website  www.sunshinecharity.org and you will see the impact of our work due to the donation you made.

Visiting families at their homes and talking to them helped us, the Trustees of The Sunshine Charity, learn and understand the needs of vulnerable communities and in particular the families living in the District. In doing so we were also able to select children to attend the day care centre based on need. At times, we wished we could expand our work to admit more children but wisdom prevailed over emotion to not go beyond the mandate of the Charity or else we would like many of the other organizations have failed.  

It was a challenge to participate in the Open Challenge Campaign: Health Care to 45 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children at Global Giving’s prestigious online fundraising platform for nonprofits.  This platform is the world’s first, largest, and most respected curated nonprofit crowd-funding community. It was our first ever try and we were nervous at the start but one year later we are proud to announce that we raised a total of $9,653.52 from eighty donors.

We could not accomplish our goals without the support, involvement and enthusiasm of our donors, volunteers and friends of The Sunshine Charity. So, thank you again for your help.

In the new year, our plans are to continue our work to include more children from the community. The day care centre we manage has space for no more than fifty children. In addition to holding health and nutrition workshops for mothers and children at the cetnre, we plan on running a similar workshop at a community centre to allow for more inclusiveness in the community. Our plan is also to get the local doctors involved in these workshops so that the mothers of the children can have a direct and personal relationship with the doctor when they visit the local clinic where they are working. We will also include children from the community when arranging outings and creative opportunity workshops.

Your giving has given hope and will give hope to the children of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. We could not be more grateful to having you as our partner. Thank you!


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Oct 19, 2016

Learning from Failure - Why Due Diligence is Important

Meeting with Mothers
Meeting with Mothers

Learning from Failure

Why Due Diligence is Important

 

-          by Sharadha de Saram – Project Leader

 

The Sunshine Charity was founded in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami primarily to take care of children affected by the devastation through the establishment of a day care centre in Sambalthivu, Trincomalee District, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka. Today, the children attending the Sunshine Day Care Centre include orphaned and vulnerable children and those affected by poverty. This then was the principal objective of the Charity’s mandate – to take care of children.

Gaining recognition through endorsements and the media, both electronic and print, the Charity was riding high. Encouraged with more giving by both local and international donors, our work expanded. Increased funding allowed us to invest in setting-up a playground, purchase educational toys, build a library, provide uniforms and arrange outings for the children. We also improved on the health and nutrition of the children which became a core area of our work. We next introduced regular medical clinics, the provision of pharmaceutical drugs and worming treatment, sandals to prevent worm infection and many creative opportunities to stimulate the children.

Looking back on the numerous projects implemented we, the trustees together with the community we served, the care givers and the different partner organizations we worked with, were proud of the achievements. We were moving forward. With many of the day care centres closed due to the lack of funding, the Sunshine Day Care Centre was still in operation and how!

It was around the sixth year of operation that we met with our first failure. Though our chief aim was to take care of children and our work was intended with and for children, our ambitions for widening the scope of work without giving thought to the primary objective and not conducting the vital due diligence allowed us to fail forward.

Our story began during a field visit to Trincomalee when we met Rohini, the mother of one of our children at a meeting with mothers. “I would like to have my own home-garden but I am a bit scared as I have no knowledge of keeping accounts. We only have bananas growing. It would be good if we can grow some vegetables, especially as our house has water on tap. The income can help the family immensely,” she said.  Our emotions got the better of us and. With a head-on approach we decided to initiate a livelihood programme for the mothers of our children. Establishing home gardens would generate the much needed income and keep aside some home grown vegetables for the family, we thought.

Fast tracking our new idea, we went a step further. We built a home garden on the day care centre compound. Though we thought a Kid’s Garden would be an innovative programme for the children and generate some money for the day care centre, we were to learn a bitter lesson from the experiment. It was not only “water on tap” that was necessary but more-so some basic knowledge and above all passion for home gardening which the mothers of our children did not have. None of the members of staff or the care givers were really interested in the programme either and had even less knowledge on agricultural practices. The children were helpless. We had not conducted the proper due diligence and more importantly, by introducing a livelihood programme, we had gone out of the organization’s primary objective which was to take care of children.

The Sunshine Charity has been invited to participate in numerous programmes from partnering with elder’s homes, providing infrastructural support to existing projects, partnering with IT projects for youth etc., We do feel privileged but we will not make the same mistake by going out of the organization’s mandate. Another success of the fail forward experiment was that we realized our mistake early enough to avoid investing too much time and funds.  We took responsibility.

The lesson learnt is that work can expand but we need to focus on the primary objective of the organization and the organization’s mission. The experience also helped us to improve our work.  We have widened our scope of work to grow at a national level and not confine ourselves only locally through a day care centre – and yet continue serving children.

I would like to have my own homegarden
I would like to have my own homegarden
Kids Garden
Kids Garden
Kids Garden
Kids Garden

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