Apr 20, 2017

Changing Lives - Restoring Trust

The Sunshine Charity selected the village of Sambalthivu in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka because of the impoverished status of people living here and in the surrounding areas.  Although we found that the communities we serve were not impacted by absolute poverty, the protracted civil war, followed by the tsunami devastation, their meagre income, social structure, and lack of understanding of basic health needs hinders a moderate quality of life. Lack of proper housing, clean drinking water, the absence of affordable medical and health care, nutritional food and the absence of proper child care facilities have resulted in a cycle of poverty difficult for communities to overcome. It is always the children who get affected the most and it's here that our project has become increasingly important and helpful to the community.

By creating a permanent space for children and providing creative opportunities, educational tools, reading material, an engaging staff, recreation facilities and one wholesome and nutritious meal, the project has helped improve the situation for the children of this district, as well as for their families. 

Our experiences show that conducting health and nutrition workshops with local hospital doctors have helped to significantly improve the health care needs of the children. By conducting these workshops at the day care premises, mothers are able to discuss their children's health needs and follow-up treatment in a child friendly environment, become more proactive and play a participatory role in their children's health.The medical programme includes the provision of vitamin and iron tablets, worming treatment as well as shoes to prevent worm infection. Doctors have time at such health camps to explain to the mothers their children’s health and nutritional needs.

The Sunshine Charity’s response has been consistent from the time of our founding. With generous but limited funding we were soon able to purchase a block of land and build a day care facility which could accommodate at least thirty children. Twelve years after, and a second day care building constructed on the same premises, we are able to accommodate more children.  A long journey for a small civil society organization but one that has reached credibility among the public in Sri Lanka for its commitment to taking care of vulnerable children between the ages two to six years.

Motivated by the parents and staff over the last years, the charity expects to move onto establishing a pre-school in the newly constructed building on the same premises. “We would like our children to spend time here as the facilities provided are far superior to other day care centres in the district, but we would be happy if our children can leave the facility with a pre-school certificate which will help in them with admission to the local school,” is how many mothers related their stories.

We hear their stories at the day care centre as well as when we visit them at their homes. Their stories have inspired us to continue our work in a meaningful and sustainable way.  This amazing opportunity maybe ours but they are really the agents of change for this and the next generation of mothers and children.

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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