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Jun 1, 2016

Local Compassion for Sunshine Kids

Local Compassion for Sunshine Kids

-          providing access to sight and hearing examinations

by Sharadha de Saram – Project Leader

In-spite of the recent flash floods and landslides caused by heavy rains which displaced around six-hundred thousand people from their homes and killed more than one hundred people with many more still missing, we were able to travel to the east coast of the island, where the Sunshine Day Care Centre is located. A few days of good weather encouraged us to make the visit to update ourselves on the situation and the needs of the children. We were also able to conduct the planned eye and hearing test for the children. Qualified Optometrists and Audiologists examined the eyes and hearing of the twenty-seven Sunshine Children, (fewer due to the flooding) who attended the camp. Accompanied by mothers and one father, the consultants looked for early signs of eye diseases and the sensitivity of the child’s hearing. The eye examination and hearing screening were arranged and conducted by Vision Care Optical Services, Trincomalee.

The Sunshine Charity’s mission is to take care of vulnerable children at the Sunshine Day Care Centre in the Trincomalee District, by providing one nutritious meal, creative opportunities, space to interact with other children, learning material and trained staff members who understand the needs of the children. In addition, workshops and camps like the eye and hearing camp conducted, the children are also provided with pharmaceutical drugs and worming treatment, shoes to prevent worming infection and uniforms.

Working with vulnerable children we often ask ‘what makes our children vulnerable’? We are made to understand that vulnerability is all about self-protection. What does this then mean to us, is what we ask next. Resource centres working on policies relating to vulnerable children, say that children particularly between the ages of one to six are considered always vulnerable. Making this age group the Sunshine Day Care Centre’s primary target group we are glad that over the last ten years, we have addressed areas such as physical and mental disability, the child’s emotional and behavioral problems particularly passive, shy and withdrawn, powerlessness including being unable to defend themselves, and acute illnesses, which the resource centres have identified as among the most vulnerable characteristics of children.

In their report, Vision Care Optical Services were happy to share the good news that none of the twenty-seven children they examined had any eye problems. In-fact, the children, they said had six-six vision which means none of them need any spectacles. There were two children however who needed follow-up on their hearing disability which will be done at the Vision Care services centre in Trincomalee town.

Mar 10, 2016

Inspirational Success Stories from the East

Inspirational Success Stories from Sri Lanka

by Sharadha de Saram – Project Leader

In-spite of its beautiful beaches, verdant forests, abundant foliage and fauna, fertile soil and a high literacy rate, there are pockets of areas on this resplendent island where communities live below the poverty line, where parents struggle daily to care for their children and where tragedies have affected them. The lives of some of these children would have looked very different if not for the facilities afforded to them at The Sunshine Day Care Centre, the only day care between a two-hundred mile stretch that provides the children space to enjoy enrichment programmes in art, music, song and educational skills among many other services.

During our most recent visit to conduct a medical, health and nutrition programme for the children, we wanted to learn for ourselves, how our programmes have impacted and how they have benefited our children since the organization established the day care over ten years ago. Some of the homes we visited opened our eyes to the issues and challenges these families face and encouraged us to strive harder to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

Kithushalini has been at the day care centre for just over a year. Prior to this, she attended the Government managed centre just across the street from her home. It was her two best friends, sisters Kavisha and Kavishalini who first told her about the Sunshine day care which they attend. “We enjoy playing games, singing and writing and have lots of fun,” they told her. Begging her parents to transfer her, Kithushalini soon found her way on the Sunshine bus – one of the biggest attractions to families. The Sunshine bus picks and drops the children from their homes thereby giving the much needed time to mothers to attend to their own work. Children love the ride.

Kithushalini’s father is an unskilled worker earning his living doing odd jobs in town. Along with his wife and four children they live at his mothers’ house built for tsunami survivors. The family saves on child care facilities and above all the glass of milk and lunch time meal which Kithushalini is provided.

With access to annual medical check-ups the provision of vitamin, iron and worming treatment, Kithushalini’s family is able to save a substantial amount. The health discussion for mothers inspires them to be more aware on nutritional needs of their children.

Lakshan was four years old when he joined the day care centre. Previously, Lakshan spent his time at home playing with the few broken toys he owned or helping his mother. He is the youngest of a family of five children, three of whom attend the local school and one, the eldest, a school drop-out. At the time of our visit we were able to meet only Ranjani, Lakshan’s mother and eldest sister, Lavinia. The temporary make-shift shelter where the family live was constructed illegally. The father, an alcoholic earns a paltry amount as a labourer with most of his earnings spent on alcohol. Thanks to Sunshine Charity’s local partner, the Grace Education Centre, Ranjani will be gifted a house very soon while Lavinia will work as a volunteer at the day care centre.

It is at medical clinics such as these that children like Lakshan and Kithushalini are able to know the status of their health. It is only here that mothers of the children receive guidance on the nutritional needs of their children, dental check-ups and advice on oral hygiene. More importantly, the participating doctors are from the district allowing the community to connect with them easily. Having made contact already, the doctors encouraged the mothers to visit them at their clinics for any follow-up treatment. It is only here that most children enjoy a glass of milk and a nutritious lunch time meal.

These are only some inspirational success stories which have effected change in the lives of children attending the Sunshine Day Care Centre.


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Dec 17, 2015

How Life Changed for Kalaivani

The story of Kalaivani

One example of a change story; a story about a child we have worked with in the past 22 months who has experienced positive change due to his or her participation in our programs

Kalaivani’s father had been killed by an elephant sometime back and her mother had died of cancer in 2014. It was a challenge for the staff at both Sunshine and our local partner, Grace Home to address Kalaivani’s psychological needs. Thanks to the numerous teacher training workshops conducted for the members of the staff which included counselling and understanding the psycho-social needs of children, they were better equipped with skills that helped them to understand Kalaivani.

Thanks to our international and local donors, children like Kalaivani can enjoy a nutritious meal at the centre, pharmaceutical drugs, vitamin and worming treatment, creative opportunities and interaction with other kids without staying home.

Kalaivani’s story is one of the many stories we have experienced. Founded in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, the organization celebrates ten years of caring for children. For a small organization with no administrative costs, where the donor’s funds are utilized entirely to benefit vulnerable children, where all the trustees work on a voluntary basis and participating in the programmes implemented, the Sunshine Day Care Centre located in the small village of Sambalthivu, Trincomalee, Eastern Province of Sri Lanka is inspired to continue its work because small donations have contributed and helped change the life of children like Kalaivani.

 


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