Empowering 100 Disadvantaged Sri Lankan Girls

by Their Future Today
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Empowering 100 Disadvantaged Sri Lankan Girls
Empowering 100 Disadvantaged Sri Lankan Girls
Empowering 100 Disadvantaged Sri Lankan Girls

Dear friends and supporters

Compounding the already extreme difficulties facing Sri Lankans caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka is now in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis. Soaring inflation, extreme shortages of essentials, including fuel, food and medicines, and daily power restrictions, are making meeting life’s basic daily needs acutely difficult. As noted by Sarah Knibbs, Officer-in-Charge for UN Women Asia and the Pacific, the crisis is disproportionately impacting women and girls, particularly those with the least social protections and already living in precarity.


Never has our work been more essential, and as a small, grassroots charity, we are able to make immediate impact on the ground. Despite the difficulties, we continue to provide hope and prospects for a life with love, dignity and opportunity, to extremely vulnerable women and girls - those who already face the most difficult of life’s circumstances.


Our Heartbeat Centre in Colombo, which moved to new premises at the start of June, supports vulnerable, often abused mothers in need of refuge, keeping them out of remand homes and helping them to remain together with their children in a place of safety and security. With the support of a local shopkeeper who delivers food supplies when available, and guided by our wonderful Matron - affectionately called “amma” (mamma), the women here have been preparing their meals in one pot over an open fire - gas cylinders currently being unavailable.


While we remain extremely concerned for the mental wellbeing of the girls in the orphanage, who have endured even greater isolation under COVID-19 restrictions - when only government workers were permitted to enter the premises, using the technology and computers that we were able to install [with your support] before the pandemic, we have continued to provide them with online lessons, giving them much needed contact with the outside world. With palpable gratitude, the children have also delighted in continuing to use the bakery we built for them in 2019 and enjoy stimulating outdoor play and activities in the playground.


We remain committed to the women and girls we support and despite the new and extremely difficult hurdles now posed by Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, as a small, on the ground charity, we have been able to work with the flexibility needed to continue making immediate impact on their lives.

Kind regards,

Joel

New Heartbeat Centre House
New Heartbeat Centre House
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Dear friends and supporters,

Finally, after months of lockdowns, Sri Lanka is now open for tourists and business, but now it is feared the country is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.

The government recently declared a state of economic emergency, with food, fuel and gas scarcity and 11% inflation which is affecting the once well off as well as the poor. An estimated half a million more people are now living below the poverty line, and child trafficking, child marriages, child slavery and domestic abuse cases have risen sharply.

Life is unimaginably difficult for the 100 girl victims we support who live in a very confined space in an institution. Our vocational training teachers have not been allowed inside for several months in order to protect the girls and staff from the spread of the virus.

We were determined to find a solution and requested permission from National Childcare Probation services some time ago to install WIFI and technology to provide classes online.

There have been many delays due to ongoing lockdowns, but at last, we are able to share the news that finally this project is up and running and is already providing a lifeline to the girls to enable them to continue with their education

The TFT Heartbeat Centre continues to keep abused single mothers and their children out of institutions and provides safe shelter and access to justice. As well as continuing their English, art and music classes which the girls love, they have also recently been learning tie-dyeing techniques for potential income generation.

One young mother is now participating in work experience to support staff there, while she continues her studies to become a lawyer.

Thank you again for your donations and continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Joel

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Donation of computer
Donation of computer

Dear friends and supporters,

While we move back to some normality in the west and reflect on the past few months, the President of Sri Lanka has announced a state of national economic emergency, as the Covid19 situation also continues to worsen.

Positive cases and deaths are continuing to rise dramatically, and another strict lockdown has been imposed, which affects the delivery of our vocational training classes.
Fortunately, the girls in Senehasa have been allowed to continue to use the TFT bakery to make bread and pastries learnt from their earlier lessons, and this has been their greatest pleasure during these unimaginably difficult times.

Despite the many frustrations, we are excited to report that as soon as this latest lockdown ends, we are ready to install the WiFi and technology needed to provide online classes for 100 institutionalised girls. This means we can expand our vocational training programme, and enable the girls who are studying O’levels to reconnect with their schools and complete their examinations, which will make a huge difference to their lives.

There is also happy and positive news to share from the Heartbeat Centre, where a new computer and printer has been purchased to support the English, music and art therapy classes, which are continuing to provide a very welcome distraction for the girl victims who are all suffering from deep emotional trauma.

Art loving mum Anisha, escaping from domestic abuse said the classes have been a lifeline. Her court case has been prolonged because of the court closures due to lockdowns, and she has been living under threats for her life and that of her child.

We are relieved to report a successful outcome, as the court has thankfully placed her husband under arrest, and ruled mum and baby can stay together. She will be supported in our safe transition home, and given education and life skills training on her new journey to freedom, to reintegrate into society and be who she wants and deserves to be.

Thank you again for each of your donations and continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Joel

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Dear Friends and Supporters,


Loss of freedom and isolation has affected almost every human being on the planet during the Covid 19 pandemic. None more so than victimized young girls, who are rejected by their families and locked up in confined and oppressive institutions to ‘protect’ them from their abusive perpetrators. All dignity and human rights are lost, often for years,


In the 21st century, this situation seems absurd, and to many unbelievable, but it’s true, and we are advocating at a national level for system change to introduce an alternative family and foster care policy, to end institutionalization for all children.

As part of this theory of change model, we have set up the TFT Heartbeat Centre to provide probono lawyering, safe shelter, and education, to keep single mothers and their babies together, and innocent girls out of institutions. This TFT project can be found under gender equality if you would like to donate.


While this archaic system does exist, amazing GlobalGiving supporters like you have helped us to give a voice and provide vital life skills and opportunities in the way of emotional support, schooling, and vocational training in preparation for the outside world, to help them successfully survive and thrive when they are released at 18 years old. Without self-esteem and education, the alternative is often crime, prostitution, and suicide.


Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly in Sri Lanka, schools are closed indefinitely, and only government workers are allowed to work inside state institutions, which means our IT, sewing, embroidery, and bakery teaching classes have disappointingly had to pause again.


Thankfully the girls have been allowed to continue to use the TFT bakery with skills already learned, and this has been their greatest pleasure during these unimaginably difficult times.


On a positive note, we are very pleased to report that we have finally received permission from the government to install WiFi and the technology needed to provide online classes, which will not only mean that we can expand our vocational training programme, but 20 girls who are studying O’levels with the schoolbooks we provide, will now have the facility to reconnect with their schools and complete their examinations.


Thank you again for each of your donations and continued support.


Kind regards,
Joel

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Dear Friends and Supporters,

In November classes were put on hold again due to a high number of COVID-19 cases in the community, and last week, they could finally resume. In 2021 we expect cases to go down and with that volunteers will be able to visit again, to continue the teaching of art, music, drama, meditation, self-defence and to provide careers advice and counselling.

Thanks to your support we are creating educational opportunities for disadvantaged girls who are victims of violence and abuse, and are placed in harmful institutionalised care for their ‘protection’.

Sometimes, against all the odds, and with the worst possible start in life, they excel, and we are so pleased to share the news that Tharushi* has passed her GCE O’level with distinction, and completed her MS office and software technical knowledge qualification.

She dreams to further her education outside of the institution, and as she is now 18 years old, we plan to support ambitious girls like Tharushi* in 2021, in a safe transition home to empower, educate and elevate her into the workplace through an apprenticeship or job. At the same time, we are developing a foster care pilot, to place girls into loving families, so they can flourish in society, and begin the lives they deserve.

Thank you again for each of your donations and support.

Kind regards,

Joel

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Organization Information

Their Future Today

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Joel Stanier
London, Surrey United Kingdom
$15,391 raised of $20,000 goal
 
317 donations
$4,609 to go
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