This project will fund the Shanthi Maargam "Art of Living" youth center which provides free professional counseling, mindfulness meditation, art and music therapy to strengthen the emotional well-being of children and youth in low-income multi ethno-religious communities in Colombo. Children and Youth develop skills to manage emotions, find a deeper level of peace, and in the long-term learn to break the cycle of violence in their families and communities.
12 years since the end of Sri Lanka's civil war, ethnic division combined with children's experiences of violence leaves big negative impacts. Research shows that childhood experiences of abuse or violence often leads to unhealthy adult behaviours including violence perpetration and low self-esteem. There is an urgent need for youth focused and holistic psychosocial services in Sri Lanka but the government has not been able to provide them which are youth friendly and accessible by them.
We pioneered a holistic youth development approach through our youth center which is inclusive for children & youth from all ethnicities, socio economic backgrounds and sexual orientations. We established the only dedicated children's mental health hotline in Sri Lanka. Monthly 150 children & youth access our free counselling services. Our sessions have addressed issues around depression, bullying, suicide ideation, child abuse, sexuality, educational stress, sexual reproductive health etc.
By healing the emotional traumas of vulnerable children and youth while using a youth development approach, we can help them find deeper levels of peace and resilience, and in the long-term learn to break the cycle of violence in their families and communities while and developing inter-faith harmony which our country so badly needs.
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