With the current COVID-19 situation, Handwashing Day came early for the Sunshine Kids. Usually celebrated on the 15 of October each year, Global Handwashing Day is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Explaining to the kids that washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap for at least twenty seconds was important, they also learnt the health and hygiene benefits of the exercise. The activity conducted at the kids washing bay area encouraged them to go tell their parents of the fun experience and more importantly that they should do the same at home. Helping them to do so, the kids were gifted handwashing soap to take home.
The two-day programme in Creative Art, Drawing, Craft and Clay Sculpting organized for the fifty Sunshine Kids was received with much excitement and enthusiasm ever-since it was announced. The Sunshine Kids have previously participated in similar creative programmes but this one was special as it was designed to include multiple forms of art therapy. The drawing and art programme using non-toxic paints and crayons were held in one corner while the clay sculpting in another. Then there was pom-pom making which the kids loved and hand art on the wall which they created into a collage of colour resembling an ocean.
The kids could interchange their workstation moving around freely in the large spaces at their own pace and sharing their ideas with one another. Inviting a couple of parents to volunteer their time along with friends of The Sunshine Charity contributed to the enjoyment that was visible everywhere!
The programme was facilitated by a well-known artist, art teacher with extensive experience in conducting similar programmes for kids. She created a friendly and relaxed atmosphere enabling them to have fun while participating in the numerous therapeutic activities.
Sri Lankan children have gone through numerous traumatic experiences from conflicts and civil wars to more recently the Easter Sunday bombings. Understanding the traumatic nature experienced by many children whether the live in the north or south, east or west of the island, it was a joy to witness the impact the diverse range of creative activities had on the children.
Celebrating a graduation is important for every child whether at nursery, primary or university level. It was a special day therefore for ten children who graduated from the Sunshine Day Care and Preschool. The ceremony made them feel very important and their parents very proud. The event also marked the end of their term helping them to understand their move to the next level. During their time at the Sunshine Centre, we witness how children change, grow and develop in their early years, so the ceremonies were a great way of celebrating graduation.
Access to early childhood education is provided at many local centres but as we have learnt over the years from the community, kids graduating from the Sunshine Centre have a head-start having benefitted from a variety of educational and creative programmes and be guided by staff members who understand their needs. Here, they are encouraged to express themselves, interact and meet other children, enjoy playtime on a large compound with playground equipment and enjoy one nutritious meal and a glass of milk among many other things. Enriched with advanced learning tools the transition will be a positive one. Armed with experiences and opportunities presented during their stay at the centre, their struggle at their new school will now be less. It is moments like this that we realize how important it is for the community to have a facility like The Sunshine Centre. We wish them best of luck!
The graduation ceremony was followed by a concert for the parents, visitors and officials from the community. The fun-filled day ended with a year-end party for the children.
Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays to all our donors and well-wishers who have continued to support the work we do for the children. To everyone we say a big thank you!
Having participated in numerous teacher training programmes and workshops, the staff at Sunshine Day Care and Preschool have learnt to initiate programmes for the kids without depending on the trustees to do so. Adopting a bottom-up approach the staff interactions with the kids on what they would enjoy most and talking to the mothers on how best their children can benefit has allowed them to present creative and innovative programmes.
A giant leap forward for all stakeholders!
A Children’s Market held recently is one of one such activity. Supported by their mothers, the kids proudly displayed seasonal fruits and vegetables, coconuts and village greens, all grown in their back garden. Visitors from the community, Local Government office and Pre-school Education Bureau participated with great enthusiasm, buying from the kids the organically grown produce. The kids learnt the production line and a bit of the economics in vegetable cultivation, which is also a part of the preschool syllabus.
The introduction of playfulness is an important factor in child development and we, at The Sunshine Charity have consistently strived to make creativity an integral part of our programmes. We have seen the impact of these programmes, which over the years have helped the kids to be playful and enjoy their day imaginatively.
Proud Parents & Kids with their home-grown produce
Although The Sunshine Charity’s primary objective is to take care of vulnerable children affected by poverty and conflict, the organization decided to go beyond its mandate for the first time since it was established almost fifteen years ago. Creating a programme to reach out to the children affected by the Easter Sunday attack, The Sunshine Charity will work with local partners to provide trauma services to the hundreds of children affected by the tragedy. According to psychiatrist and psychologist engaged in the field, therapeutic opportunities like drawing and painting, dancing and music which will allow them to verbalize their feelings and heal the emotional scars is an important tool. Following-up on the advice given, the trustees decided it was time to go beyond our usual call and help the children and youth struggling to cope from the recent horrific experience. It will take months no doubt for them to overcome these emotions but contributing towards the healing process was our responsibility too.
The Sunshine Charity will work with well-known and experienced resource persons to provide a way for the children to reconnect to their normal lives by providing them with dance movement therapy, art & craft therapy and music therapy. Opportunities to dance, sing, play and draw in child friendly spaces will be a starting point to help them strengthen their role in the community and transcend cultural boundaries.
The back-to-back sessions will also include a dialogue segment with children which will emphasize positive experiences, establish trust and allow feelings to be expressed. It will be facilitated to allow them to celebrate the wonderful multi-cultural identity of Sri Lanka.
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