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Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children

by The Sunshine Charity
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Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Taking Care of 50 Vulnerable Sri Lankan Children
Celebrating Sri Lanka's New Year
Celebrating Sri Lanka's New Year

As Sri Lanka gets ready to celebrate the island’s New Year, the Sunshine Charity is rejoicing additionally to a second jubilation - having its primary project, the Sunshine Day Care Centre being granted pre-school status by the Eastern Province Pre-school Education Bureau. The wonderful news came soon after the charity was awarded three badges by GlobalGiving – “top-ranked, proven effective and vetted” for the year 2018. What an honour for the organization!

Looking back, when we began the journey fifteen years ago, operating in a make-shift shed under a mango tree to take care of children affected by the tsunami followed by children affected by the protracted civil war and now taking a more broader approach to include vulnerable children affected by challenging situations, we are proud to acknowledge  that a small organizations like The Sunshine Charity has contributed immensely to break the cycle of poverty for disadvantaged communities, particular children living in the eastern province of Sri Lanka.

Helping vulnerable communities to make the right choices like spending more on food, health and education and less on unnecessary goods has created for them a new set of values and beliefs. Making families understand that sending children to work or, allowing them to idle at home will in no way help them to come out of the poverty trap has contributed equally to the process. In discussing these issues, it is important to find solutions. In staying focus to achieve the impact of the organizations goals and objectives, we have continued to provided a safe place for our children to play and interact with other children, provided them with one nutritious meal, a glass of milk, educational material and more recently conducted workshops for the pregnant mothers living in the community as well as parents in general on understanding the needs of children. This allowed for the paradigm shift.

"top-ranked, proven effective and vetted" by GG
"top-ranked, proven effective and vetted" by GG
taking care of vulnerable children
taking care of vulnerable children
Making the right choices
Making the right choices
The need to come out of the poverty trap
The need to come out of the poverty trap
Providing a safe place for children
Providing a safe place for children
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Preparing for the Big Day
Preparing for the Big Day

When we refer to early childhood education, its importance is often related to children growing up under normal circumstances. Very rarely do we relate its importance to children living in vulnerable communities. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes, we forget that these children are equally important; sometimes it is because they live marginalized, hardly heard or seen so we forget to recognize them. Pockets of programmes take care of their needs but an overall recognition of equal access to child care and education is overlooked. State policies may well be in place but implementing them in total is ignored at many levels.

Providing early childhood education for rural, vulnerable children is perhaps the only way to get out of the poverty cycle. It was a big day therefore for the Sunshine Children when some of them celebrated their graduation. Dressed up in the traditional graduation gown, they were so excited to be presented with the much-awaited graduation certificate. Their next destination – the local primary school. We are told that the children who transfer from the sunshine day care have many advantages. They are confident, cry out for help without being shy, interact openly making friends easily and have the basic skills to help them settle down.

Parents of the children are aware what this means to the family and in particular, the long-term benefits and impact it has on their children. For the children, it was no doubt the biggest day in their early childhood experience and one they will not forget!

Anxiously waiting
Anxiously waiting
Receiving my Certificate
Receiving my Certificate
I will always remember this day!
I will always remember this day!
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Santa is here!
Santa is here!

Christmas is fast approaching and children around the world can’t wait to open their Christmas gift usually left under the Christmas tree or brought to their bedside by Santa. There are, however, many children particularly from vulnerable communities for whom Christmas and Santa is only a dream. That dream was made real for fifty-two Sunshine Kids thanks to the generosity of Santa Claus who travelled all the way to visit them in the rural village of Sambalthivu, Trincomalee, Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. For many, it was the first time they met Santa. The kids performed and sang and later invited Santa to share the food and drink that was served. After a wonderfully spent afternoon, Santa was on his way home. For the Sunshine Kids it will be a Christmas they will never forget!

We also would like to thank YOU, our donors who so generously gave to support our programmes and projects. The funding received has helped the Sunshine Day Care Centre to provide so much for the kids. Thirteen years and we are still going strong thanks to YOU!

                          From the Trustees of The Sunshine Charity

                    We wish all our donors, friends, well-wishers and volunteers

                                               Happy Holidays,

                            A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Awaiting Santa's arrival
Awaiting Santa's arrival
Santa's Suprises
Santa's Suprises
What a fun day
What a fun day
A Christmas Concert
A Christmas Concert
Oh happy day
Oh happy day
I am so happy today
I am so happy today
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Interactive Sports Day
Interactive Sports Day

Kids always look forward to the end of a school term as it marks the beginning of another holiday season. For the Sunshine Children the summer term ended in a special sports-meet. Special, because for the first time it included the participation of the wider community. Participating at previous sporting events were children, their parents and staff. This time participation included representatives from local government, pre-school education bureau, the organization’s partner at local level - The Church of the American Ceylon Mission, members of the local police station and the neighbouring community. The inclusiveness of the event allowed the local community to get to know the work of the day care centre in a friendly and sociable atmosphere and above all have a human contact to the children.

Community Participation is interpreted in different ways at different times. The definition The Sunshine Charity has pursued since being established, is similar to the one defined in a 2004 publication by The Policy Press, UK - “community participation means the engagement of individuals and communities in decisions affecting their lives,”. Though many organizations do adopt this concept, working directly for and with a community entails much more. Encouraged by the Gandhian principles of community engagement, the trustees have strived to keep the participatory role of the community as part of every programme implemented, whether it be the designing of the menu for the vulnerable children served, creative opportunities and outings for the children or health care, parents, children and members of the staff have contributed their time generously to achieve the mission.

Exemplary qualities were seen this year by local suppliers and companies. Encouraged by the value of the community projects and understanding the participatory concept adopted, regular suppliers have treated the children with cake and milk followed by some fun play-time.

Providing a proper kitchen at the day care centre also lead to another meaningful community participation. Initially, the one nutritious meal provided for the children was cooked elsewhere and transported to the day care centre. This was followed by the food being cooked on firewood within the day care centre compound. Although inconvenient, limited funding did not allow a fully equipped kitchen. As time went, the kitchen was upgraded but it was only recently that the day care centre was provided with a ‘super kitchen’. Since the contractor assigned had been working with construction, repairs and maintenance of the centre over the years, he had got to know the organizations objectives and intent for the children served. Very often he would contribute his talent voluntarily.  His approach encouraged a group of mothers to donate a gas cooker for the super kitchen. Many of these families can hardly afford a gas cooker for their own homes but their collective generosity provided for one at the day care centre. This is a good example of where community members showed ownership through voluntary contributions.

Understanding the needs of the community is a key component of the Sunshine Charity programmes. Using the correct tools to connect to the community, engaging them and encouraging them to be part of the process has helped enhance their active participation, leading to the sustainability of our work.

Community Participation
Community Participation
Enjoying
Enjoying
A Treat
A Treat
Bonus Day
Bonus Day
Happy to be at Day Care
Happy to be at Day Care
Super Kitchen
Super Kitchen
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Happy to be at Day Care
Happy to be at Day Care

Since establishing The Sunshine Charity in December 2004, the trustees have continued to search for innovative ways of raising funds to support the work we do in taking care of vulnerable children living in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Achieving short-term goals was easy at the time especially as our work related to the tsunami recovery process. The generous funding received at the time locally and internationally was overwhelming. It led to a paradigm shift in the art of giving among many. Volunteering time and sharing knowledge forms part of our culture but giving to a good cause has grown in Sri Lanka ever since.

From the very beginning, the trustees made sure funds raised was for the cause meant. The objective was to take care of vulnerable children living in the Eastern Province where at the time the need was. As our work received recognition many asked us to replicate the project elsewhere in the country. We knew that it meant raising more funds. Since all the trustees are employed in different fields of work, taking care of vulnerable children was a personal journey for all of us. Going beyond the original objectives would have challenged us beyond our skills and time. Almost eighteen years on, we are still primarily a trust committed to taking care of vulnerable children. That has been the focus and will always be.

 The Sunshine Charity while raising funds, raises awareness on the concerns and needs of the children. This has contributed significantly to encouraging many to be engaged with the beneficiaries. When a human contact is made between the donor and the recipient, further giving is possible. This has been a guiding principle in our work. We see so many wanting to participate in the process, volunteer their time, share their resources and talent. We have welcomed each one to be part of our work and to participate in the programmes implemented. Being connected has helped in raising awareness and funds for the causes.

Today, the 50 children attending the Sunshine Day Care Centre include orphaned and vulnerable children and those affected by poverty – still keeping within our mandate. With generous funding received from local philanthropists and international donors, the centre has provided the children with not only their basic needs like nutritional food and clothing but more importantly with creative opportunities, medical and health care, pharmaceutical drugs, worming treatment, foot wear to prevent worm infection, learning skills and educational tools – again within our mandate.  

Teacher training programmes conducted for members of the staff have encouraged them to be engaging, committed and understanding of the children's needs. The Sunshine Charity has also conducted numerous workshops for the mothers of the children on oral hygiene, nutritional needs and medical programmes with follow-up advice. Through its programmes, the organization seeks to strengthen the capacity and improve the lives of the children served.

The Sunshine Charity has a definite goal and a definite description of the organization, which is used in all our communication material and presentations. The audience we speak to hears our story whether through the print, electronic media or social media. We know that when our donors give they have heard the story. Above all, they know that their giving will be utilized for the children whose stories they hear.

Enjoying Reading
Enjoying Reading
Improving My Writing
Improving My Writing
Hand Washing Day
Hand Washing Day
Medical Check
Medical Check
Lets Sing
Lets Sing
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Organization Information

The Sunshine Charity

Location: Colombo 6 - Sri Lanka
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Sharadha de Saram
Colombo 6, Western Province Sri Lanka
$22,189 raised of $50,000 goal
 
339 donations
$27,811 to go
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