This work was originally started by a Christian couple Debbie and Dilshan Edirisinghe who felt God lead them to reach out to children living in poverty around them in Kandy, many of whom had no home but the streets. Since this humble beginning in 2006 the work has grown and developed from offering care to a few children to almost a thousand in the following projects:-
Now has four centres catering for children from a few weeks to 18 years giving love and care whilst parents try to earn money to provide for their families. They also offer:
- a basic meal (often the only guaranteed food a child may have)
- support for education
- a chance to play as many carry heavy responsibilities for chores or caring for younger siblings
- A project offering the above to children from the slums of Colombo
- A pre-school nursery offering food care and education to the children of low paid agricultural workers in the tea plantation area of the country.
A SAFE HOUSE which has been opened recently just outside Kandy.
- This is offering refuge and a sanctuary to the most vulnerable and at risk families who have nowhere else to turn to escape abuse.
Since our original contact with CAL in 2011 when Sue Stafford went out to spend 6 months as a volunteer with them the work has expanded to open a centre in KILLINOCHCHI, in the north of the country, which had been at the heart of the civil war. Many of the children there have been traumatised by the effects of the conflict.
A further project has recently started in BATTICALOA on the east of the island where five centres reach out to some of the poorest children in the country. The rural communities they come from have also been affected by the war and also the devastating effects of the tsunami and they have no running water or electricity.
Our support from St. John’s from 2012 has been through praying for them and giving a share of our annual Mission tithe and proceeds from the 2013 Lent Project. There have also been a number of people go out to visit or volunteer. Jeff and Sheila Wattley visited the children and staff in Kandy in January this year forging links with both the charity and the church that Dilshan and Debbie Edisiringhe lead there. Many of the staff involved with CAL are Christians living out their faith through a practical expression of the love of Jesus.
CAL has expressed their feelings about St. John’s partnering them in the work in the following way:
“Thank you for being part of us…we consider our successes to be yours too and we are truly working together to transform lives.”
For more information visit their website at www.childactionlanka.org