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Ministry Highlight: Sri Lanka
Posted By Web Team On August 5, 2011 @ 1:27 am In Country Staff | 3 Comments
Our work in Sri Lanka began in 2010 with the Child Survival Program. The Child Sponsorship and Leadership Development Programs have not yet been implemented.
Sujith Siri Kumara first came to know about our ministry in 2004 when he participated in the holistic child development program at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Penang, Malaysia. Since that time, he has been active in child advocacy in Sri Lanka.
In 2009 Sujith became the representative for our ministry in Sri Lanka, where he assumed duties as the interim Country Director.
Sujith was a Marxist in his youth, but later became disillusioned with the Marxist movement and faced a series of personal crises. He was planning to commit suicide when God reached out to him and he became a Christian. Since that time, he has been a dedicated Christian worker, serving as a pastor and church planter for Calvary churches in Sri Lanka.
Later he realized his calling to serve children, and he and his wife, Renuka, became house parents for ESCAPE, a transit home for sexually abused children.
From 1996 to 2004 Sujith taught, preached and trained thousands of pastors, teachers, social workers, police personnel and caregivers in governmental and nongovernmental organizations about child advocacy and protection.
Sujith also designed and planned a three-year diploma program in holistic child development at Lanka Bible College and Seminary in Colombo.
He has written several books on child care and child abuse, and served as the magazine editor for the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka to educate pastors and Christian workers in Sri Lanka.
Implementing Church Partners
Implementing Church Partners are local churches in Sri Lanka with whom we work to deliver child development and ministry in the field.
There is a lack of Implementing Church Partner capacity. Our need for training is high as it is difficult to find qualified Christian staff for the Child Survival Program.
Our Implementing Church Partners lack infrastructure and facilities. We also face issues with integrity and accountability with some Implementing Church Partners.
We also have regular prayer days, which help the Implementing Church Partners and staff to renew strength in God as we continue to minister in Sri Lanka.
Our Child Survival Program cannot address all obstacles to a child’s healthy development. The Complementary Interventions Program was created to work with our holistic child development model to provide additional services such as our AIDS Initiative, funds for Bibles for All Children, disaster relief and water projects.
Typical Complementary Interventions in Sri Lanka include medical and crisis relief.
Child Survival Program
Half of our centers are currently found at tea plantations, where the health care system is not very effective. Therefore we make a special effort to ensure that the moms in the program get proper health care.
Compared with other parts of the country, there is a lack of knowledge of health care at the tea plantations. Therefore, we have to equip our Implementing Church Partners with knowledge about health care.
Our Child Survival Program specialist, who is a medical doctor, is using a curriculum to teach mothers about the health of their children and about basic care of their infants.
Families have lived in this region for generations working in tea plantations, and they are a marginalized community. Most of these families work for minimal payment, and they are exploited for work.
The percentage of children who go to school in this area is very low because older siblings stay home to look after younger siblings while their parents are at work. Some children start working at a very young age. Many of these families cannot afford to send their children to school.
Neglect and physical and sexual abuse are also high in these regions. Alcoholism is a growing concern in the tea plantations as men and women are addicted to alcohol.
We would also like to expand in Colombo. The conditions in the slum communities are similar to the tea plantations. People live in close quarters and unclean environments.
Children in this region are prone to diseases. Many do not go to school, and abuse levels are high.
Poverty and frustration leads some mothers to commit suicide, sell their own children, or abort them. Many children end up working in the city as domestic servants or restaurant kitchen helpers.
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