Epiphany Trust’s work in Sri Lanka started in 2000 with support for a special school for children with learning disabilities in Welimada, in the tea plantation region. Boosted by the Trust’s appeal for the victims on the December 2004 tsunami 2005 saw the establishment of Child Action Lanka the Trust’s ‘in country’ partner. Two containers were sent to the devastated coastline areas. Goods included school equipment donated by local schools and colleges, disability aids, and a mobile dental surgery. Liverpool City Council, through their pay-role giving scheme provided 2 Green Goddess Fire Engines and the funding for over 100 Micro credit projects. Starter businesses were established for the poorest members of the community, including a dairy farm to provide a ready milk supply. Mothers of the street children were encouraged to set up small cottage industries by the grants/loans afforded to them, many of which are still trading today.
After more than 25 years, and 70,000 deaths, the civil war ended in June 2009, when government forces seized the last area controlled by the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). Since then opportunities have opened up for Child Action Lanka to work amongst children and young people who have suffered deprivation, loss and trauma as a result of the war. In 2012 two new projects started in the war devastated towns of Kilinochchi in the north and Batticaloa on the east coast.
Deborah Edirisinghe has presided over a number of remarkable initiatives amongst some of the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in Sri Lanka. Her mission has been to empower the street community through child care and education, housing, health, micro credit programmes, vocational and other training, creating self sufficiency and independence.
|Child Action Lanka empower the next generation through education so that they do not have to live on the streets. CAL is now operating across 7 counties in Sri Lanka and supporting around 2,000 children on a daily basis. This provision includes a pre-school for the children of tea pickers in the Hill country, supporting child victims of the civil war in the north of the country and financing a school for children with profound disabilities. See www.childactionlanka.org.|