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The Good Shepherd Sisters visited a village called Gajabapura,a rural village with a Sinhala Minority Community in the Welioya Division in Mullaitivu District. These people were victims of the earlier war and were forced to move from this village to refugee camps. The M/Paranagama Wewa School of the area was also destroyed during this war in 1999 and was reopened on 26th February 2015.

Dire conditions
The present living conditions of these people who are under the poverty line is very difficult, with neither proper housing nor sanitary facilities. Electricity supply is very limited and the children who are undernourished with barely one good meal a day are sent to school under dire conditions. As a result they need to be encouraged and supported emotionally, socially and economically.

Good Shepherd response
Sisters Irene, Rasangi, Gowsala and Saminthini visited some of the houses as a result.
We had a workshop for parents of children at the school – M/ParanagamaWewa School on 30th January 2016. It was organized by Sr. Lakshmi and a group of teachers from Colombo.

Now we are engaged in a Nutritional Program, and also visit this area creating a child friendly safe space for the children through various activities.

5Sister Immaculate de Alwis and her team of supporters visited Welikade Prison on 22 May 2017.  They formally handed over boxes of books for the Prison Library.  This is a contribution to Vocational Training within the Prison, which prepares the women prisoners for their release.  

English classes with a difference
We have English language classes for the people in prison, and last December about 50 of them did the GCE ordinary level English paper.  The majority passed the exam, and some of them received credit passes.
The classes are organized in such a way, so that qualified prisoners are the teachers.  The students have to treat the teacher with the same respect that a student in school would treat the teacher.  In this way the prisoner learns more than ‘English’.

Future plans
There is a well equipped Library in the Prison and soon the building will be extended.  More books will be needed…..

Submitted by Sr Immaculate de A

4Community Based Child Protection in Sinnapaduwa

Staff Training and Capacity Building
Since we have inaugurated the project, several activities been done in the project area and staff capacity building programmes as well. ‘Gender Equality’ Training, ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of the Self Help Approach’ Training, ‘Strengthening the Organizational Potential’, to name some of the capacity building programmes given to the staff to enhance the calibre of their work to support the project management cycle.

Celebration of International Children's Day 2017
The International Children’s Day 2017 was celebrated in Vavuniya with the other partner organizations. 50 children from Good Shepherd Sisters Sri Lanka (GSSL) project energetically took the long ride to participate in the event. These children performed a ballet which sent out the message of child rights awareness. Other entertaining events were organized for children to spend an eventful day - they had a cricket tournament and other interesting games as teams and at organizational level.   They spent two days with other children from different parts of the island and had a wonderful exposure and participation. For them it was an exciting experience and an opportunity as well.  

Child Friendly Safety Space
The children come to the Child Friendly Safety Space (CFSS) daily for different activities and to learn various skills.

Life Education Programme
On the 25th November a life education programme was conducted by Sr. Lakshmi at the CFSS and 56 children participated in it.

There the children were guided to relax and to concentrate for a while on the beauty of life and its gifts. Further, they were motivated to set goals for their future, especially focusing on Education. In small groups they surfaced their future vision and presented in the big group. This activity reminded us that these children have bigger vision and willingness to be educated and professional, rather than living in a small world in Sinnapaduwa with minimal basic needs. This was a learning for us too, that we need to support them to achieve their legitimate wishes.

Self Help Approach
Self Help Approach is our entry point to create a child friendly environment and safety net in the project area. Since this is our pilot project we need to reach the target of forming 37 Self Help Groups (SHGs) by August 2019. At present 8 groups are formed with 15 members in each group which shows that we are on the move with our schedule. Community facilitators visit these groups every week and SHA officer Sr. Rasangi trains them with modules and monitors their performances. Project Manager Sr. Lakshmi does monitoring visits and guides them.

Orange the World activities
Sixteen days activism for women falls from 25th November to 10th December to make society aware to stop violence against women and to promote gender equality, which is called ‘Orange the World'. To mark this event we organized A FORUM THEATRE to convey the message to women. There were 105 women participants. This was on the 10th December and a group of trained drama performers were invited to the field. They worked with six young performers and through role play and participation of the women the message was presented. The message was to treat everyone equally - beyond gender, race, religion, and state. Secondly, women need to stand against violence and abuses.

Although we have a long way to journey with these women, empowering them to stand on their own to protect their children........ the journey has begun.

Submitted by Sr.Lakshmi Fernando

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