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The Challenges

Good Shepherd Sisters began this project 'Vaigarai', meaning New Dawn during the time of war. At the height of the conflict, people were asked to relocate to the safe zone of the country. They were settled in temporary refugee camps. The sisters visited the residents of the camps regularly to bring a presence of healing. They found especially young people who were:

  • » Psychologically, emotionally, and physically drained.
  • » Dealing with the loss of many things in life.
  • » Uncertain of their future.
  • » Deprived of education and skills training.
  • » Holding on to their faith and hoping for light.



What did the Sisters do?

They opened a residential service for young women and girls. At the beginning the young women were the ex-combatants of war and those who were badly affected by the war. When the war ended, the service expanded to accept young women from all over Sri Lanka who may have been:

    • » Physically, psychologically and emotionally broken.
    • » Orphaned due to the war
Living in unhealthy and unsafe environments, having lost their homes and property.
Experiencing economic crisis.



The project has three phases

  • 1. An educational programme for school drop outs and those who desire to continue their higher education.
  • 2. A skills training programme – computer, language skills, tailoring, beauty culture, bag making, cooking.
  • 3. A Livelihood programme – income generating programme.



Who manages/administers the programme?

The sisters with the support of mission partners manage the programme.

How many people are assisted?

Annually:
30 girls following the educational programme
60 young women in the skill training programme
25 young women in the livelihood programme.
The girls and young women are between the ages of 15 – 25 years.

Motivation and Core Values

To the Sisters, the girls and young women seemed as vulnerable as sheep without a shepherd, desiring new life and empowerment. They were lost. Their rights and dignity as persons were denied. They needed a place of safety to allow them to find themselves once again, renewed belief in their worth as persons and a sense of hope for the future. They needed an environment of respect, dignity and compassion.

What outcomes are achieved?

  • » Education and skills training gives new capacities, renewed confidence and empowerment to face the future.
  • » Livelihood programme offers the possibility of self sufficiency.
  • » Personal reconciliation with their own stories may enable them to be reconciled with those who have hurt them, and those to whom they feel distanced and anger.
  • As participants come from all parts of the country, they are enabled to experience the joy and challenges of inclusion, moving beyond boundaries.



How is the programme evaluated?

Through a process of regular evaluation, feedback of the beneficiaries as well as those they work with helps to measure the needs and effectiveness of the programme.

The observation of the sisters and the continual monitoring of the lay staff enable effectiveness to be measured.

Follow-up programmes and referral services are achieved by networking with other organizations. These help to assess needs and update the programme for better effectiveness and benefit.

How does it contribute to the Millennium Development Goals?

With opportunities for education and skills training participants are able to equip themselves, and the livelihood programme offers the opportunity for employment and stability to face the future.

Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger,

Achieving universal primary education,

Promoting gender equality and empowering women.

What would make the project more effective?

A well trained staff will enable the ministry to be more effective.

This will also mean financial stability.

 

Filed on 12 August 2010

Here is some news that we received from our sisters in Pakistan. Floods started affecting various parts of the country from 28th July onwards. Torrential rains and flash floods continued to devastate life and property in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and tribal areas on Thursday, killing dozens of people.

The Provincial government has declared a state of emergency and asked the people living along the banks of Swat and Kabul rivers and their tributaries in Peshawar and Charsada districts to move to other areas. Lack of resources and planning has put the lives of thousands of people at risk in Peshawar and Charsada where the Kabul and Swat rivers converge. The district administration appeared to be helpless in moving the stranded people to safe places.

The situation in Malkand division was even more chaotic. Flash floods caused widespread devastation in Swat washing away houses, bridges, hospitals, roads and communication net works. Army has called in for evacuation work in Peshawar , Charsada, Swat and other flood hit areas.

By the beginning of August the flood water was coming down and was approaching the western part of the province of Punjab. The helpless inhabitants, including women and children , got out of the danger zone on their own. Still, hundreds of families were in the town, marooned on roofs of houses and buildings because they could not afford the transport cost. Town was under five feet deep water and flood waters have entered business centers, the district hospital , graveyard, grid station and hundreds of houses.

Soon people started moving for Multan, the only link after the closures of roads leading to Layyah and Dera Gazi Kahan .There were not enough vehicles for such a massive exodus. And now the city of Multan is hosting a very big number of flood victims.

Karachi is also having rain. The flood waters are reaching the Arabian sea and it may effects some parts of the coastal belt.

According to the UN estimates, over 12 million people had been affected by the devastating flood and rains . In most of the affected regions people have lost everything. Their livestock, houses, farmland etc. Some families are totally washed away. Some others an infant or a child or an elderly person is left behind. There is also a fear of an outbreak of waterborne disease.

Our sisters in Multan are involved in relief work together with the Justice and Peace commission and the Parish; they are trying their best to reach out to the people with the resources they have. Sr. Stella who is part of the ‘caritas’ is presently attending the ‘Lay Partnership’ programme. When she returns she hopes to visit the people in the North.

Please continue to pray that the rains will stop and the cry of the people for relief and wellbeing will be heeded to. We count on your prayers and support.

 

To celebrate the birthday of Rose Virgine our loved Foundress which was on July 31 we the Vocation Promotion team of the Province organized a programme for young girls belonging to the Rose Virginie club.

We conducted this programme both in Sinhala and Tamil. The Sinhala group met in ‘Supuwath Arana’ while the Tamil group met in Nayakakanda. Nearly 225 girls were participated for this programme.

It was a joy to see these young ones enjoying themselves and coming to know and love Rose Virgine more dearly. She is indeed a great model for them to follow.

We pray for the intercession of our loved Foundress on these our young ones.

 

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