A letter from our dear friend Dr. (Mrs.) Charika Marasinghe in Sri Lanka
Please accept my heartfelt sincere wishes for the new year. May you be blessed with good health and all the energies and blessings to continue your journey and help create many more spiritual networks across the globe to help heal the suffering of our world.
I was on a hectic field visit schedule from October to December 19th and visited 14 districts in 7 provinces. Last couple of months of 2019 had been quite hectic for me because I was full-time involved with my voluntary work with Sarvodaya Suwasetha the welfare arm and Vishva Niketan work.
May I please give an update as to how Sahana Mithuro – Befrienders of Relief Programme has unfolded during the past six months or so:
1. Initial training planned for September 2019:
In September 2019 the Government announced that the Presidential Elections will take place in November. In view of this we had to postpone the trauma-first air training for 2020. Even the initial visit of the trauma first aid trainers from New York had to be postponed their scoping visit to Sri Lanka until 2020 because of the political situation. Now the country is getting ready for the Parliamentary elections to be held in May 2020. Therefore, we were compelled to postpone the training by foreign experts towards the end of the year.
2. Psychological Rehabilitation Programme for Child Victims of Violence:
During October to December 2019 we had a critical look at the mandate of Vishva Niketan and decided to undertake the psychological rehabilitation work of the child victims of violence cared for in our Sarvodaya Child Development Centres. We decided to obtain the services of three Psychologists and started the therapy work with our children from 1st November 2019 and the interventions are continuing to date.
3. Community based Child Protection Initiative:
In the meantime we also discussed about a community based child abuse prevention program combining psycho social and psycho spiritual interventions together with legal and rights based interventions. We have identified four districts; two Sinhala speaking and two Tamil speaking districts with a high incidence of violence against children.
In the above context we felt that we can combine the Befrienders of Relief Program with the community based child protection initiative and we are now in the process of scheduling a zoom conference call with the Sanar Institute in the USA. We would like to make use of the time prior to elections to do a thorough planning of the programme so that we can start implementing from June or July onwards.
We will be utilising the HCN donation as well as the other donations we have received for the Befrienders Program once we finalise the combination of the two program. We are committed to get maximum outcomes of the generous donations we have received and hence the reason for deliberating on the best way to move forward. I shall keep you updated and look forward to joining you all for the Centers Gathering in May.
With much love,
Dr. (Mrs.) Charika Marasinghe
Human Rights, Child Rights and Institutional Development Consultant
Published with kind permission from Charika.