CAL runs a day centre for under-privileged children in Nuwara Eliya in the Hill country of Sri Lanka. The area is cold (yes, the hills are still cold in Sri Lanka) and many families who come to the centre do not have electricity or running water. There is a high incidence of alcohol abuse and domestic violence in this community.
Most of the parents of these children are everyday vegetable garden workers. They work from morning till evening tilling, weeding and uprooting in gardens that belong to large-scale cultivators. Sometimes they take their children along with them to work, as they have no other alternative and keep them in the hot sun (in the middle of the day) until they finish their work. These folks have very limited facilities and live very impoverished lives. Due to the cold climate they suffer tremendously.
The CAL centre is open to all children in need, regardless of background and the children are given a meal and clothes and a place to go whilst the parents are working all the daylight hours to try and eek out a living.
Not only do the daily garden workers get quality day care for their children, it also encourages the older siblings to get back to school. It is a very common sight in Nuwara Eliya to see older siblings missing out on school as they have to care for their younger brothers and sisters while their parents go to work. We believe that every child has a right to go to school.
In the morning the centre is run like a pre-school. The children are bright and they have learnt to sing in English, Sinhala and Tamil. In the afternoons we run an after-school club where older children can come after school and learn English and computer skills. (School in Sri Lanka starts at 7.30am and finishes by 1.30pm)
There are many children we would still like to reach who cannot afford transport to the centre, even though buses are extremely cheap. We would like to be able to increase our support so that the children the most in need can access the project and we can play a part in breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation in Nuwara Eliya.