St Devenick's

Child Action Lanka

From as young as only a couple of months, Child Action Lanka (CAL) provides shelter, love and care for the children living in some of the poorest conditions in Kandy, Sri Lanka. With four centres around the city centre, CAL provides for a variety of age groups from babies to 17 year olds. Each centre has about 15-20 children and provides both breakfast and lunch.

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The baby centre has around 15 children ranging from a 2 month old baby to 3 year olds. They sit down, say their prayers in both English and Sinhala and then tuck into a breakfast spending the rest of their time singing songs, learning new words (again in both English and Sinhala), dancing, colouring etc. They are simply given a safe place to play and be cared for.

The next centre focuses on the 3 to 7 year olds, the preschoolers. This age group sees children starting to go to school, focusing on developing the skills they learn there, writing and learning both languages side by side. They are an active group of children who love to learn and enjoy crafts, dancing and playing games.

As the children then go into the next centre where the age group ranges from 7 to 13, they are given more freedom and responsibilities with a much less structured programme. The kids are now able to speak a decent level of English and to hold a basic conversation.

Most of the children are part of large families, whose parents rely on the centre to take care of them during the day so that they can go and attempt to make a living. CAL not only offers day care services but also takes care of children after school hours, providing help and extra assistance with their schoolwork. CAL has a significant impact on the children who attend these centres, positively affecting their lives and enabling them to have a future they likely would not have had.