In 2007 Rose Charities Sri Lanka received a 2-year grant from the Canadian International Development Agency CIDA to develop youth programs for peace. in 2009 this funding continued by a grant for educational enrichment
Although the civil war has ended, the need to promote co-operation between ethnicities is important than ever in order to promise peace for future generations. There was a need to include the Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities into the larger Hindu community. The program included multi-cultural children’s and youth activities, conflict resolution training, educational support, counseling and sports. The aim to bring families from all ethnic and religious groups together. The program has been both successful and very popular in the area.
The Rose Charities Community Center is used for multi-cultural, sports and training
activities which help create harmony and cultural understanding. In 2008 a basketball court was constructed for children from villages without access to sports facilities.
Girls Sports Program
In 2006 Rose Charities started a basketball league with coaching, inter-school camps and competitions for boys and girls from 14 Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist schools in the Kalmunai region. The league became extremely popular with parents and supporters, with all communities participating enthusiastically.
In 2010, the progam has grown to include 86 girls from communities that did not have access to sports facilities. Along with practices every Saturday and Sunday, Rose organizes annual sport meets for the girls. Girls compete in basketball, badminton, volleyball, crickett and ella, although basketball and cricket seem to be the favourite sports. The majority of the girls have never played basketball before partcipating in the sports clubs, therefore it is important to provide quality coaching in the fundamentals. This approach has proven to be very successful as many teams have competed in District and Provincial tournaments.
The community is very proud of these achievements and training continues enthusiastically. These activities bring groups together, foster self-esteem and build understanding. Our sports coordinators now visit schools and liaise with the sports teachers there. Sports is also a gateway to employment since employers want people who have participated in organized activities.
Starting in 2010 Rose has started ten self-run children’s clubs in seven isolated villages, comprised of 286 girls ages 14-20 years old. These clubs include a president, secretary, treasurer, vice-president, vice-secretary and committee members. The clubs teach the girls leadership, organization and how to function as a team. Each children’s club meet weekly to dicuss issues that were important to them, supported by Rose as well as the Divisional Child Care Officer. In 2010 clubs carried out dengue eradication programs in their community each month as well as carried out a large scale garbage pick-up. These initiatives show the girls’ motivation to contribute to their own community while the children’s clubs give them an outlet to do so.
Rose supports the childrens clubs in three ways. First by providing each children’s club with their own library, comprising of a range of books that improve their reading ability. Second, Rose has provided money tills to each childrens club so that they can communally put away money and save in the case of an emergency. Thirdly, Rose encourages the clubs to get involved in arts and culture by organizing events for girls to display their talents. The libararies, tills and arts and culture events have been extremely successful as we have seen increased interest in reading, saving and arts among the girls.
The goal of Rose’s Childrens Clubs is to foster leadership skills among girls as well as unite Muslim, Tamil and Sinahalese children towards a common goal of community development. As many these girls are involved in the Rose sports clubs, Rose is playing a central role in many of these girls’ lives as well as in the community.