A second chance at Jeevanie
Some come from broken families, others are orphaned. The girls at the Jeevanie boarding house in Colombo have one thing in common; they have no option to return home, and the Jeevanie family has become their own. The support of our Children’s Mission Partners ensures the girls continue to live in a safe, happy and educational environment.
There are 35 children living at the Jeevanie home in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital city of 750,000 people. They have come from all over the country, all from untenable family situations or abandonment. ‘Many of the children come from broken families,’ says Sister Shathini Fernando F.M.M, who runs the home. ‘For some, their mothers have had to go overseas to earn any money.’
The Jeevanie home welcomes these children with the aim of fulfilling their rights to shelter, education, and food, and doing so with loving care. ‘Our primary aim is to give a sound Christian formation to all our children who are under our care,’ says Sr Shathini. ‘From the beginning, we take every step to develop in them Christian values through their experience in the home, parish and school.’
A sound formal education for each of the girls at the home, who are aged between eight and 18 years, is the priority for the sisters. ‘The children are provided with all the facilities to get a formal education,’ Sr Shathini says. ‘Nineteen of the girls are attending our private school, run by the sisters, while others attend a nearby government school.
‘We also provide private tuition for the girls in important subjects such as mathematics, English, Sinhala (the predominant language in Sri Lanka), history, science and music,’ Sr Shathini says. ‘The children are also trained in dance and computer studies, and many of them are very interested in sports, so we provide the opportunities to help them develop their skills.’
Achini Fernando is one of the girls living at Jeevanie. Aged 16, Achini has been at the home since she was a very young girl, as her parents are no longer around to care for her. ‘Her grandmother is the only one who took care of Achini and her sister, but she is very old and frail, and unable to these days,’ says Sr Shathini.
Achini is a quiet girl, but a conscientious student who loves music and sports. ‘She wants to study well and become a teacher,’ Sr Shathini reports. ‘She will have a very bright future if she continues to study well. As a teacher, she will serve many more children like her. I hope she will have a happy life.’
The care, love and support provided by the sisters has had a life-changing influence on Achini and the other girls at Jeevanie. Catholic Mission’s Children’s Mission Partners program covers essentials such as daily meals for the girls, clothing, medication, education costs and supplies, and other important ongoing costs associated with their accommodation.
The girls are very happy and grateful for your support, and Sr Shathini says their future is looking bright. ‘These girls are very clever, and they will serve the society with their gifts and talents.’