- Day Care Centres for preschool children
- Stationery and Monetary help for orphans
- Hostel facility for the destitute
- Nutrition programme for the undernourished
The most important work of the Centre for Holistic Healing is among children. Children as they grow up will be the pillars of our society. When the CHH started ministering to the people who were affected by war, the centre was concerned about the children who will be the pillars of the future generation.
The Day care Centres which already were functioning before the final war, had to be started anew. We renovated the buildings that we could. However, some of our Day Care Centres are still functioning in temporary sheds. Viswamadhu is a good example. In our premises we have one temporary shed which is being used as Day Care Centre for 120 children. During the summer, when we don’t have rains, the classes are held under the mango orchard in the premises. This compound served as the shelter ground during the final war.
The Centre for Holistic Healing supports the Day Care Centres In Vanni reagion. The centre provides not only nutrious food, but also take care of the health problems through our Free Mobile Medical Clinics. Regular training for the teachers are being held. The teachers and the children enjoy the special days like the Children’s Day, Teachers’ Day, Parents’ Day, Sports Meet, Christmas Function etc.
Special care is taken for the children who are differently able, hyperactive etc. The teachers are given regular training. Resource persons on this field are invited to do the training.
The meetings for parents and teachers are helpful in creating awareness of how to bring up children in healthy way. Majority of them live in temporary sheds. The Centre has to cope with many issues and find ways to educate the parents how to deal with the children.
Though the challenges are many, we thank God, for opening up avenues to meet the need of our people and help them work towards attaining a life which is Whole.
Sports-Meet of the Day Care Centre Children
The Centre for Holistic Healing is actively involved in the ministry of the children in the Day Care Centres. One of the activities which the parents and the children look forward to in each Day Care Centre is the Sports Meet. We encourage children to enjoy the games and sports for various reasons.
Regular physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Making physical activity a priority and encouraging good habits in children from an early age is important and can help them to develop the skills they need to continue being active throughout their lives. Besides sports, whether team-based or individual, that provide a variety of benefits other than physical activity. Participation in sports can help build self-esteem and confidence, can motivate children to excel academically and can help build social skills. Participation also can teach children the benefits of goal-setting and practice.
The Day Care Centres in Mallavi and Mankulam in the Vanni region had the sports meet recently. Mr. S. Jegatheeswaran, the principal of Mallavi Maha Vidyalayam was invited as the chief guest. The other pastors, the chief of the Sri Lankan security forces of that area, teachers of the schools and well wishers enjoyed the different games and sports which were carefully chosen for the children to enjoy more than to create the spirit of competition. Activities and games like balancing, obstacle races, fancy dress competition and group drill dance to music were some of the items which were well appreciated. The parents and old students also had their chance to participate to make the sports meet lively.
The teachers of these two Day Care Centres and the area minister the Rev. Kuganeswaran have to be commended for the success of running the Day Care Centres in these difficult areas.
Viswamadhu Day Care Centre.
The values we impart to our children today, consciously and unconsciously, will have a major impact on society tomorrow. If we continue to leave the teaching of values to chance, we, as a nation, risk losing an integral piece of our culture altogether.
Ministry among children is an important and vital ministry. The Centre for Holistic Healing is supporting this ministry in various ways in the Vanni region, North of Sri Lanka. One of them is by way of taking care of the preschool children in various war torn areas. Viswamadhu Day Care Centre is one of those which had been started in 1990s by the Jaffna Diocese.
The church premises has episodes of many stories since it was started. The recent visit of the Synod members from the Church of South India from Chennai triggered the inspiration to write about the background. The church centre has in a way an ever memorable history inscribed during the war.
The Day Care Centre in Viswamadhu was started in 1990. The first devoted minister and wife were Rev. & Mrs. Antony Sawarimuth. Their dwelling was a temporary shelter with walls made of mud. The place of worship and the Day Care Centre was one and the same, which itself was a temporary open shed. The DCC started with 70 children from the surrounding villages. Emphasis was focused on nutritious food, preschool education and health care. After finishing their period of four years, the minister’s family moved to Barathipuram in vanni but still continued to look after the welfare of the children, Rev. Antony being the circuit pastor.
Three priests succeeded them. But the number of children did increase in spite of the adverse conditions caused by war, floods and draught. During the last stages of war, the church members of Vanni faced the most horrendous situations, being caught up from all sides. During the ‘combing exodus’ at the last stages, the church people from other areas of Vanni facing much difficulty and danger transported their asbestos sheets of their houses to the ‘safest place for them’, the Viswamadhu church compound. Their devotion to God was expressed in action. They put up a temporary worshiping place which they called the church. The church compound became a camping ground for the families put up small tents and dug bunkers to keep away from the cross fire and started a community.
The dreadful war continued, and they had to flee from Viswamadhu church compound. After the episodes of those who were injured experiencing overcroweded hospitals, and the remnants experiencing the life in ‘the open camps’ and detention camps from time to time the remaining ones were slowly transported to Viswamadhu. The area looked like a lost battle field and a haunted village.
The CHH had to rebuild again not only from nothing but from taking precautions during clearing up the land, looking for land mines and unblasted shells. The land was infested by the poisonous snakes. The cycle started again with temporary shed for the DCC. In 2011, the centre had to take care of 125 preschool children and care for them the whole day. Seven teachers and two cooks were employed who themselves were survivors of war. One cook lost her husband and two other teachers had lost their children.
However we thank God that the ministry is growing, but still in the temporary shed is the only shelter for children. The mango orchard shares the burden by giving shady atmosphere. The Colombo Youth League had the Vacation Bible School last year which was a feast for the war stricken children. They have had their functions like sports meet, parents meetings, free mobile medical clinics and Christmas programmes.
The visitors from the CSI synod were surprised and appreciated seeing the hive of activities in this area despite the minimum facilities to host and run a DCC for almost one hundred children. This is a clear example of how God cares for his people. Viswamadhu is like the destroyed temple of Jerusalem during the time of Babylonian regime. Is God going to send a Nehemiah to rebuild.
Shalom Nagar Day Care Centre
The children of the Shalom Nagar Day Care Centre were delighted to welcome the visitors from the CSI Synod in Chennai. Though their main purpose was to see the newly built church, the children warmly welcomed them. The DCC was run in the temporary shed which is also used as the worshiping place of the community. Around 90 children are being benefited in the centre. The welcome parade of the percussion band of the little ones amazed all those who were present. The whole community of Shalom Nagar had gathered in the hundred acre farm, which once was the land of vine yard and dairy farm. Clearing the land and especially making it a safe place without any land mines has been a big task. The newly built church is the centre of hope for a new life after the horrendous war. Our sincere thanks to the ‘friends of Sri Lanka’ from the synod for initiating this task. ‘It made me glad to hear them say,”Let’s go to the house of the Lord!”. Jerusalem, we are standing inside your gates. (Psalm 122;1)