There used to be a time when we were innocent, young, wild and carefree; or in other words a child. Certainly childhood will only be so if facilitated by loving parents. For the less fortunate it is a time where a child is most vulnerable and forced to make choices solely out of necessity; choices no child should have to make alone. These children need love and care, not just because they are children but also because they are our future.
With the need of serving these children in our society, Mahogany Masterpieces, the premier luxury furniture brand in Sri Lanka, teamed up with SOS Children’s Village in Piliyandala as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility program this year.
SOS Children’s Villages are a unique global program where they provide abandoned, orphaned and vulnerable children with a caring, loving and secure family environment. The SOS children’s village in Piliyandala is one such place where orphaned and abandoned children can call home.
“This November we will be donating 1% of total revenue to the SOS Children’s Village because it’s quite a remarkable, community driven, effort and their success is seen on the smiling faces of these children,” says Hashan Trikawala, Head of Sales and Marketing, Mahogany Masterpieces.
“We wanted to give back in a way that it will make an effective and valuable change in our society, and that is why we chose SOS Children’s homes,” he added.
Home to over 200 children, the SOS Children’s Village in Piliyandala is exceptional because it strives to benefit the community around them as well. Within the premises are the SOS school, with grades from one to thirteen, the pre-school and day care facility. Also a medical team and even a maternity clinic, held every Thursday, all created to support not only the children of the home but also children and parents of the neighbourhood.
“We don’t just look after the children here, we look after the community as a whole too,” said Thivanka Thomas, Director of Fund Development and Communications at the National Office of SOS Sri Lanka.
The children are admitted and placed at SOS Children’s homes through probation officers of the Department of Probation and Child Care Services or a court order. Priority is given to orphaned kids and then’ at-risk’ children. Since 1981 SOS Sri Lanka has been providing loving homes to children across Sri Lanka. Beginning from the Piliyandala home which has been operating for 34 years, homes have been established in other parts of Sri Lanka, namely in Galle, NuwaraEliya, Anuradhapura, Monaragala and Jaffna. Currently SOS Sri Lanka provides care for over 1000 children where resident officers and educators at each of these homes make sure that the children are constantly monitored and make their education topmost priority.
The specialty of a SOS children’s home is the figure of an SOS mother, providing constant care, love and support to these children so greatly in need of such guidance and support. The women who play the role of SOS mothers are locally hired and extensively trained so that they can be more than just a parental figure and give them a place to belong to in this world.
“The success stories of SOS children are plenty,” says an SOS mother Malini Weerasekara, who has personally nurtured 18 kids at the SOS home in Piliyandala. Currently looking after five children in her SOS family, she proudly displays her children’s achievements and gleams as she shows a family photograph taken at one of her grown children’s weddings.
Every child under the protection of SOS Sri Lanka gets a randomised sponsor so that no child receives specialised treatment. The concept of the best alternative care for a mother, comes from the founder Hermann Gmeiner’s story of having suffered horrors of war and being an orphan himself, and probably gives reason to the evident success of these children’s villages worldwide.
“The global effort to take care of Sri Lanka’s less fortunate children is dying as the war is now over,” says Thomas.
“Although Sri Lanka is a country with a high volunteer base, it lacks commitment to organisations caring for the needy. We need to encourage and educate Sri Lankans on this. We believe that it is time we make a change and take care of our own children,” he explained.
“Mahogany Masterpieces have been helping us throughout and this year too they came forward to help these children,” he added.
SOS childrens homes are exceptional in providing orphaned children the love and care they deserve. They believe that every child deserves a chance at life as innocent children become orphaned due to no fault of their own.
“As part of our CSR program with SOS Sri Lanka, Mahogany Masterpieces is also looking to build awareness about these kids and the invaluable services SOS Sri Lanka offers, which is a sustainable way to help the future generations of our country,” Trikawala says.
“We are also hoping to launch another campaign where our customers will be able to donate their discount directly to SOS children’s homes in Sri Lanka,” he added, explaining that Mahogany Masterpieces is eager to get their customers involved in this worthy and remarkable cause.
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