Nisaladiya Sevana, in Sri Lanka

Hope for a new start

The Challenges

Before 1976, the situation of girls under 18 years of age in Munnakkara, Negombo required to be in detention pending court cases was very difficult.  These girls had to remain in remand with older and hard core prisoners.

What did the Sisters do?

In 1976, at the request of the Magistrate of Negombo, the Sisters opened a residential facility for the girls under 18 years of age.  The purpose of the house is to provide protection, custody and rehabilitation until their court case is over. The duration of stay depends on each individual situation. We cater for girls from all racial and religious groups. 

Who manages/administers the programme?

The Sisters run the facility, including a Directress in charge of the young girls. In addition we also employ lay staff.  Also we coordinate the work with two NGO’s.

Who is the major target group? 

The girls under 18 who face a court case and need protective custody.

Who benefits and how do they benefit?

Many residents of the home have been subject to:violence, sexual and physical abuse inside and outside the home, trafficking, the sex trade, drug carriers, child labour.

The Good Shepherd home provides:

  • A safe environment

  • Food and health requirements

  • Professional services to assist with healing past memories

  • Self esteem development

  • Skill development

  • The tools for social integration.

How many people are assisted?

There are facilities for 40 girls. However the residential number varies depending on the number of court cases.

Motivation and core values

Through the message of reconciliation and compassion shown to those in our care, irrespective of race and religion, we believe firmly in the dignity and value of each person. Our objective is to assist these girls to become more responsible citizens with an awareness of their worth and dignity. The girls are helped to face life and develop good character traits. We create an environment that enables them to develop positive self esteem.

What outcomes are achieved?

Activities include 

Non formal education classes

As many of the young girls are not literate or have dropped out of school, we have established non formal education classes with the help of Non formal education department of Sri Lanka. It helps the girls to continue their formal education.

Computer Classes

We started computer classes to help them to improve their knowledge on Information Technology, to build self confidence, and to help them to face the future.           

Contemplative Art

An NGO, specially trained group conducts this program which helps them to bring out their inner feelings and creativity. Once a week this is done for three hours in a silent atmosphere. 

Dancing

Dancing helps the young women to improve their talents and especially to release their stress.

Beads to Business  

The Beads to Business class educates and enriches the lives of the girls through instruction in beading and other educational programs designed to encourage self-sufficiency, self-respect, a sense of community, concentration and psychological healing.

Skills Development Programme

Specimen, patchwork, ribbon work, embroidery, tailoring, carpet making, housekeeping, home gardening and cookery, train the girls in the skills of day to day living. 

Spiritual Program

Group prayers, other exercises, Shibashi (moving meditation) helps each girl to relax, to be calm in her inner self and to cultivate self-discipline. 

Individual Counselling

Available to each girl according to her need. 

Group meeting

This is a valuable tool which we use with the girls to help foster leadership, responsibility and self awareness. It is also an opportunity to help the girls appreciate the good in each other, while at the same time providing them with opportunities to exercise their talents and capabilities. The meeting begins with a period of prayer and reflection. The meeting also helps to enhance a sense of fellowship and community and develops in them human and spiritual values.

Celebrations

In order to promote unity in diversity and creativity we encourage them to celebrate together their religious festivals and cultural celebrations.

Indoor/outdoor games and recreation

Help the girls to relax, enjoy and to be relieved of their tension. 

How is the programme evaluated?

Feedback from:

  • Government officers, such as police, probation officers, judges, prison officers.

  • The girls themselves.

  • Benefactors.

  • Visitors.

How does it contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals?

  • Providing vocational skills which will help to reduce poverty and hunger.

  • Primary Education through the Non Formal Education Department.

  • Empowerment of women.

  • Providing homely and friendly environment.

Challenges

The project calls for 24 hours availability with sometimes challenging behaviour of residents.

We strive to give our best, but sometimes we experience discouragement.

This always calls us to turn to Saint Mary Euphrasia and to Jesus the Good Shepherd.

What would make the project more effective?

To build a games courtyard for outdoor sports.