NEW ROCHELLE, NY & NEGOMBO, SRI LANKA (Oct. 10, 2012) Two recent shipments of goods are making a major impact on the lives of the most vulnerable youth and their families in communities in Sri Lanka. Recently, a shipment of 250 baby strollers made its way to four Salesian-run sites that serve 811 children in need and provide assistance to needy families.
The strollers were provided by Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc., (K.I.D.S.) through a partnership with Salesian Missions. A donation made possible through a partnership with World Vision provided new clothing for youth. The Salesian Missions Office for International Programs worked to identify specific needs for the goods, covered the cost of the shipment and coordinated the delivery and distribution of the items.
The baby strollers—donated by Jeep and delivered through K.I.D.S.—were distributed to Salesian-run sites in Sri Lanka, including child development centers caring for abandoned children with disabilities. The strollers will aid staff in caring for and transporting children with disabilities more effectively.
Dulitha, a 6 year old boy with cerebral palsy, is one of the children who will benefit greatly. Unable to walk and abandoned as an infant, he relies on his caretakers at the centre. Previously, the only option was to carry Dulitha so he could take part in activities. However, with so many children to care for this was nearly impossible.
Thanks to the new strollers, Dulitha no longer has to be left behind. “Now his caretakers are able to keep him comfortable as well easily take him around,” said Father Shiran Karawgodage, Salesian project director in Sri Lanka.
Strollers provided to families will impact families in need for years to come as they are passed down.
“For families in poverty, the strollers provide a means of greater mobility, allowing mothers an alternative to carrying their infants,” said Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Mothers would often remain at home instead of engaging in community gatherings because of the distance they would need to carry their children. The baby strollers lessen this burden.”
A donation of clothing and outdoor apparel from World Vision reached 1,233 children in nine locations. While Sri Lanka is most traditionally viewed as a tropical island, the central hills of the country can become quite cold, according to Fr. Karawgodage. Many of the families in this region are laborers at the nearby tea estates and local farms. Families are typically large with three to four children and most families are living in poverty.
Dinesh, a 12-year-old boy who lives in Bandarawela received a new jacket—the first jacket he has ever owned. Dinesh is from a poor family and has two siblings, a father who works at a nearby farm and a mother who works as a part-time cook.
“Our work in Sri Lanka goes beyond traditional education and development activities. We work to provide basic needs like clothing and other items. Our strong partnerships aid us in these efforts,” said Fr. Hyde. “Meeting basic needs that many of us take for granted can have a major impact on a person’s quality of life, their ability to engage in their community and, in the case of youth, their self-esteem and ability to learn."
Salesian Missions is a proud partner of many nonprofit organizations and government agencies in the United States, and around the globe.
Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S.) was founded in 1985 with the mission of providing new kid-essentials to children and teens who have been impacted by poverty and tragedy. With a network of more than 1,000 local partner agencies located in all 50 states and consistently low overhead costs; K.I.D.S. is able to effectively and efficiently deliver products directly to children when and where they need it. Since its inception, K.I.D.S has provided almost 1 billion dollars of new product to help nearly 70 million children. The charity continues to be recognized by Charity Navigator with its highest four star rating. The Chronicle of Philanthropy places K.I.D.S. among the top 2 percent of non-profits in the U.S. and Forbes Magazine ranks the charity 6th in fundraising efficiency. K.I.D.S. receives both product and financial donations directly from companies, foundations and individuals with 97% of the value of all donations going directly to children and teens in need. For more information, go to www.kidsdonations.org.
About World Vision:World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews.