Imagine a life without a television, internet, washing machines, having your own room, hot showers, video games, or cell phones.
Picture waking up at five o’clock every morning to help prepare breakfast, then a visit to the prayer room, homework, and then starting classes.
Try to imagine being a child and only having one toy, two dresses, and one pair of shoes.
You think you might be miserable, right?
I thought so as well when I visited the Sri Lanka Dhava Society orphanage in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I’d heard the horror stories about orphans being abused or mistreated. I would imagine them to be miserable and sad.
On the contrary, every orphan we spoke with greatly enjoyed staying at the orphanage.
Because they were surrounded by friends and they felt safe. They were allowed a very good education and an opportunity to better their lives.
An orphan’s life at Sri Lanka Dhave is very regimented. They all wake up at five o’clock and help clean and prepare breakfast. They attend prayers and classes and then are given one and half hours of play time and half an hour to watch television. Everyone helps with the chores and preparing the meals.
This is an all-girl orphanage and the girls stay in one of three dormitories – each designated by their age groups. The dorms each have about sixteen beds and each girl has one locker for all of her belongings.
Rarely do they venture out of the orphanage grounds except for the rare field trip to a movie or magic show.
In spite of these hardships, the girls all are, almost without exception, very happy and greeted us with smiling faces.
We interviewed five girls; Dilky; Malsha; Priya; Hansani, and Niroshani. All were in sixth grade, except for Dilky and Niroshani, who were in seventh grade.
All of their dreams are of having a family and a stable job. Harsani wants to be a bank manager. Priya and Noroshani want to be teachers while Malsha and Dilky both want to be doctors.
Most of the girls had been there for four years or more except for Priya, who had only been there for two years.
The reasons for their joining the orphanage varied from girl to girl. Some of them were there because their parents couldn’t afford to tend to them and others because their parents had died and they had no other family. Sadly, some were there because their home life was abusive.
All of them were so appreciative of having an opportunity to gain an education. Many came from remote jungle villages where gaining an education was an impossibility. Not one of them complained about their classes or schooling and looked forward to school each and every day.
They all loved adventure stories and look forward to reading The Red Hand Adventures.
If you would like to make a donation to the Sri Lanka Dhava orphanage, they would greatly appreciate your help. They must try and manage with a sum of only thirteen dollars per month/per student. They depend upon donations to keep the orphanage running. So, any and all contributions are very appreciated.
Sri Lanka Dhava Society
W. A. Silva
Mawatha, Colombo 6
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Or, you can wire money directly to:
Sri Lankadhar Society Balika Home
Account Number: 0000983002
Bank Name: Bank of Ceylon – Wellawatte
Branch Code: 7010-023
Swift Code: BCEYLKLH