May 15 2009

SOS Children's Villages Sri Lanka could take in up to 400 refugee children

14/05/2009 - Offer still stands from SOS Children's Villages Sri Lanka to temporarily take in and care for up to 400 unaccompanied refugee children from the conflict zone in the North of the island State.

Efforts are currently being made, in conjunction with the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) and government authorities, to clarify where the emergency relief efforts should be carried out. The action would be targeted at children who have lost their parents or whose families' whereabouts is unknown. As the security situation in the northern regions is unstable, SOS Children's Villages wants to bring the children to Nuwara Eliya, where temporary accommodation could be rented adjacent to the SOS Children's Village located there.

SOS Children's Villages would be able to accommodate up to 400 children there and provide them with everything they need - from food and clothing to medical care and schooling. Retired SOS mothers and others have volunteered to look after the children.

As well as caring for the children for three to four months in this first phase of the planned assistance, SOS Children's Villages would also work to reunite families. Children left without parents or extended family able to care for them could be provided with long-term care in an SOS Children's Village.

Facts and figures on SOS Children's Villages Sri Lanka

  • Active in the country since 1980
  • 34 facilities and programmes for about 5,000 people, including over 500 children in five SOS Children's Villages and more than 1,600 children and families as part of family strengthening programmes.
  • SOS Children's Villages is active in the field of education; it runs kindergartens and day-care centres and offers family strengthening programmes for women and families in co-operation with the local communities as well as social counselling services and health care.
  • First activities started in one of the country's crisis areas in 2003 (an SOS Social Centre catering mainly for war widows and a kindergarten in Batticaloa on the north-east coast).
  • Major emergency relief programme launched after the Tsunami disaster at the end of 2004: relief aid packages, temporary accommodation and start-up assistance; almost 1,000 houses built; reconstruction of a state school for 1,500 pupils, which opened at the beginning of 2009; two SOS Social Centres and twelve multipurpose centres.