A children’s village with 100 inhabitants and their carers: that takes quite a bit of effort. In addition to the care and facilities for the children, Home of Hope offers assistance to children and adults who live in the area. Read more about daily life in the children’s village here.
Home of Hope is led by Alfy and Sharmini Perera. This couple has been in charge of the children’s village since its foundation in 2001. Alfy and Sharmini are the father and mother figure for all children.Alfy is Sinhala and Sharmini is Tamil. There are still problems between the two population groups, so they set a good example with their marriage. Alfy and Sharmini jointly manage about 30 employees: housemothers, kitchen staff, drivers, medical staff and agricultural and administrative employees. Alfy takes care of the maintenance of the buildings and the land and does the major purchases. Sharmini trains the house mothers and she takes care of the mental and physical well-being of “her” children with heart and soul. She arranges everything related to the education of the children and she coordinates the kitchen and the clothing of the kids. The life of Alfy and Sharmini is 100 percent dedicated to the children of Home of Hope.
At Home of Hope there are seven different houses (dorms). The children live in groups of about twelve accompanied by a housemother (matron) in their own dorm. They sleep with two, maximum four, in one room. In this bedroom the children have their own bed and closet in which they can store their clothes and belongings. They learn from an early age various household tasks such as washing dishes, sweeping, fetching water, making beds, ironing, washing and keeping gardens. In this way they act as a family per group as much as possible.
At Home of Hope there is a lot of time for sports and games. When their homework is finished, the children can play outside to their heart’s content. The children’s village has a large sports field and a nice playground. During the weekend there are various activities, but there is also time to relax. The children often watch a movie in their dorm. They are also allowed to swim freely in the therapy pool. On Sundays there is a Sunday school and in the evening a church service in the auditorium. Sports and game days are also organized.
The auditorium plays a very important role in the children’s village. With a large stage and more than 100 seats, this is the place where meetings are held, performances are given, music is made and parties are celebrated.
Large quantities of rice, coconuts, vegetables and fruits are used for meals at Home of Hope. To be as self-sufficient as possible, Alfy has built a plantation with hundreds of coconut and banana trees. He has planted mango trees and vegetables are increasingly grown himself. Given the increased food prices in recent years, this provides real cost savings. In addition, anything that is not consumed by Home of Hope is sold locally. Home of Hope can use this income well.
Food is centrally prepared by a chef in Home of Hope’s large kitchen. It concerns 3 meals per day for approx. 130 people: quite a job! The kitchen was renovated in early 2020 to meet the requirements of the Sri Lankan government. The pantry is protected against rats and other vermin, the wood fireplaces have been moved outside to give the cook more fresh air and an insect-free area has been created where vegetables and meat can be cut. When dinner is ready, 2 children from each dorm come to collect the dishes. The children eat in their dorm and do their own dishes.
The Home of Hope children attend 5 different mainstream schools in the area. They are transported by bus that Home of Hope has purchased especially for this purpose. The school fees, school uniforms, books, notebooks and other materials: Sharmini ensures that everything is in perfect order. And she is personally present at the 10-minute conversations of all of her 100 children!
In other words: the new HoH online study center. Also in Sri Lanka it is very important to develop skills that a changing labor market demands. Good computer skills are crucial. 10 years ago, Home of Hope set up a computer center where our children and the people in the area can get their basic computer skills diploma.This center will be due for an upgrade at the end of 2020. The computer systems were already second-hand 10 years ago and we would like to replace them. In addition, we want to adapt the infrastructure so that the children also learn to find their way on the internet. The new study center will have to be suitable for doing homework and for studying online. The cost of the new online study center will amount to 12,000 Euro.
Since the end of 2019, Home of Hope has a special school for about 50 children with a physical or mental disability. The children of Home of Hope go as much as possible to regular schools in the area, but that is not for all kids.Three children are so disadvantaged that they can only go to a school with an adapted education. This education is still in its infancy in Sri Lanka. That is why a school has been set up at Home of Hope for these children with special needs.In addition to the 3 children of Home of Hope, the school is visited by patients from the Rehabilitation Center. The school receives a lot of guidance from the Netherlands, where, with the help of one of our donors, we are working on a special needs curriculum. Since mid-2020, the school has its own building, which was erected with a wonderful donation from one of our Dutch sponsors.
The Home of Hope library’s collection of books has grown considerably over the years. Thanks in part to generous donations, we have been able to purchase reading books, study books and picture books. The children have a choice of different languages: our books are in English, Sinhala and Tamil. The library is important for the development and study of the children. They go there with their dorm and can withdraw to read quietly: a nice outing!
In 2009, a medical center was established on the Home of Hope grounds. Alfy and Sharmini wanted to improve the situation of children in their environment.Children with disabilities are often kept away from the outside world out of shame and ignorance.
Rehabilitation center HoH, led by José van Nunspeet from Zeewolde, is there for children with a physical or mental disability and actively involves the parents of the children in the care.The parents learn to do simple exercises at home. can do with their child. A world opens up for them and they experience that their child is a full member of society.
Currently, the medical center is treating more than 400 children living in the Home of Hope area.
They receive physiotherapy, psychomotor therapy (PMT), speech therapy and hydrotherapy in their own therapy pool. The 2nd building is intended for children with an autistic disorder. Here therapy and speech therapy are given and there is a snoezel room. There is also a running school attached to it. There are hardly any other places in Sri Lanka where autistic children can get professional support.
Rehabilitation HOH works in the field of PMT, speech therapy and movement technology together with interns from various universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands.
Rehabilitation Center HOH is an independent ANBI Foundation. For more information go to: www.rehabilitationcentrehoh.nl