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Children

   
  Child affairs are given special attention by the Green Movement of Sri Lanka as it recognizes children as the most valuable asset the world possesses. Most of the issues and problems related to the adults and society have an impact on the children, which are mostly neglected.
   
  The GMSL is cautious in engaging children in its development initiatives, exercising utmost restraint, thinking beyond every normative process, scrutinizing its work plans, strategies, ethics and morals to ensure that its holistic activities really do achieve what is promised for children with absolutely no exception tolerated.
   
  GMSL’s work on children is described briefly below, under key themes.
 
       
       
Listening to the children (WSSD 2002 and Rio+20 2012)
       
  Since today’s children will be the guardians of the planet in future, their views and the voices will crucially be important. Therefore the GMSL obtained the views of children for the future of the world during the preparation of the reports for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD 2002) and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 2012). An essay writing program was held for the children themselves designated the best ideas for the environment and some of those were presented to the forum in Brazil.
       
   
       
 

Wannialaththo, the leader of the indigenous community (vedda)  presents a memento of appreciation to a child

  Mr. Lionel Tillekaratne presenting a memento to a child who contributed her time and effort to make world a better place
       
       
Sustainable Agricultural trainings
       
  The engagement of children is essential in GMSL’s natural agriculture programs, which have been hailed by the Ministry of Agriculture as among the best in the country. This is being carried out as an education component where children are taught in their school environments how to engage in agriculture and are active participants in GMSL’s rural, provincial and national agricultural exhibitions, occasionally directly taking part as honoured guests. Since 2005, the agricultural program of the movement has trained over 2,000 children from 22 districts in sustainable, climate smart agricultural techniques.
       
   
       
  Nimal Kumaratunga, head of the GMSL agricultural program teaches the children the basics of natural agriculture   “Children listening to one of the farmers explain how a certain product was made”
       
       
War affected children
       
  The three-decade long conflict in Sri Lanka had a significant impact on children. Some lost their both parents and became orphaned, dropped out of schools, many with emotionally fractured minds, and thousands of children were recruited as child soldiers. When the war ended, there was an immediate requirement for relief for the internally displaced Tamil families who were sheltered in refugee camps, and the major agony was from the children. The GMSL provided essential materials to 2,000 children, 99 pregnant women, 286 babies and 600 women. These social services took place during the period from 2009 to 2012.
       
   
       
 

We did our best to turn children in this situation ...

  Into children in this situation
       
       
Children in climate crisis
       
  The children and women, together, suffer the most from climate extremes such as floods, droughts, etc. The GMSL considers them the most important areas of engagement. Children were recognized as one of the most vulnerable sections of the society during calamities and therefore, the GMSL implemented child protection, evacuation and sustenance in the climate smart disaster preparedness plans and flood evacuation strategies in 7 coastal districts of the country. For instance, life jackets were provided for the children and their use was made mandatory. Also, 950 flood affected children were provided with school kits.
  The GMSL’s educational programs comprehensively cover climate changes and their impacts on the society. During the two years of 2011 and 2012, the GMSL conducted educational programs for over 2,000 students in the North Central and Central Provinces. The GMSL has supported Leadership Skills development programs for 20 children’s societies and psycho-social interventions targeting 460 children in the Rathnapura district through one of its member organisations.
       
   
       
  Lecture on the science of climate change – Painter Memorial School, Nuwara-Eliya 2012   Students trying to solve a puzzle in our climate magazine – Gamini National School, Nuwara-Eliya 2012
       
       
Environmental Trainings
       
  Training and empowerment of children to be environmental ambassadors was a key action of the GMSL since 1998. It established 500 strong “Green Brigade” made up of older school children and young adults. They were active in all districts of the country and worked as environment watchdogs, governing themselves and reporting on issues and campaigning at the local level for environment justice. Since 1998, the GMSL has trained over 10,000 children and an equal number of young adults who have then gone on to become environmentally conscious citizens.
       
   
       
  A fire-fighting units were established in areas where pyromaniacs were active. They volunteered to watch over their environment in after-school hours   Creating a nurturing environment by nurturing nature. We empowered school children to form their own environment clubs.
       
       
Wellbeing of children    
       
  War and natural disasters have left many children in the country either permanently or temporarily maimed – both physically and mentally. Disabilities and stress are such two factors affecting children most. Well-being of the children is one of the areas attended by the GMSL and it has implemented programs to address such issues in refugee camps, destroyed villages, halfway houses for women prisoners.
 
  From 2005 to 2010 the GMSL has engaged in over 200 such programs, each running for about 2 years. The GMSL worked in collaboration with social workers in Ratmalana area of the Colombo district to develop a community-based rehabilitation (CBR) model. The model focused on empowering children with disabilities and their families through working in four sectors: health, education, livelihoods and social life.
       
   
       
  Children supported by the program   Reducing the stress of mothers who are prisoners at the “Meth Sevana” halfway house in Colombo, Sri Lanka through a gardening program
       
  The GMSL took action for the relief of children after the Asian tsunami of 2004, which devastated coastal areas and displaced many. At Kalametiya, a small fishing village, which was completely destroyed by the tsunami, the GMSL rebuilt the village with the support of the children of the village of Waterville in Maine, USA. Under this project they named “Sahana” or relief. On completion, the present President of Sri Lanka (then Prime Minister) hailed it as the best post-tsunami intervention in the entire country.
       
   
       
  Comfort packs were distributed among the children   Houses rebuilt at Kalametiya
       
       
Childhood education    
       
  The GMSL has focused on early childhood and primary school education, which is relatively neglected in the country. Its early childhood educational programs’ aim is to ensure our child assets have access to the best opportunities to become gainful and contributory future citizens of the country.
  The GMSL has implemented strong school-based awareness creation programs in livelihoods and the environment and its attention is focused on providing the marginalized children with educational opportunities for education that they would otherwise have not had access to. The GMSL’s programs since 1998, targeted children from pre-schools to Grade 5 and in all communities of the country.
       
   
       
  Grade 5 children sitting for the scholarship exa were provided with free support in the aftermath of the tsunami   Tutorial class for English Language students in Battakonawila watte
       
       
Promoting multicultural society    
       
  Sri Lanka has multiple traditions and multiple cultures and is used to coexist for a long time, until the recent war. The deep collective feel for its intermeshed cultures can be used to create a similar intermesh amongst the people and the GMSL has recognized that children can play a crucial role in such efforts.
  Various tools have been used to accomplish this task such as the 3-day drama camp organized for children in Lunugamwehera in 2013 with the expert contribution from a Norwegian drama group.
       
   
       
  Karnatic dances were performed at one of our recent social engagements with communities in Tirukkovil area   Training young children on traditional Kandyan dance forms
   
   
 
     
     
 
 
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Last updated: 26 February, 2015