Members of the Lions club of Shrewsbury held a BBQ in honour of one of their overseas beneficiaries, St John’s Orphanages in Sri Lanka. Coincidentally visiting them was also the president of the Sri Lankan Lions club who is involved with this project. The project Manager Reverend Jeynesan made a presentation to the club, explaining how the orphanages were started and how they are presently run. As a consequence of civil war which lasted for almost twenty years, there are more than 50,000 orphans in Sri Lanka. St John’s project was initially set up to take care of these orphans.
A further consequence of the civil war is an increase in the number of widows. Presently in addition to the orphanages, Reverend Jeynesan has a number of other projects on the go. An empowerment project for widows enables them to procure a small loan to start up a business.
There are nutritional feeding centres and day care centres for poor children still with their parents, which ensures that they get at least two square meals a day. The cost of feeding a child for a whole month is only about £5.00. There is also a vocational training centre to help youngsters learn a life sustaining skill.
The Lions are currently raising funds to feed more children and extend the vocational training centre. There are amore than 1000 applicants for 96 places. Unless these youngsters are gainfully occupied, there is always the danger that they may be influenced to participate in terrorist activities.