‘Shilpa Diriya’ Scholarship Programme for Affected Children of Easter Sunday Launched
The tragic events of Easter Sunday were some of the most challenging times we have faced as a nation. Despite the tragedy, the eagerness demonstrated by Sri Lankans overseas donors alike to help those most in need and give them the necessary strength to overcome adversities created a new sense of hope across communities. As an extension of these efforts to ensure that the children affected in Katuwapitiya and Kochchikade have a bright future ahead of them, and to inspire them to be courageous in pursuing their dreams, the long-term scholarship programme – ‘Shilpa Diriya’ by Archdiocese of Colombo in partnership with ‘Rally to Care’ initiative by Dialog Foundation, was launched on 1st December at Shangri La Hotel, Colombo.
Children that were awarded scholarships together with their families attended the ‘Shilpa Diriya’ launch event, which was inaugurated by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo.
In addressing the scholarship recipients, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo stated, “God created you as a special person. You will never find another child in the world who has your exact personality, qualities, and talents. This means that you have been uniquely created and called for a special vocation by God. All that is left now is for you to discover your mission in life, through a strong faith in God. This can be achieved only by yourself, using your innate talents to become a blessing to yourself as well as to humanity in the future. Although tragedy has hindered your journey momentarily, every effort counts when you turn your situation in life into a blessing through the help you receive from friends and benefactors, transforming your future into a prosperous and blessed one. Make good use of this gift that has been given to you, by diligently applying yourself to your studies and striving to be a child who will grow into the right person to be a blessing to the society. My heartfelt thanks goes to all those who donated towards the Archbishop’s relief fund.”
Expressing his views on the power of education, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Ramanayake, Director, Seth Sarana – Caritas, Colombo said, “It is our dream to help children to become good citizens. You are indeed devastated. But remember that you have experienced God’s preservation. Therefore, I hope that this will enable education to more meaningfully manifest in your life the new hope that is being generated within you. Education is a journey. A journey that enlightens you. A place you have many opportunities. Whenever there is an opportunity to do something, it is always through education that you are energized. Education is not just about knowing what is unknown. It’s a chance to learn to unlearn. Therefore, be mindful of the fact that this educational scholarship programme is a gift of love to you, take advantage of it and live as children who bring light to the land of your birth.” In his message to the children on behalf of Dialog Foundation, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “Children are the world’s hope for a better future, and at the heart of our goal of transforming their lives is education. Through this initiative, we aspire to champion the children who have endured more than most and we remain committed to ensuring that they have a bright future ahead of them – one of hope and opportunity. This scholarship programme is integral in fulfilling our mission of enabling long-term education for the affected children through the Rally to Care initiative by Dialog Foundation – which was established with the generous support of Dialog customers, individual donors (overseas and local), business partners and enterprises; who all came together for this cause. It is our hope and our wish that through the facilitation of these scholarships, we are able to provide these children an opportunity to expand their knowledge, pursue their passions and grow to be exceptional Sri Lankans.”
With the ‘Shilpla Diriya’ long-term scholarship programme, 185 affected children in Katuwapitiya and 102 children affected in Kochchikade were awarded long-term scholarships, totalling 287 children. The scholarships provided through the ‘Shilpa Diriya’ programme will continue to be available to these students until they reach the age of 19 and the funds will be credited monthly to an account opened in the name of the students, on the 15th of every month.
Similar to ‘Shilpa Diriya’, a long-term scholarship programme for the 70 affected children in Zion Church Batticaloa will be launched on 12th December, in the presence of Roshan Mahesan, Pastor of the Zion Church, representatives of Rally to Care initiative, Sarvodaya and other partners. Having provided immediate term out-patient support for victims of physical disability and trauma, the initiative continues its mission of long-term educational support for the affected children and psychosocial rehabilitation for the affected families, together with its partners World Vision Lanka, Sarvodaya, My Doctor, Vision Care and the Ratmalana Audiology Centre.