St Sebastian Church, Katuwapitiya, Sri Lanka. (C) AAP

On 21st April 2019 the world was shocked to learn of a series of terrorist bombings across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. Three churches were targeted including St Sebastian, where this image was taken. Over 259 people lost their lives in this senseless attack on innocent people.

FTH immediately reached out to long-time partners, Child Action Lanka (CAL), to help us respond and show Christ’s compassion for families affected by the attack.

Together we have developed a plan to bring a transformation in their lives, and to give them a stable future through education in a peaceful and safe environment.

They will be well-nourished, receive quality health services, and live in an environment that will empower their opportunities for an education.

Children will be led on a pathway towards becoming a responsible and independent citizen of Sri Lanka.

“Dozens of children were killed in Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday attacks. Dressed in their finest clothes for one of the most important church services of the year, this was the first generation in decades to grow up free of violence. Their stories – and the struggle for the surviving children to comprehend the carnage – took the island down a devastatingly familiar path.

“When bubbly Priya went along for the Easter Sunday service, her mind was on something else entirely. She had spent weeks excitedly making plans for her 13th birthday – a day she would never get the chance to celebrate.

“She was like a little bird. She loved to dance. She danced to anything. If you asked her to dance, she would immediately jump into a sari or a long skirt and oblige,” her mother, Srimathi says. Priya, Srimathi and their neighbours all left together in an auto-rickshaw.

Only Srimathi came back. Priya was among many children who died when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Zion church in Batticaloa. Now Priya’s mother gazes in anguish at her daughter’s photo. Part of the bomb embedded itself in her upper lip – a constant irritant, a permanent physical mark and reminder of her loss.

“An entire family, including three children, died in the explosion: The youngest of the child victims was only 11 months old. Bevon, 9, and Clavon, 6, also died in the April 21 blast. An eight-year old cousin, Joshua, is struggling to come to terms with the loss. “I love my cousins. I’m sure they’ll be back soon and then we can cycle and play in the street,” he said.

“Child Action Lanka is proud to partner with FEED THE HUNGRY towards helping kids like little Joshua, who are suffering the aftermath of loss and tragedy, face life again.

They may not have much but thanks to your generous donations, CAL has been able to set up a process of long term support for children who were affected by the bomb blast.

CAL is assisting those who have no one to help them get back on their feet.”

Report provided by
Debs Dilshan,
CAL Founder & President.