Support for Abused Teenage Girls in Sri Lanka
Henehasa Girls Home in southern Sri Lanka has around 76 occupants between 13 and 17 years of age. The girls are mostly the victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence. The girls in the home ‘need protection’ because the cases against their perpetrators (usually family members or someone close to the family) can drag on for years in Sri Lanka’s court system. During this time the girls’ lives are often in danger. After being released at 18 years of ages, many girls end up on the streets, getting involved in prostitution, crime and drugs (during their time at Henehasa they acquire no skills or training).
The Bakery School Project teaches the girls from Henehasa cooking and baking skills. The fledgling project has done very well in its first few years of operation, with more than 90% of graduates finding employment, giving them hope for a new start in life. The project also provides English language tuition and classes on interview preparation and simulation.
RoundTrip has partnered with the Bakery School project and our future objectives, apart from attaining sufficient funding for the project to continue are:
* providing a counselling service
* providing a diversity of employment opportunities beyond baking
* helping the girls reunite with their families (they are often rejected when they have been released from the home)
RoundTrip was proud to receive financial support from the Bennelong Foundation in 2016-17. It was largely spent on major equipment, such as ovens, tables, cake mixers and a freezer. We applied for further funding from Bennelong to help pay for the school’s running costs in 2018, and we are delighted that our application was successful, and their generous support has continued. However, we still require help from other donors. The costs of the school are significant – it is run by an extremely professional setup, and it costs money to maintain.
In May 2018 a long held dream was realised when a special needs stream of students came online. This stream provides an opportunity for teenagers with Down syndrome, and sight and hearing difficulties to also acquire baking skills and gain employment.
If you can contribute, even in a small way, to this exceptional program, it’s a wonderful way to have a positive impact and give back.