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CHILDREN'S PROGRAMME IN HAMBANTOTA

8 October 2016

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In Deevaragama, Hambantota on 8 October, children were the stars of the day. To celebrate Children’s Day 2016, LEADS sponsored a child-centered day of games, dance performances, and comedy. Colorful tents representing ten houses proudly displayed their mascots and mottos, with parents and children sitting or standing inside to avoid the harsh sun.

A small crowd of the young and the young at heart gathered around the stage and laughed heartily as a comedian told jokes on stage in the morning. He was followed by a series of dance performances that showcased the talent, artistry, and creativity of the children. After lunch in the nearby community centre, the day’s games began and haphazard lines of young children spread out across the dusty grounds and were led in games and activities by LEADS staff. A closing ceremony and distribution of gifts and prizes to participants ended the day’s festivities and all children left with a smile on their faces.

LEADS’ interest in child-centric programming does not end with the dismantling of tents on 8 October. Instead, this day’s programme is organized alongside a larger Child-Centered Community Development (CCCD) programme in Hambantota. The program is currently reaching 300+ vulnerable families through Child Partners identified in 8 villages in difficult areas of Hambantota district. Child clubs, vocational training, and health education are utilized to make children a key part of transformational development that makes them on the front lines of community progress and change.

Sumithra a volunteer member of a village committee observed that people in her village was learning to come out of the 'dependency' attitude. She commended the CCCD programme for been able to change the perception of the village people, because the programme has a focus on children.  At the end of the programme all the participating children recieved a small gift. The elders of the community was not left out, since they too share the same day of celebration. Several short plays highlighted the importance of elder care and showing of respect to this fraciton of the society.

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