If we could have made a child’s life brighter, then we are sure to leave the world a lot better than we found it
Rishani visited SOS Children's Villages
When a child is truly happy, you can see the sparkle in their eyes. I find it amazing that SOS kids all seem to have that beautiful sparkle. That warmth in their heart which comes only when you know you are truly loved and cared for.
That sense of belonging… that assurance that you’ve got people who love you…no matter what your previous circumstances might have been.
I first got to know about SOS when my bank asked me a few years ago if I would like to sponsor an SOS child. All it took was a donation of Rs. 1000 a month, they said, which seemed small if it brought a priceless smile to a little child’s face. So sentimental me signed up right away. Honestly, it felt wonderful knowing I was helping a child who needed someone, even though I did not know his or her face or even the name. I did do a bit of research into SOS and was impressed of the system where the children are brought up in a family environment with a Mother and Siblings as well. This I believe provides a stable mental environment for the children and a sense of normalcy that they need and deserve. It isn’t just a children’s home, but a home with a Mother to love and guide you and Brothers and Sisters to grow up with. How wonderful is that!
This year, when my cousin wanted to sponsor a child and asked if I knew of a good children’s home, the very first name that came to my mind was SOS. Since I wondered last time as to what sort of a child I was helping, this time I thought I’ll ask and see if it was possible to choose a child, and was very happy when I was told I could. A daughter from Monaragala was suggested, and I was eager to learn more about her, and asked how she came to SOS. I was denied this information, and to be honest, although it did not feel good at the time, I understood later on that this policy was there for the children’s safety based on an agreement with the authorities. I decided to go ahead, knowing just the name and age of the child.
That is how beautiful 14-year-old Dilki became part of our lives. With the “Welcome Package” came a lovely card that carried her picture. It was such a happy coincidence that her birthday happened to be in the same month as mine and she was almost the same age as my daughter. As all SOS children do, she looked happy and well taken care of, she was getting a good education and was a Prefect as well! Dilki, I take this opportunity to tell you how proud I am to be your sponsor and hopefully friend. I used to love adventure stories as well you know, just like you. I look forward to the day when I would see you in person!
Soon after sponsoring Dilki, a feeling was tugging at my heart …something told me we should not forget kids in the war-stricken North. SOS had just opened its branch in Jaffna so I asked if we could sponsor a son from there. Handsome 11-year-old Suventhiran was suggested to us, and another happy coincidence - he was born in the same month as my daughter. Maybe these are trivial things, but to me it seemed significant, almost a heavenly bond. Suventhiren, we are privileged to know you, Son. I am told you couldn’t attend school until you came to SOS, but now you are a very eager and bright student. We are so very proud of you. Keep it up and I look forward to visiting you in your beautiful hometown of Jaffna.
Often, kindness can be contagious. I learnt later on that Suventhiran had a little sister and I felt bad for not being able to sponsor her as well. That was when I inquired on my Facebook wall if anyone was willing to sponsor this little girl from Jaffna. I got a reply as soon as I posted this, and in no time, about ten new sponsors came forward wanting to help an SOS child. Most have now already started their SOS journey and I feel truly proud of my kind, generous friends.
I really believe that in the end, all that matters is how much we have loved and helped one another. If we could have made a child’s life brighter, then we are sure to leave the world a lot better than we found it. Hence if you are thinking of helping a child SOS is the perfect and most deserved for your decision...
Dr. Rishani Gunasinghe
Patent Technology Specialist, Immunologist, Nature Conservationist.