Empowering Youth, Healing Communities
The Church of the American Ceylon Mission (CACM) strives to provide educational, medical, and social services throughout Sri Lanka. They focus on educational opportunities for children and youth in impoverished communities to help them escape the cycle of poverty. CACM provides services through early childhood programs, after school programs, and vocational training for children and youth. CACM also has a special project for the victims of civil war in the Wanni region.
Wanni and Jaffna have been deeply affected by the civil war. Today, over 40,000 land mines are still left in the region. In addition to being deeply impacted by the war, people in the region are experiencing water scarcity and extreme levels of drought. Churches are doing their best to provide assistance and resources for communities in such dire situations.
The youth groups in local churches help guide and develop children and youth as they navigate these difficult circumstances. Many children come from families that are victims of the civil war. Some of the children have grown up in concentration camps or their mothers are widows. Their families have been fractured by the war. The local churches provide funds to help children pursue education. I was able to sit down and speak with Mani Luke John of CACM who shared, “The youth groups are able to come together for support and encouragement and to discuss their futures.”
The goal of CACM is to empower children and youth by helping them receive education and their basic human rights. The ministry accomplishes this goal by providing daycare, evening classes, leadership training, sports, activities, nutritious meals, and school supplies. During the summer camps and youth programs, CACM is hoping to develop this generation into a group that works to heal, grow, pursue higher education, and fulfill jobs through vocational development.