The Hope House of Ceylon supports and empowers the youth of Sri Lanka following years of poverty, civil war and conflict. It aims to brighten the future of this country, contribute towards a new generation of leaders and promote economic thinking and activities which are socially, politically and economically sustainable.
Our activities will focus on one of the most affected youth communities in the North of our country, in Vanni district Kilinochchi. This area suffered some of the worst fighting during the civil war and has received virtually no public investment. The youth here is being punished for the politics of the past, and their suicide rate is the highest in the country. There is no rule of law; they face a cycle of drugs and forced prostitution and are deprived of opportunities to pursue a life with basic human rights and dignity. The Hope House of Ceylon seeks to break this vicious cycle.
The first step is to build a team who can approach traumatised youth and offer mental health support in Kilinochchi. We want the youth of this war-torn community to grow in love, kindness and empathy towards each other, and to stimulate participants’ dignity, sense of belonging and optimism for the future.
The second step is to help our participants develop sustainable livelihoods, thus preventing violence and backtracking to anti-social activities. This will help rebuild the emotional connections of this and other communities while sustainably contributing towards Sri Lanka’s social and economic development.
The Hope House of Ceylon response to Easter Day attacks
After 10 years of finishing civil war we have now faced another unexpected atrocity between two other communities, warning us that this can lead us to another bloodshed, which we fear that Sri Lanka may not be able to recover from. The Easter day attacks in Sri Lanka left our country even more divided and sought to poison the harmonic relationships between our Muslim and Catholic brothers. More than 350 people lost their lives, devastating even more with grief. Violence spread through several areas of the island against the Muslim community after the Easter attacks, giving rise to more victims without a source of living and whole communities living in fear. Many Muslim families have been removed from their residence and are now stranded in refugee camps without even basic needs.
The Hope House of Ceylon believes that, in this current situation, we should act urgently to address the after-effects of this most current issue. We still have a chance to assist the victims to process these traumas and come out of grief and fear without letting the pain later cause them depression, PTSD and even more worse conditions.
What can we do & How can we do it?
The blasts on the 21st of April have cost more than 350 lives so far and still nearly 500 people are in hospitals with lifelong injuries. When we look at the aftermath of this attack, we can see that many are affected with grief and have lost the bread winners of their families.
When we look at the Muslim communities, who got attacked in the aftermath by possibly politically motivated angry mobs, they have lost their faith in Sri Lankan security forces and cannot resume their lives due to extreme fear and the rejection they are facing from the society.
This is not a time to harm each other and let self-centred, power hungry politicians tear us apart, but to stand together - shoulder to shoulder with our Catholic and Muslim brothers.
The normal Sri Lankan cultural way of grieving always included our neighbours and the community. When a family loses someone, always friends and neighbours were there to share the pain and we always took care of each other.
However this unfortunate, unexpected atrocity left a whole community, whole villages dipped in grief and there are no neighbours or friends around them anymore to lift them up from this situation because they all have lost someone dear to them. There are a few suicides reported already of family members of the victims of the bomb blasts who have given up their lives out of unbearable pain and grief.
As human right activists we saw the necessity and utmost importance of taking action immediately to address this issue and give mental healthcare services to this community who does not have a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen to their pain.
Therapy sessions and counselling should be provided immediately if we want to prevent more suicides over grief, and children who lost either their parents or their siblings should receive special care if we want to save their future without permanent mental breakdowns.
The Hope House of Ceylon wants every able and qualified mental healthcare giver to stand with us to give these people all the help they need.
We are planning to organise various community activities including all the parties suffered great loses due to Easter attack and the violence spread after that.