Children, they say, are the future of the world, the hope of tomorrow.
While some children are privileged to lead a comfortable life, millions of children live in poverty where not even their basic needs are met.
As part of the WAO connect initiative to bring much-needed change for betterment, our team from WAO Connect, led by Madura, set on our journey to the outskirts of Panaura, a city on the Island of Sri Lanka.
A much-needed visit to a small house, where 18 children between the age of 5-12 years were sheltered and cared for.
The Gothama Child Development Centre is a facility, a small home away from home for children whose parents were serving time in prison for various offences.
As we reached the worn-out house, we immediately noticed the dire need for renovations. The peeled-off paint on the walls and uneven bricks in some parts of the house spoke for themselves.
Unfortunately, we knew that renovating the premises was not a feasible option due to the prevailing pandemic, fuel crisis, and supply shortages in the country.
Guided by Jeri & Marlon, founders of WAO Impact, an initiative backed and funded solely by WAO Connect, we decided to provide the children at Gothama with a list of appliances that would improve their living conditions.
Our WAO Impact team received a warm welcome from the Gothama Development Centre staff members and the little hearts who seemed excited to see visitors (us).
After a hearty conversation with the staff members of Gothama and a look around the premises, we identify their immediate requirements.
It was heartbreaking to see the conditions that these children lived in. To realise that while we slept comfortably in our homes with the comfort of fans and air conditioners, these innocent children were leading a life of such hardships.
The much-awaited morning in April arrived.
As we approached the premises, we realised that our team was as excited as the little hearts of Gothama Child Development Center.
It was a day we hoped would bring a ray of hope and happiness to these beautiful children, who were not only deprived of their basic necessities, but no doubt had endeavored more than a fair share of emotional and psychological trauma. Much more than their little hearts could bear, due to conflicts related to their parents.
The happiness and excitement on their little faces said more than what we could put into words.
The excitement on their faces to see the new cupboard to store their books and belongings, the electric kettle, stand fans, iron, wall clock, and coconut scraper was beautiful.
But the joy that filled their eyes when they caught a glimpse of the box of goodies (food & snacks) spoke a million words.
It was heartwarming to see that they had prepared to sing for us to show their appreciation.
But the happiness and fulfilment we felt by being a part of this great initiative is beyond words.
We did not forget the three dedicated staff members who cared for the children and awarded them monetary tokens of appreciation.
It was a great experience and an eye-opener for all of us.
In a world of inequality, one act of kindness, love and empathy can be an achievement towards bringing hope to lessen the gap in society. And hope is always the first step towards a better tomorrow.