Caritas Chilaw and Colombo celebrated the World Children’s day 2022 with the Environmental Children Groups that they have formed under ‘Stepping stone to safe guarding Sri Lanka’s Natural Environment’ project, (SSEP).                                               


Caritas Colombo Seth Sarana celebrated the Children’s day 2022 at Muturajawela on 01st of October 2022. A group of 120 children from Moratuwa, Weliveriya and Bopitiya Environmental Children Group participated in this event.  Rev.Fr. Lawrence Ramanayake, the Director of Seth Sarana gave opening remarks at the event. In his speech, he explained the importance of World Children’s day as well as the responsibility that lies with children in protecting the environment.

Children were taken for an exposure tour to Muturajawela sanctuary on that day.  Muturajawela is a coastal wetland eco system located in Gampaha District of Western Province Sri Lanka. Muturajawela marsh land named as ‘Protected area for bio diversity conservation’ by the wildlife Act 1989 and still it has not been declared as an international RAMSAR site. The Muturajawela marshes are 3068 hectares in size and this is country’s largest saline coastal peat bog. This marsh is prominent for its unique and highly diverse eco-system and is listed as one of 12 priority wetlands in Sri Lanka. Muturajawela is one of the main bio diversity hot spot in Sri Lanka consisting wide array of endemic/ residence and common flora and fauna species. This wetland is also the home to the largest peat deposits in the island. This area is popular among local and foreign travellers as ‘Muturajawela bird watching site’. Upon recognizing the ecological significance of Muturajawela, the Government of Sri Lanka declared the northern section of the marsh covering an area of 1777 hectares as a sanctuary in July 1996, under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance, which is administered by the department of Wildlife Conservation.

At present, the bio-diversity of Muturajawela is threatened by un-planned development activities, growing human population and pollution. Knowing the importance of Muturajawela, as a small step to conserve the wetland, Caritas Colombo Seth Sarana has formed Environmental adult, youth and children groups in Muturajawela under SSEP. The main purpose of these environmental groups is to advocate against the harmful human activities, which threaten the sustenance of the eco-system there.

During the exposure tour a special awareness session for the children was conducted. The importance of the Muthurajawela environmental eco system and how the wetland is serving its purpose was the main objective of the session, explained by Mr. Dinusha Nanayakara, Secretary of Archbishop’s committee to Protect Muthurajawela Wetland. He also pointed out how the wetland is being destroyed by people who are much more drawn by financial gains.

As mangroves are part of eco system at Muthurajawela, he also explained the ecological importance of mangrove trees and side effects of destroying them.

Mr. Samantha Perera who is an agriculturist and the founder of You Tube channel ‘Ape Koratuwa’ conducted an awareness session on the importance of local food and the importance of organic farming to the children. He also explained how to prepare a healthy drink made from local rice.

An art competition was also conducted for the children after the exposure tour to Muturajawela on what they had seen and observed.


Caritas Chilaw celebrated the Children’s day with Iranawila and Madawatta environmental children’s group. 80 children and 22 youths from environmental youth groups participated in this event. Children were taken for an exposure tour to Anawilundawa bird sanctuary.

Anawilundawa bird Sanctuary is situated in Puttalam District in North Western Province of Sri Lanka. This Sanctuary is set out on 1397 hectares of forest land and comprises of nine tanks. These tanks stores water for irrigation and cultivation which is also acts as a natural habitat for water birds in addition to a few species of threatened fish, amphibians, mammals and reptiles. The importance and the uniqueness of the bird sanctuary is its immediate proximity to three different eco-system which have vast distinctions and characteristic. It is one of the six RAMSAR wetland mainly due to its coast, the mangroves and the fresh water tanks. This unique ecological setting has made it a favourable nesting and breeding ground for hundred species of birds. The Anawilundawa Wetland is a bird watchers’ heaven. Both resident and migratory bird species can be seen throughout the year. The period from October to April is the best time for getting a glimpse of many rare migratory birds.

An awareness session on the importance of protecting the environment and the responsibilities that a child has in protecting the environment was the theme taken by Mr. Edmond Samaranayaka, a psycho-social consultant who joined in as the resource person during their exposure tour. He also shared with them a few techniques on meditation with nature.