The 7th of October 2023 marked a day of celebration and togetherness in Athungoda Village, Puttlam in the Diocese of Chilaw as the community came together to celebrate World Children’s Day. This year’s theme, “Inclusion, for every child” took centre stage, emphasizing the crucial role children play in shaping the future. Caritas Sri Lanka, dedicated to empowering communities, ensured that this year’s celebration was inclusive, involving not just children but the entire village.

In his opening remarks, Rev. Fr. Luke Nelson, the National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka, expressed the significance of this year’s theme. He stated, “Our children are the architects of our future. By nurturing and empowering them today, we are investing in a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow. Investing our future means investing in our children, and that is our mission.”

Rev.Koswaththe shri Saddhaseela Thero in Athungoda Shri Isipathana temple, Mrs Iresha Dilhani female sub-inspector of Puttlam Police station, and HNB bank representatives took part in this session.

The celebration commenced with two insightful sessions:

1st Session: Nourishing Our Children and Communities

The first session, led by Dr. D. D. Priyantha, addressed parents on the significance of providing nutritious food to children. Dr Priyantha’s talk focused on the importance of a nutritionally balanced diet and encouraged families to promote organic home gardening. This discussion was aligned with the program, “Ensuring Family Nutrition, Stabilized Income, and Sustainable Food Security for Farmer Households in Sri Lanka.” Parents were given valuable insights into how to provide a healthy diet for their children and promote sustainable food practices.

2nd Session: Fun and Joy for Children

The second session was dedicated to the children, ensuring they had a day full of laughter and joy. The program included fun games, interactive activities, and dancing that made the children beam with happiness. This celebrated the essence of childhood and the need for children to simply be children. This segment was a vibrant display of love and care for the children of the Athungoda village, emphasizing the significance of their happiness and well-being.

Caritas Sri Lanka’s commitment to the well-being of the village was evident throughout the celebration. Over 100 schoolchildren and 40 preschool children received educational materials, water bottles, and lunch boxes, allowing them to embark on their educational journeys with enthusiasm. Furthermore, Caritas Sri Lanka took a significant step in financial empowerment by helping 100 school children, open new bank accounts with an initial deposit of Rs. 1,000 each at HNB Bank.

This was not all; as a testament to the unwavering support, Caritas Sri Lanka, with generous funding from Caritas Korea and Caritas Norway, distributed dry ration packs worth Rs. 5,000 each to the 200 families in Athungoda Village. This act of kindness, ensuring the families’ stability and security, underlined Caritas Sri Lanka’s dedication to uplifting communities and improving their quality of life.

In conclusion, the celebration of World Children’s Day in Athungoda Village, Puttlam, on October 7, 2023, was an embodiment of the theme – “Inclusion, for every child.” Caritas Sri Lanka’s commitment to the well-being and future of not just the children but the entire community left a heartwarming mark on this special day. CSL has sown the seeds of a brighter future for Athungoda, and the village is on its way to a more prosperous tomorrow.