Colombo Expats Cultural Association (CECA), a vibrant community in Sri Lanka comprised of over 160 expats from India, Bangladesh and Nepal, successfully concluded the second round of its Art competition to help and motivate children in care homes through art. This event was conducted in association with the Ministry of Education, the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, The State Ministry of Women and Child Development, Pre-schools and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services, The High Commission of India, Colombo as well as many other sponsors, partners and well-wishers. The event was held at the Taj Samudra Colombo on the 10th of April 2021 and was followed by a dazzling cultural event which was attended by the Chief Guest, Hon. Minister of Education, Professor G.L. Pieris, the High Commissioner of India Mr. Gopal Baglay as the guest of honour and Hon. State Minister of Women and Child Development, Pre-schools and Primary Education, School Infrastructure and Education Services, Mr. Piyal Nishantha among many other esteemed dignitaries.
This second round of the art competition was held for 60 winners from the various age categories of the first round, which was held for children in care homes throughout the country. The winners of the second round were awarded with monetary prizes in the form of a savings account by Pan Asia Bank and all other participants too were awarded with consolation prizes which can be redeemed upon reaching adulthood. The total prize money which was distributed amounted to 1,185,000 Rupees (LKR). Pan Asia Bank provides these savings accounts with a special interest rate which is above industry standards as its effort to provide these children with a head-start in life when they reach adulthood.
In addition to this, the children, along with one caregiver were also hosted at the Taj Samudra Colombo for one night on the 10th of April 2021. On the following day, the 60 children and their caregivers were taken on a tour of Colombo, they were able to watch a movie at Scope Cinema and were also treated with lunch from McDonald’s afterwards. All children who participated were also provided with a gift bag of toys and amenities.
Going another step further, CECA also provided a desktop for all the care homes from which the children came. This was done in order to ensure that all the children of these care homes will be able to continue their education without hindrance. During the lockdown period, many of these children were unable to continue their education online as they did not have access to a computer.
All gift bag items and desktops were provided by various members of CECA.
Commenting on the event, President of CECA; Captain A. Banerjee stated “We want to show these children who are living in care homes that there is a better life which they can attain if they strive hard and utilize their talents in a proper manner. The ongoing pandemic has brought a host of unprecedented challenges for everyone and these children too have been affected due to the closing of schools. We are certain that this initiative undertaken by us and our well-wishers will have a lasting positive impact on these children and that they will cherish these memories for years to come”.
This campaign was organized to show these children that there is another world out here which they can work to be a part of. CECA believes that motivation is key for a successful future and the betterment of society.
CECA has carried out many Corporate Social Responsibility Projects to serve the Sri Lankan community. Among its pioneering efforts, CECA supplied 15 tons of dry rations to 52 children’s homes covering 1,311 children for a full month. CECA also initiated “Santa Returns” last year, a program to distribute toys & clothes for children’s homes during Christmas.
Image 1- Senior Age Group Contestants with Dignitaries
Image 2- The Children on a tour of Colombo City