Nearly five years ago, a devastating tsunami swept across the small island of Sri Lanka leaving thousands of children orphaned and alone within seconds. Not having the resources or ability to care for the overwhelming number of children who lost their parents in the storm, the Sri Lankan government summoned Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI), the overseas division of BCFS, to establish the country’s first – and to date only – foster care system.
Since then, CERI caseworkers have found permanent homes for the children in their care, not only providing for their education, but giving them hope for the future.
Today, the CERI-Southeast Asia family is celebrating an important achievement of one of the young adults in its care. Thanks to CERI’s financial and emotional support, 20-year old Velautham Subasini was recently accepted to college.
Only eleven percent of the children who take pre-university classes go on to study in college. Thanks to CERI, Subasini says she has confidence to achieve her goals. Subasini has been with CERI for two and a half years and her pre-university education was supported solely by the generosity of CERI supporters.
Subasini has three sisters and two brothers. When she was just one year old, her father disappeared in the brutal civil war that continues to plague Sri Lanka. In 2007, her mother died of cancer. She now lives with her aunt, and CERI helps the family with their basic day-to-day needs.
“CERI’s financial assistance, love and care are a God send in my life,” said Subasini. “I believe God will continue to support me as I further my education.”
Today, years after the waters of the tsunami receded, the number of orphans in Sri Lanka continues to grow as children are abandoned because of family tragedy, abuse, neglect and the civil war.