SAN ANTONIO – On June 27, 2009, nearly five years after a devastating tsunami left countless children in Southeast Asia orphaned and alone, 300 youths from across the nation were joined by members of the San Antonio Symphony for “One World. Many Voices.,” a benefit concert for Children’s Emergency Relief International’s (CERI) work in Sri Lanka. The event, a partnership between CERI and national choir association YouthCUE, raised more than $87,000 to provide safe homes, medical care and education to the orphans in CERI’s Sri Lanka program.
More than 600 people attended the concert, including Basil Fonseka, CERI’s National Director, who travelled from Sri Lanka to represent the children and families who will benefit from the support and generosity of America’s faithful.
BCFS/CERI President Kevin C. Dinnin spoke about CERI’s ongoing work in Sri Lanka and shared stories and photos of the children who now have a future thanks to the organization’s work on the island nation. “On behalf of CERI and all the children in Sri Lanka whose lives we have been able to touch thanks to the generosity and support of many in this room tonight, thank you,” he said.
In 2004, the Sri Lankan government summoned CERI to establish the country’s first – and to date, only – foster care system after a devastating tsunami took more than 225,000 lives and left thousands of children orphaned within minutes. Nearly five years later, CERI continues to find safe, more permanent homes for children orphaned by natural disasters, civil war and other family tragedies. Some children are placed in family members’ homes and others live with foster families. CERI trains each household on how to properly care for a child and provides a small stipend to help with the cost of feeding another mouth.