War in Ukraine leaves millions displaced
Sritharan working on machine

Sritharan’s Journey From School Dropout to Skilled Craftsman

How CERI re-builds families and breaks cycles of poverty through vocational training

Sritharan is a 19-year-old boy from a poor family in Sri Lanka. As a young child, he was abandoned by his parents and sent to live with his elderly grandmother. She works on a poultry farm to support Sritharan and another grandchild she is raising whose parents died from a devastating illness. Her earnings from the poultry farm weren’t enough to sustain the family of three, so she turned to Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI). In 2009 when Sritharan was just 9 years old CERI began helping to support this family that found themselves in desperate need. Since childhood, Sritharan always performed well in school, but when he failed to pass a critical national educational exam he was forced to drop out of school. After this setback, he found part-time work as a manual labourer. However, he would need to continue his education to secure a job that would provide an adequate salary for life on his own. Seeing Sritharan’s true potential, local CERI staff encouraged him to enroll in an auto mechanics course at a vocational training college. For nearly three years, he was wholeheartedly dedicated to his studies, with CERI staff by his side for support and encouragement. In that time, he also earned his driver’s license. Today, Sritharan is a highly skilled mechanic with a great reputation – he knows how to assemble a tractor piece-by-piece, and is capable of repairing any vehicle in town! He dreams of saving enough money to buy a cargo vehicle to transport luggage and large items, and he knows he’ll have to work hard to achieve this goal. “CERI helped me discover who I could become, and they supported me to achieve my career at a young age, said Srithashan happily. “I never thought I could achieve a bright future. CERI helped me enroll in the automobile course, and I truly found myself while following my studies with all my heart. When I couldn’t trust myself, CERI trusted me and made me who I am. CERI gave me strength through career guidance to be a good person. It is an excellent way for me to start working on my own. Inside myself, I discovered a new beginning and where I wanted to take my career.”

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