Catholic Work in Sri Lanka
Explore the tabs below to learn more about our mission. Click the button below to donate to our charity work in Sri Lanka.
Miracle for Sick Children & Blind Families
More and more children are born with thalassemia every year in Sri Lanka. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, and a shorter life expectancy. Treatment is costly, and the frequent hospital visits have a deep impact on the children’s social and psychological development. Thalassemia patients are also often stigmatized, even by their own family members!
“CWM and Rev. Fr. Sagara thank you a million times over. We love you a lot. We are grateful to all who aid us through our troubles.” – Shashini
Meet Shashini and Sanduni’s who are grappling with long-term diseases. Even though both sisters live with thalassemia, a blood disorder that requires ongoing treatment, they live to the fullest and display immense gratitude. The two sisters love to read, play outside, work in their garden, and hang out with friends. Their father works as a seasonal crop farmer while their mother stays at home to care for them. Even with all of the hard work their parents do to make ends meet, it is still difficult to properly nourish and educate their daughters.
“CWM and Rev. Fr. Sagara thank you for helping us with our needs. We owe you thousands and thank you for giving us hope for a better tomorrow” – Sanduni
They are children like 6-year-old Sudarshani. She’s in first grade, and her dad is a farmer.
Or 15-year-old Malki, who’s in 9th grade. Despite her disease, she’s like any other teenage girl, except she must come to the hospital once every month for a life-saving blood transfusion.
Or 5-year-old Rashmika, who was diagnosed with thalassemia when he was just 18 months old.
The inspiration is simple: what can bless sick children and blind adults in the midst of their hardship, to help meet their material needs and allow them to experience God’s deep love for them?
For the children in the hospital, all it takes is a small toy and a simple lunch. These children are battling either cancer or a blood disease called Thalassemia. They have to stay in the hospital over Christmas, but thanks to your generosity, for the last two years these brave children have still been able to celebrate.
Visit the Updates tab to see the smiling faces of these children.
You provided essential living supplies for blind families and orphaned children in Sri Lanka. Just in time for the Christmas season, the families and children were given medicine, bags of food, shoes, backpacks, and coloring books and craft supplies. Our partner, Bishop Harry Perera, is grateful for the generosity of the donors who were able to bring light to this community during Christmas.
Thanks to your generosity we were able to bring our Christmas Miracle program to the sick children in Sri Lanka once again this year. Thank you!
See their smiling faces:
See photos from Christmas 2018, the first year we brought our Christmas Miracle program to Sri Lanka:
For 200 blind families in Kurunegala, life can be especially difficult. Arul, 50, earns his living by making candles. But it isn’t enough for him and his wife to survive on.
Shelton, his wife, and his daughter work hard to stay afloat and overcome their conditions. While his daughter goes to school to pave the path out of poverty, he and his wife work to pay their monthly expenses on an inconsistent income. Shelton is blind and his wife suffers from cancer. He is committed to giving his daughter a better life and desires to help heal his wife.
“I don’t know how to express my thanks. God is our savior and we always thank God for sending us living images of God to us. Thank you CWM and Fr. Sagara. We see our God in you.” – Shelton
Mary Jasintha, 54, tells us that she and her husband “always try our best to see the brightness of our lives despite our blindness.” But even their positive attitude can’t erase the many difficulties being blind adds to their lives. Even daily chores are extra difficult, and Mary Jasintha and her husband are self-employed. But they can’t make enough to meet all their needs either.
We always try our best to see the brightness of our lives despite our blindness. – Mary Jasintha, Sri Lanka
Fr. Sagara wants to help Arul, Mary Jasintha, and the other blind families.
The plan is to give each family a package of dry rations that will last for months. Each package will include rice, milk powder, lentils, sugar, and other non-perishable food items that will help these hardworking families throughout the coming year!
A dry ration pack costs just $11.35!
So that means $35 will bless 3 blind families with a dry ration pack; $57 will give 5 families a dry ration pack; $114 would give 10 blind families a special gift!
You brought joy to the season for blind families in Sri Lanka.
210 families were given a dry ration pack for Christmas containing staples like powdered milk, flour, oil, and other non-perishables.
Take a look at their great gratitude:
Sisters of the Holy Angels Come to Kurunegala to Serve the Community
The Story of Kattimahana
In rural Sri Lanka, many families live on less than $2 each day. The poverty they face is so extreme because of the difference between the upper and lower class. Poverty perpetuates as socio-economic issues increase the number of dropouts from school. When children do not receive an education, the cycle of poverty continues, and it is years before anyone has a chance to break it again.
The Catholic Diocese of Kurunegala is working to combat their poverty by inviting the Sisters of the Holy Angels to join their community in the village of Kattimahana to live among the poor and care for their many needs. Their work in education, spiritual development, mentoring, and social work will change the future for the people of Kattimahana. You can join in this community uplift with your generous donation to build a convent for the sisters to live among the people.
The majority of people from the area work in agriculture, harvesting with crops such as tea, rubber, coconut, and sugar among others. Parents work long hours just to bring home a few dollars for their whole family to live off that week. Children, who do not go to school until they are five years of age, are left home alone to fend for themselves while their parents are at work. This neglect leads to an array of health problems, and the children also grow up with deep feelings of abandonment.
The villagers in Kattimahana are in desperate need of human relief to bring about spiritual and socio-economic change in their community. Won’t you be part of the relief they need today?
The Congregation Sisters of the Holy Angels
The Congregation Sisters of the Holy Angels was founded in 1903 by Rt. Rev. Mgr. Joseph Van Reeth S.J. Bishop of Galle to evangelize in the Buddhist community. It was the first Congregation for Sri Lankan women, but this diocesan Congregation has since been raised to Pontifical status. For over 100 years the Sisters of the Holy Angels have worked tirelessly to spread the love of the Gospel to those in need, whether Christian or Buddhist, around the world.
Today, the Sisters of the Holy Angels are urgently needed in the village of Kattimahana, not only to work alongside the priests ministering to the 55,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Kurunegala, but also to minister to the poor children. The children who are able to attend school are at risk for dropping out, falling behind in classes, and perpetuating the debilitating cycle of poverty they are trapped in.
“Our mission in helping people around the Parish at Kattimahana and the children of St. Anne’s School has come across with many difficulties, since we don’t have a proper place to stay there. Our mission is currently disturbed by difficulties in transportation and accommodations. The construction of the proposed convent at Kattimahana will be a unique and a great help for the Sisters of our convent. The establishment of this convent at Kattimahana, in the close vicinity of the shrine and the school, creates a great opportunity for us to easily move with the parishioners, pilgrims, and the children of the school in order to render a better service to the people around the shrine and the school.
We would like to thank the donors and sponsors for your support, contribution of time, and your generous donations. We are also immensely grateful to His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, the bishop of Kurunegala, for the initiatives and continuous
support in all our ministries. Words cannot express how we feel. Thank you once again. Your kindness is truly appreciated in the name of God.” – Rev. Sister Carmen Fernando, Superior
The sisters will serve the community, working to lift families out of generational poverty through education, spiritual development, mentoring, and social work. The Sisters of the Holy Angels will work alongside not only their parish priests’, but also the local government to collaborate on poverty reducing strategies that will ensure the people all have access to clean water, education, and healthcare. The Holy Spirit has a starring role to help the sisters attack poverty at its roots.As you think about the sisters, please pray for their work in this terribly impoverished community. They include Sr. Carmen, Sr. Anita, Sr. Shanika, Sr. Marina, and Sr. Mary. They are amazing women of God. Their hearts for these children and families are big. Their compassion is unmatched.
Seven-year-old Githmi and her sister, 10th grader Chathumini
Githmi Umaya is only seven years old, but she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up: a teacher. And her sister, Chathumini, dreams of being a doctor.
Sadly, in rural Sri Lanka where Githmi and Chathumini live, their dreams are no small ambition. There are massive obstacles standing in the way of their dreams. With a poor schooling system, a horrible economy, and little community support, Githmi, Chathumini and their family are the poorest of the poor.
They are lucky if they have enough money for a daily meal… and the hole in the roof of their shanty hut means all gets soaked when it rains.
It can be extremely difficult to get an education and break the cycle of poverty, and it can be even harder to maintain the deep faith this community has. But with the support of the Sisters of the Holy Angels, Chathumini will be given the spiritual direction and care that she needs to live out her faith – even when times are hardest.
The Convent Is Under Way – The Biggest Obstacle is Already Gone!
Thanks to the great generosity of Fr. Lionel Fernando the biggest obstacle to any building project, and often the most expensive part, is already generously taken care of! Currently the Director of Catechetics, Bible, and Education Apostolates, Fr. Lionel offered his own ancestral property to the community’s dream of having a convent for the Sisters. This property stretches for more than an acre and is perfectly located nearby the Shrine and school dedicated to St. Anne! This land and its convenient location to the church and school make it an ideal location for the Sisters of the Holy Angels’ new convent. What could have meant hundreds of thousands of US dollars in retirement comfort for Fr. Lionel, pictured right, was joyfully given. We can’t let Fr. Lionel’s generosity go to waste.
Providence Children’s Home
Founded in 1986, Providence Home is now home to 60 children between the ages of 8-18, both boys and girls. The orphanage provides for the physical and psychological well-being of these children, as well as primary and secondary school for each child.
The Sisters of Mary Immaculate operate the orphanage. They provide a safe, happy, and loving environment for the children.
Many of the orphanage’s residents lost their parents through death or family disputes resulting in broken homes, leaving them with nowhere else to go.
Hiruni, 11, has lived at Providence Home for several years. Her father left the family when she was very young. Eventually, her mother married another man, but unfortunately, he struggles greatly with alcohol and quickly became abusive. During one particularly violent incident, Hiruni was able to escape him. She told her mother about it, who in turn reported her husband to the police. Hiruni was sent to Providence Home by court order and has lived there ever since.
Today, she is thriving. She is extremely happy with the Sisters of Mary Immaculate and the other children. She feels safe and knows she’s loved there. She’s in 6th Grade, where she excels in her studies. She wants to study hard so that one day she can help her family overcome their struggles.
Srimon, 16, and his brother Justin have lived at Providence Home for four years. Their mother died of cancer when they were very young. Until Srimon was 12, he and his brother were raised by their father. He was a good, hardworking man who made his living working on a local rubber farm. Despite the father’s job, the family had very little money. Their house, for instance, was a simple, very small one-room building.
When Srimon was 12, his father unexpectedly died of a stroke. Suddenly, he and Justin had nowhere to go. A local contact brought them to Providence Home, where they have flourished ever since. Srimon passed his ordinary level exams and is working on his advanced level studies. Justin will sit for his ordinary level exams this year.
You can help other children like Hiruni, Srimon, and Justin today!
Bishop Perera visited Atlanta in July 2018 to fundraise personally for Providence Children’s Home! He visited All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, GA July 14-15 and St. Thomas the Apostle in Smyrna, GA July 21-22. We were so excited to work with Bishop Perera on this amazing project.
It’s always an honor to work with bishops from around the world. We first met Bishop Perera when he visited Atlanta last fall. He has a true love for God, a strong devotion to the Eucharist, and cares for the people of his diocese with a truly pastoral heart.
Bishop Perera’s visit was very successful. He received an outpouring of generosity and donations.
You can still provide vital assistance to the children of Providence Home. Click the “How You Can Help” tab below to learn more.
Click through the photos below to see scenes from Bishop Harry’s visit.
Catholic World Mission and St. Joseph Vaz Institute Medical Mission Trip
In 2018, we partnered with the St. Joseph Vaz Institute for our first-ever medical mission trip to Sri Lanka!
Doctors saw a total of 755 patients for noncommunicable diseases including kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, and thalassemia. Donations included blood pressure machines and a photocopier.
Locations visited included Kotawehera Rural Hospital in Giribawa as well as the village clinic there; Providence Children’s Home in Mawatagama; St. Joseph Vaz Insitute; Raddegoda Village; and the Missionaries of Charity convent in Wellawa.
Click through the photos below to see the people who received medical care!