Over the next two weekends, Auckland and Wellington will come alive with Diwali celebrations that signify the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life. ChildFund has its own special relationship to Sri Lanka, a country that celebrates Diwali. The Singing Fish project in Batticaloa focuses on the community’s priorities of early childhood development, educational performance, youth career guidance and livelihoods, and has been made possible with the help of our many wonderful Kiwi supporters. With the following photo essay we mark Diwali, and shine a light on some of the amazing developments that have helped make a difference in the lives of so many hardworking Sri Lankan children and families.

Group WorkChildFund has trained teachers in 9 schools in more modern teaching methods. Instead of taking the traditional approach of lecturing from the front of the room, the teachers now know how to facilitate group work and encourage all children to actively participate in lessons, making the schools more child-friendly. Interactive ClassesSchool classes are now very interactive thanks to teacher training supported by ChildFund. Research shows that active participation in the lessons is very important for children’s learning.Supplementary ClassesThe school day in Batticaloa is quite short and children don’t always get enough time for their lessons. ChildFund has supported after-school supplementary classes so children can study extra for their exams.Early Childhood Development CentreChildFund supports the littlest children too! These boys and girls attend one of the early childhood development centres run by ChildFund.Donated BikesMany students live far from their school – these boys are lucky to have bikes. A generous kiwi supporter has donated 200 bikes to children in Batticaloa to help them attend school.Mothers at ECD centresMums attend the ChildFund early childhood development centres with their children. This not only makes the children feel more secure, but is also a great opportunity for the parents to learn about child care and how they can help their children learn.Liveihoods Project BoardChildFund is supporting a project that will help 3000 families to establish small businesses or livelihoods such as fishing or vegetable growing, in order to increase their incomes. This project is also supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme.Community BoardsChildFund has established Community Boards in 26 communities. The volunteers on the Boards will be responsible for disbursing small loans and monitoring repayments. Shona Jennings, Programme Director at ChildFund New Zealand, recently visited one of the Community Boards, which have a central role in the livelihoods project.Livelihoods Project TeamOur wonderful team from ChildFund Sri Lanka that is running the livelihoods project: Alex, Sujatha, Vanee, and Nyeem (left to right). The team works hard to cover the 26 communities that are part of the project.Livestock for FamiliesNutritious milk is a great addition to a child’s diet, especially in areas like Batticaloa where malnutrition rates are high. Loans and training will help more families to purchase livestock.

Visit our Sri Lanka page to learn more about ChildFund New Zealand’s work in Batticaloa. Sponsor a child in the Singing Fish Project.

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