Children living in areas in Sri Lanka affected by war commonly do not have access to the resources and funds needed to receive an education. Many of these children suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder and issues due to their harsh living conditions. Child Empowerment International works to help children who have been negatively affected by war and other violent experiences overcome difficulties, cope with reality and receive an education.
Child Empowerment International establishes day schools in the refugee centers and communities these children live in. Over the past 17 years, the organization helped increase an individual’s future earnings by ten percent through education and training. Their staff of over 200 teachers prepares students for testing in Sri Lanka, which is based on the British education system. Studies conducted by Child Empowerment International have shown students graduating from their program score in the top five percentile on these standardized exams.
Students are taught basic school subjects like grammar and biology and receive career training to become carpenters, seamstresses, chefs, mechanics and hotel managers. Many students are also taught English and computer skills.
Child Empowerment International was started in 1998 to provide children living in war ridden zones holistic care. The organization started with 17 schools, but by the following year they were up to 29 schools. Child Empowerment International began by training teachers and counselors to mentor children who had suffered from sexual abuse and other traumatic experiences.
Founder Adam Salmon worked to establish a textbook-exporting company in Sri Lanka in 1994, but decided to change his line of work when he realized there were large numbers of abandoned children not receiving aid from other organizations. As the founder, he manages the hundreds of teachers working for Child Empowerment International and dedicates his time to improving the lives of the 6,800 children impacted by the organization.
The organization also dedicated themselves to helping the survivors of the tsunami that struck Sri Lanka in 2004. Several hundred students were orphaned by catastrophe and Child Empowerment International lost 126 of their students. The organization worked to find homes for children, provide resources and rebuild the schools lost to the storm.
Today, Child Empowerment International has over 80 schools established in Sri Lanka and other impoverished communities. Their newest project enacted in 2010 is working to provide education and healthcare to children in Uganda.
Students at their schools have successfully graduated from university and gained professional experience in the profession of their choice, with many of them becoming teachers or health professionals. Child Empowerment International is gathering quantitative data of the impact of their work on an individual’s success. Publication of this is set for 2017.
– Julia Hettiger