Welcome to the Rainbow Centre
The Rainbow Centre is a UK Registered Charity, founded in 2005, that provides daily education, food, welfare, medical treatment and loving support to children living in extreme poverty in south western Sri Lanka.
Its key aim is to enable children to obtain an education.
The Rainbow Centre is helping children to break free from a cycle of poverty that would otherwise trap them in a world of crime, begging, addiction and abuse. This is life-changing work.
Since opening in 2005, the Rainbow Centre has enabled more more than 500 children to go to school and has continued to support them with their studies. It is thanks to the generosity and compassion of its donors that the Rainbow Centre is able to continue this invaluable work.
The Rainbow Centre provides care for infants ranging in age from six months to three years. These are the most neglected and high risk children who come to the Rainbow Centre, often malnourished and in need of medical attention. The aim is to give these children the best possible start in life. The Rainbow nursery enables the infants’ older siblings to join school rather than act as child-minders, frees their often destitute mothers to earn an income and keeps the children safe from the many risks at home in slum housing, including the pressure to sell young babies out of poverty.
One of the Rainbow Centre’s key strategies is to focus on young children, aged three to five, to ensure that, by the time they are old enough to enter mainstream school at five, they have already made a great start to their education. For many newcomers, pre-school means making a huge adjustment after an early childhood of trauma and neglect. The Rainbow Centre works to prepare them for the next big step to mainstream school. This means they have everything they need to gain acceptance and are ahead with their studies, emotionally well-adjusted and in good health. All Rainbow Centre pre-school teachers follow the national curriculum with extra subjects such as English.
Children who attend mainstream school aged five to sixteen are bussed to the Rainbow Centre for after-school tuition given by specialist subject teachers, including maths, English, Sinhala and science. Highly qualified teachers are being recruited to ensure that all Rainbow children get academic support. Separate classes are held for students taking scholarship and O Level examinations. To date, Rainbow Centre children have won awards in maths, poetry, public speaking and English. Three students have each obtained nine O Levels and gone on to study A Levels and prepare for University. Many more academically able students are hoping to follow in their footsteps.
CURRENT PROJECTS SEEKING FUNDS
The Dr Gamini Nanayakkara Counselling Programme
In Loving Memory of Dr Gamini Nanayakkara and Mrs Kusum Nanayakkara
The counselling programme is inspired by the great psychiatrist and philanthropist, Dr Gamini Nanayakkara who did so much to mentor children in poverty.
All of the children who attend the Rainbow Centre have experienced the trauma of extreme poverty and the effects of adult addiction. Since starting operations 12 years ago, the Rainbow Centre has worked with the help of informal counselling by local doctors. Since January 2017, the Rainbow Centre has been able to employ the services of Sri Lanka’s leading professional child psychologists from the Damrivi Foundation who visit the Centre once a week and treat the most troubled children. The issues treated include the effects of serious abuse, learning difficulties and suicidal depression.
IMPROVING EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS
With a growing number of academically able children attending the Rainbow Centre day school, there is an urgent need to improve the standards of teaching and include specialist tuition. The Rainbow Centre is seeking new teaching staff from further afield than Bentota and is aiming to recruit UK-trained volunteer teachers to work during their school holidays and to raise standards at the Centre. The Rainbow Centre is also seeking a head teacher to work on a longer placement. Attending mainstream school is the key to success in later life and the Rainbow Centre children are especially in need of extra support. The importance of passing public exams cannot be overstated. Even passing just one O Level (the equivalent of a GCSE) is the key to being eligible for employment.
Not all of the Rainbow Centre children are academically able and, therefore, need practical vocational training to find a job and avoid dropping out of school and sinking back into the poverty of their parents who eek out a living as labourers. The Rainbow Centre is actively working to put together a vocational training programme including the making of candles, soap and bags. In the past, Rainbow students were taught handicraft skills and were able to sell their baskets to ‘Barefoot’, a leading clothing and handicraft retailer in Sri Lanka. There is already a waiting list of teenagers and young mothers wishing to access this training. The Rainbow Centre is seeking both the funds and expertise to enable the training to take place