Colombo, October 24, 2017: SriLankan Airlines and the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan have taken an important step forward in combating all forms of child abuse in Sri Lanka with the launch of the ‘Child Friendly Police Station’ project, aimed at protecting child victims and bringing justice for their grievances.
Ajith Dias, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, said: “SriLankan Airlines believes that safeguarding children’s rights helps build strong, well-educated communities. There can be no matter of greater importance than the safety and welfare of our nation’s children. The National Carrier is proud to once again fulfill its duties as a pillar of the nation’s corporate sector by engaging with the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan in this project to protect our children, though our CSR arm SriLankan Cares.”
The programme envisages physically transforming police stations nationwide into centres of refuge where traumatized children would find a safe and comforting environment to go to and narrate their harrowing tales of abuse. A crucial element of the programme will be the provision of comprehensive training of police officers in modern methodologies of caring for victims of all forms of child abuse including sexual assault and physical and psychological abuse.
Pradeepa Kekulawala, Head of Human Resources at SriLankan who leads the airline’s CSR efforts, added: “Although Sri Lanka has made progress in some areas of promoting the rights and care of children, we believe that much more needs to be done. By turning police stations into sanctuaries of refuge that children would turn towards when they are in need of comfort and succor, we will be achieving multiple goals, including creating awareness among the general public of the horrors of child abuse and ensuring more efficient investigations to bring justice to victims.”
The Child Friendly Police Station project is intended to assist the Sri Lankan Government in achieving its Agenda 2030 targets to end violence against children. The pilot project will commence with the Ragama Police Station in a suburb north of the capital Colombo and the programme is envisaged to then be implemented in other police stations around the country.
Founded in 2005 SriLankan Cares is committed to the welfare of children and is believed to be the first private sector company in Sri Lanka’s commercial field to set up a specialized CSR branding. SriLankan Cares targets three main areas - Child, Planet and Talent - conducting specific CSR initiatives to maximize the positive impact on society and minimize the negative influence on the environment. It has focused on children, women and differently abled persons, assisting the upgrading of schools and hospitals around the country and provided countless needy children with infrastructure development, scholarships, training seminars, health camps and donations and has sponsored children in need of urgent overseas medical treatment with free air travel.
SriLankan Cares often works in partnership with other corporate and social welfare organizations. It recently worked together with the Foundation of Goodness to construct a ‘Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre’ in Oddusuddan in the Mullaitivu District for the benefit of youth and women in the impoverished region.
Past President and Chairman of Membership of Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan Kumar Mirchandani said.”The Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan is always looking at ways to improve our community, and the Child-Friendly Police Station based in Ragama is such an initiative. It is the first Child friendly Police Station of this nature in Sri Lanka, with the objective of providing children with a safe and private environment if the need to report a crime of any sort. The unstinting support and guidance received from the Ministry of Law and Order and the IGP and his team were crucial in getting this project going. We are very thankful to Sri Lankan Airlines for coming forward as one of our sponsors for this groundbreaking initiative by our Rotary Club. Our projects would be impossible if not for individuals and corporates such as Sri Lankan.”