Antonio Bianchis House is based in Kelaniya, just north of the capital Colombo. It was opened in September 2009, in response to a great need locally to support under privileged children.
In the centre we currently run a pre-school for twenty-seven 3 to 5 year-olds. However, this is no ordinary pre-school. As well as providing academic classes and activities, the children are given a nutritious breakfast and lunch and offered counselling too. They are all from very challenging backgrounds and in need of emotional support; several regularly go hungry at the weekends. We work with the parents and families too, providing workshops to teach parenting and life skills. The children also get to visit a doctor and a dentist and get special trips and outings.
Such an all-encompassing approach has already paid off; Parents have fed-back positive changes in their children's behaviour and family life has improved generally in the community as a result of this holistic approach. In a short time, many have been impacted as the centre represents a new hope for the future and real possibilities for the next generation to break the cycles of poverty.
January 2012 saw our work expand as we started to provide after-school support to children and to tutor older children who have never been to school so that they can start to attend for the first time. In line with our holistic approach, we are also starting to provide some counselling to older children and young people in the communities who face many challenges due to their circumstances. We are excited to see how our growth will facilitate further growth and development for the children.