Avant Garde has been taking care of the needs of orphaned children at Vajira Sri Children’s Development Center in Sri Jayewardenepura for the last 10 years by donating the necessary furniture and providing other infrastructure facilities for the children to live in a safe and healthy environment.
AGMS has also been fulfilling the needs of the school dedicated to provide education for the children at this home. We believe that a sound education is the strength for children to live in dignity.
Vajira Sri Children’s Development Center was established in 1983 with 30 destitute children, with the support of the then Assistant Government Agent of Morawewa. Initially, Ven. Vajira Sri Thero brought 101 orphaned children from the Morawewe refugee camp located in the Trincomalee district and provided them with basic needs as well as education. The Chief Incumbent, Ven. Dr. Hunupolagama Vajira Sri Nayaka Thero is the executive director of the home for orphaned children.
The children sheltered here have undergone different tragic situations, such as the war, shattered families, unwanted pregnancies and the Tsunami. They come from all over the country via the government body of social welfare. At present, nearly 150 children are sheltered here sent by the Department of Probation. Up to now, about 2,000 children have received shelter and successfully re-integrated into society.
Children sheltered here were earlier sent to nearby schools but they faced many problems. They were discriminated by others since they are orphans while villagers complained that the children were a threat to their security. As a result, the management set up a separate school for these children called Vajira Vidyalaya, so that they could continue their education without problems.
Vajira Vidyalaya was later renamed WP/Jayewardenepura Indrasiri Vidyalaya dedicated to educate the orphans residing at the children’s home. All children sit for the GCE O’ Levels while some continue up to A’ Levels and even manage to get admission to a local university to complete BA and MA degrees. To date, 1,800 children have found employment in the mercantile sector and some have joined the armed forces.
The school is registered with the Department of Education as a Non Assisted Government School. Sixteen professionally qualified teachers serve in the school, and it was a major challenge to provide salaries to these teachers and fulfill financial needs for the day today running of the school. AGMS recognized all these challenges and been supporting the school for the last 10 years.
Vajira Sri Children’s Development Centre
Special Statement by Hunupolagama Vajira Sri Nayake Thero
“I intervened and formed Vajira Sri Children’s Development Centre to assist children who were orphaned and homeless due to the war. During the time of Black July, I brought destitute children from the North and East to this centre and gave them food and shelter with education opportunities. Initially, there were 101 Sinhala children, 75 Muslims and 200 Tamils. By the end of 1983, we were sheltering 376 destitute children. I was initially assisted by former Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa. Later, several others helped us. What I wanted was not only to feed, clothe and shelter them, but also to educate them. But these children were not accepted to schools due to the lack of birth certificates, other documents and issues. Therefore, I decided to set up a school dedicated to these children. Even former Minister Champika Ranawaka helped us and taught them when he was young.
As such, Vajira Sri Children’s Centre was able to assist around 5,000 children to have an education and take up jobs.
After the war, we have 150 children. Mr. Nissanka Senadhipathi, Chairman, Avant Garde now supports us to meet the needs of the home. I know him over a long period. He is a well-cultured Sinhala Buddhist and an efficient war hero, who does great service to the society and country.
Our home needs about Rs. 300,000 every month. Mr. Senadhipathi spends Rs 200,000 per month to pay the salaries of teachers. In addition, he donates clothing, equipment and other utensils needed for the children’s home.
For the New Year, he took 175 of our children to the biggest textile shop in Nugegoda and let them buy whatever they wanted. I remember children picking up clothes, slippers and shoes in a mad rush. Some bought things for over Rs. 10,000. It cost him several lakhs of rupees.
Mr. Senadhipathi is a rare leader born to this country. He is meritorious and generous and not a person who earns money with devious methods. He spends towards meritorious purposes to bring health and happiness to people who face difficulties in life.
I am also aware that he spends millions of rupees monthly for those with hardships. He is moved when hearing of children afflicted with cancer and heart ailments. It is a blessing to hear about people of his caliber in this world.”