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  • Karen Visser

Kedella Respite Therapeutic Centre

“The thing that brings me the most joy is that children come here with no value, but leave with self-worth.”

  • Budhini, Kedella Residential Coordinator

Kedella residents practice a dance together
Kedella residents practice a dance together. Kedella restores a sense of dignity, together with a joy in learning and hope for the future.

Compelled By Love supports the Kedella Respite Therapeutic Centre in Sri Lanka, which provides residential therapeutic care for children who have survived abuse.

It’s a beautiful centre, set in a lush green expanse where children can play, enjoy safety, and heal and recover with the help of trained, compassionate staff.

Caring houseparents like Sumubu provide a home-like environment for the children, vastly different from some of the destructive relationships and environments that have been part of their lives to this point.

“Some children come saying that they don’t want to stay, but at the end, they don’t want to go,” she says. “I care for them as if they were my own. I give that love and care with a lot of joy and satisfaction. When the children leave and succeed, that gives me a lot of joy.”

Image of the Kadella centre and gardens
The centre includes gardens, warm, home-like buildings, and a sense of space and safety.

During their 12-week stay, children are provided with individual counselling, medical treatment as needed, in-house education and a line-up of activities to help them be resilient and collect ‘happy childhood memories’.

Arts and crafts, life skills lessons and play activities are child-centred and therapeutic. Children also take part in weekly counselling sessions that include art and play therapy.

The restoration work done with the children has a long term effect.

“What I enjoy is the transition that children make. They come in in a state of hopelessness with limitations of where they can go,” says counsellor Sandya.

“After we work with them, and they go out, they still have contact with the counsellors. We know they are improving and tackling things; they have an aim and goal in life… Later, they still stay connected.”

Kedella is a project of CBL’s partner, Leads. While a child is at the centre, Leads locates and works with their families so that children can be integrated back into the family where possible. They also develop pathways for their future, whether completing school or vocational training.

Residents work together in the garden; a child-friendly mural creates a welcoming space; taking part in art therapy.

“The best thing is when the students leave and where they go and how they improve their life to live a better life,” says houseparent Manjula.

When CBL’s CEO Karen Visser visited Kedella this year she felt privileged to be part of Kedella’s work and ministry.

“I was so moved by the work of Leads as I interacted with people whose lives have been empowered,” she said. “We’d love our CBL supporters to get behind the amazing work of Kedella.”

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