Alfy and Sharmini Perera have been involved from the start, they are responsible for the day to day supervision and fulfill the Father and Mother role for the children. Alfy is Singalees and Sharmini is from Tamil descent. There are still on-going problems between the two ethnic groups so there couldn’t be a better example for the children. Alfy takes care of the maintenance for the houses, he’s responsible for the larger purchasing and monitors the quality of the education. Sharmini teaches the matrons how to care for the children, she takes care of the school supplies and coordinates the kitchen. Their life enroles totally around taking care of the children at Home of Hope. Without their commitment and involvement this project could never have been so successful.
The children attend school from Monday to Friday according to a set schedule. The older children wake-up at 4.30 am and the younger ones at 5.30 am. The older children wash their own clothes, tidy and clean their own rooms and do small domestic chores. Before school everybody has breakfast.
At 6.30 am the Home of Hope children take the bus to school. The schools start at 7.30 am, however all the pupils need to be at school at 7.15 am. At noon the younger children are finished school and the older pupils at 2.30 pm
Once back at the village lunch is served, this is prepared by the matrons in the large kitchen, however the children eat in their own houses. Around 3 pm all the children polish their shoes and prepare their school uniform for the next school day. From 15.30 pm onwards there are different kinds of activities depending on the age that the children can participate in. Some of them attend the library where they can read or do their homework. The younger children take English lessons and the Tamil children Tamil lessons on a regular basis.
After 5 pm all of the children are allowed to play outside unless they haven’t finished their homework. The older children play cricket or volleyball on the big playing field and the younger ones go to the playground.
At 6 pm all children have showers. Afterwards small chores around the house are taken care of, e.g. fetching water, sweeping paths, some small gardening etc. At 18.30 pm the children have their evening meal and at 7 pm it’s time for prayers. In between 7.30 and 8.30 pm the children older than 11 finish their homework for the next day. The younger children go to bed around 7.30 pm and the older ones at 9.30 pm. During weekends there are dance lessons, handicraft and many other activities for the children to do. On Sunday there is Sunday school and a church service.
At Home of Hope there are five different houses. The children live in groups of twelve and have their own dorm with one matron to take care of the group. They share a bedroom with either two or maximum four children. From an early age onwards they are taught how to do simple domestic chores such as washing the dishes, sweeping, fetching water, making up beds, ironing, washing and a small bit of gardening. By doing this they experience a sense of family life.
All meals are prepared by the matrons in the big kitchen at Home of Hope. On a yearly basis a huge amount of rice and coconuts are used. To enable sufficient food supplies a plantation has been established where hundreds of coconut and banana trees have been planted. Also mango trees and lots of vegetables are grown. Due to the recent rising of food prices funds can be saved by doing this. On top of this, what doesn’t get eaten gets sold locally. This results in substantially more income.
A lot of time has been made free for sports and games at Hope of Home, just like in the Netherlands, if homework is finished the children can enjoy their free time playing outside. A large (cricket) playing field and playground has been created for all outdoor activities. In the weekend, especially on Saturday, lots of different activities take place. Sunday is for relaxing. The children have the opportunity to watch films in their own dorm. They are also allowed to go swimming. Above all they attend Sunday school and in the evening a church service is held. Once in a while a sports/games day is organized.