By Bhante Wimala
When a teenage girl sang a song about the war and how she lost her father, most of us couldn’t hold our tears. It was a moment that we all shared her pain of losing her father and the pain of many other children who are like her.
As I vaguely recall the meaning of it, she sang about the sounds of the guns, horrifying screams of people and silent dead bodies. She sang how the terrorists had stolen the life of her father and she and her mother had become vicitms of the war.
I felt that the wounds of war will scar thespirits of tthese children forever. I met about 5 of such children and their mothers. As the saddness fades away there is so much space in your heart for the joy of helping these mothers and children. I was very happy that I was there with them.
I was there to give 50 scholarships to 50 fatherless children. 50 single mothers and their children, ages ranging from 2-14, had come from all over Sri Lanka to receive the scholarships. Our intension is to support these children until they sit for advanced level exams to qualify for the university. Most of them came from poor families. I felt priviledged to be there. I felt a great joy as I handed over the first check and a package of school needs for them and saw the spark of hope in the eyes of the mothers and these children. As these children received the scholarships one by one, I felt gratitiude and sincee thanks to the generous sponsors. ( Thank you for your committment to brighten up the future of these fatherless children.)
In February 1994 when I was in Sri Lanka, I saw the pain, suffering and terror caused by the war. I felt that I should do something to at least lift a bit of the pain and suffering of the victims of war. The scars of war will never fade away but at least now I can do something to heal the wounds.
After talking to several volunteer organizations who help the victims of war chose “RANAVIRU DUDARU REKAVARANAYA”, they are helping the children of the victims of war by giving them scholarships. These are several good reasons for me to choose that organization. The first 100% of the money will go to support the children. No administrative cost is deducted. The fund is managed by volunteers. This organization helps children and their single mothers. The patron of the organization is VEN. PIYADASSI THERA, a well-known senior monk and one of my teachers.
When I returned to the states I got on the phone, called all my friends and students, faxed information and asked them to help the children. The response was very positive and encouraging.
I promised the sponsors that I would hand over the scholarships with my own hand and meet all the mothers and children. I told the trustees of the fund that I would personally guarantee every scholarship up to 4 years. This means that if somebody drops out due to financial difficulties, I will find another sponsor to relpace him or her.
On the first of August 1994, I returned to Sri Lanka and fulfilled that promise. Most of the mothers and children came to Columbo and only a few counldn’t make it there because it was too far and too expensive for them to get to Columbo.
I appreciate the hard work of Volunteers of R.D.R. and sincerely thank them for making it possible to support those children.