Henehasa Home ‘Bakery School’ Project
The project supports and funds a Bakery School run for girls at Henehasa Girls Home in southern Sri Lanka. Henehasa Girls Home provides much needed protection for approximately 80 victims of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence aged between 12 and 17 years of age. As cases against the perpetrators (often either family members, or persons close to the family) can take years to be processed by the Sri Lankan court system, Henehasa offers the girls a ‘safe zone’ from a life otherwise fraught with danger. Unfortunately, however, during their time at Henehasa, the girls acquire no education, skills or training and thus, historically, many subsequently end up on the streets, involved in prostitution, crime and drugs. The Bakery School project provides its students from Henehasa (and, as of May 2018, Sri Lankan special needs girls) advanced cooking and baking skills to enable them to make an independent living. In southern Sri Lanka where the school operates there is great demand for these skills. After graduating from the course, the students are supported through an internship placement sourced by the director of the program, Janaka De Silva. From there the girls are offered fulltime employment. In fact, after 4 years of operation, 90% of the school’s graduates have gone on to find employment (several in catering at five-star hotels) in Sri Lanka, providing them with the hope and financial stability that they need for a new start in life.