Henehasa Home ‘Bakery School’ Project
The Bakery School project provides a pathway to financial stability and family reunion for teenage girls who are victims of sexual and/or physical abuse. The project primarily supports the occupants of Henehasa Girls Home (HGH), which provides much needed protection to victims of sexual and physical abuse. However, during their time at HGH, the girls acquire no education or skills and upon leaving HGH many end up homeless, and become involved in prostitution and drugs. Additionally, the girls’ family bonds have often been shattered because of the stigma attached to being a victim of a sexual crime in Sri Lanka. It is common for them to become an outcast from their family and community.The Bakery School provides these girls with advanced cooking and baking skills, which are in high demand due to the number of baking outlets in hotels, supermarkets and stand-alone businesses in Sri Lanka. During the course the girls are also provided with English-language lessons and interview-skills training. After graduating, the students are supported through an internship placement and from there the girls are usually offered full time employment, providing them with the hope and financial stability that they need for a new start in life. The Bakery School also provides a mediation service between the students and their families in order to encourage a reunion, where this is deemed to be desirable.