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*Andrew’s mum went to work as a housemaid in the Middle East after divorcing his dad, who went to prison for drugs offences. She badly needed the money.

Andrew was left behind in Sri Lanka. His gran took good care of him, and made sure he went to school. But that all changed when his dad was released. He wanted his son back. Andrew’s safe routine and school attendance unravelled.

And so began a cycle which continued for years. Dad was in and out of prison. Andrew was in and out of school, and in and out of trouble. Mum was away.

At one point Andrew was admitted to intensive care with dengue fever. The courts gave permission for his father to be released from prison to the hospital. But his mum’s employers in the Middle East refused to let her leave, even though her son was critically ill.

Breaking the cycle

The cycle didn’t break until the family came to the attention of the Field Officer at the Morning Star Care Centre, supported by Global Care. For a time she was able to convince the family to keep Andrew with his grandmother. Over the years since, she has had to intervene again and again.

Andrew is 15 now. He comes to the centre for lessons still. He’s several years behind his peers academically, and the lure of slum life is still strong. A couple of years ago his mum came home for good. She wants to keep Andrew on the straight and narrow, but even with the help of the MSCC team, it’s not easy.

Our Christmas Appeal aims to give new choices to women like Andrew’s mum. No-one should be forced to leave their children and their country in order to earn enough to eat.

Women need skills and opportunities to make a good living in Sri Lanka, and keep looking after their children. The migrant housemaid industry is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign income earners, but it is completely unregulated and leaves thousands of women and children at risk. As many as one million Sri Lankan children are ‘left behind’ like this each year.

Can you help us launch a new three-year project led by our local Sri Lankan partners, equipping women to help themselves? To STAY and support their families?

All donations are being doubled NOW thanks to matchfunding. So your gift will go twice as far. .

*name changed to protect child’s identity