*children's names are changed and their photographs obscured for reasons of protection
Penna is a 13 year old girl.
She lives with her parents in their tiny home in the beach slums of Dehiwela, Sri Lanka.
Penna has been disabled since birth with suspected cerebral palsy. This puts extra physical and financial burdens on an already impoverished family.
Her father works long hours to bring in a paltry income, while her mother, who suffers from very poor health, takes care of Penna and their household.
What are the risks facing Penna?
When Penna’s mother’s health fails, Penna is unable to move around and care for herself successfully.
Poverty and disability are huge hurdles for any child wanting an education in Sri Lanka.
Living in a particularly deprived area comes with its own problems of poor hygiene, difficult and often dangerous living conditions, which Penna is particularly vulnerable to through her inability to walk.
How do we respond to Penna’s situation?
We matched Penna with a sponsor so she could enroll into Morning Star Centre, which supports the education of very deprived children and opens up the way for them to attend formal school in the future.
At the Centre Penna not only receives education, social and welfare care, but she also gained a walker and training from a physiotherapist, allowing her to develop some use of her legs. As time goes on this will be hugely liberating for both Penna and her mother!