Celebrating Fathers in Ambagamuwa, Sri Lanka

“In the past my father was only a driver and businessman. But today he is a loving and present father, this change was brought by the MenCare program conducted by World Vision” said 12 year old Hakash sharing the transformation that has taken place in his family as a result of his father who actively participated in the MenCare group education program conducted by World Vision Lanka. He made this speech at the community symposium organized to celebrate the International Father’s Day.

International Fathers’ Day was celebrated by World Vision Lanka, Ambagamuwa ADP on 23nd of June 2013 at Maskeliya with the participation of nearly 200 families in collaboration with the MenCare Global Fatherhood Campaign.

During the event 36 fathers, who completed the MenCare group education program in 2012 were awarded graduation certificates. The community symposium organized to appreciate the participation of the fathers in the group education program also provided opportunities for the fathers, their partners and children to share the significant changes and the transformation that has taken place in their individual, family and community life as result of their participation in five month long MenCare group education sessions conducted by the World Vision Lanka, Ambagamuwa ADP to promote men engagement in child well-being in terms of better nutrition, literacy and child protection as well as to reduce violence against women and children and to promote gender equality.

The event also provided space for children of different age categories to share their hopes and expectation of their fathers which they did through poems, drama, dance and speeches to add color to the event. It was also coupled with the awarding ceremony of certificates and gifts to the winners on the fatherhood campaign art competition which was conducted by the program in 17 government school and 15 preschools with the participation of more than 2800 children from age five to sixteen under six age categories. The best arts were also exhibited at the event.

The occasion was graced by Shiron Perera, the Zonal Operation Manager of World Vision Lanka and Divisional Medical Officer of Maskeliya Base Hospital who were the keynote speakers of the event as well as by Officers-in-Charge of police as well as Women and Child Bureau, School Principals, representations of Plantation Management, program staff, the fathers of the current MenCare education groups along with their children and partners and other dignitaries.