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Starting a Youth Counseling Centre-Shanthi Maargam

USD 2245 total funds raised
15% funded on Sep 03, 2018

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Follow-on Funding

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SHANTHI MAARGAM – FOR A PEACEFUL TOMORROW

 


“Shanthi Maargam” means pathways to peace in Sinhala and Tamil.


 

We are a Sri Lankan not for profit which aims to provide safe spaces to enhance young people’s emotional well being and create opportunities for learning and growth through our youth centres.

 

 

In 2016 we opened doors to “Art of Living” youth centre, near the slums of Colombo.

The Art of Living centres are safe spaces which aim to engage with youth and provide holistic mental health services such as art and drama therapy, music and counselling services as well as emotion management through yoga, meditation and karate.

 


We are changing violent and oppressive social norms.



These centers also serve as  a space for young people to discuss and learn about gender equitable behaviours, sexual and reproductive health, relationships, substance abuse, life skill development, leadership skills and other key topics that are contextually relevant to that age group.


The Aim of the Campaign:


We need your help to build a youth counseling centre


Since we opened our "Art of Living" centre, more and more youth have been coming in to access our counseling services for issues ranging from suicide ideation, self harm, abuse, pressure etc.  For the past two years we have run a 24 hour hotline and developed counseling protocols for youth as none are currently existent within the country and we have become the pioneer organization providing these services.



We realised that there is a need to set up a dedicated safe and inclusive space accessible by all (LBGT, HIV positive youth, youth with disabilities etc) whose main purpose is to provide counseling services only in a quiet and dedicated space in local languages (Sinhala, Tamil and English).

This campaign is aimed at raising funds for the construction of this necessary space.

 

Why does Shanthi Maargam Matter?


 


25% of Sri Lanka's youth suffer unemployment, 35% suffer from substance abuse



Sri Lanka’s youth constitute 1/3rd of our population and these future leaders experience high levels of unemployment at 25%[1]. This facilitates recruitment into violent gangs and violent activities, and there are high levels substance abuse in this demography ranging from  33%-35%[2]. Furthermore, upto 28% of Sri Lanka’s youth have experienced child sexual abuse[3] contributing to  alarmingly high numbers of suicide (3,770 in 2011), teenage pregnancies (6.4%). This violent culture has skewed how the youth view sexual intimacy and consent, with 28% of men perpetrating their first rape at the ages between 15- 19 and a majority of the newest cases of HIV infections being among youth.



 

Shanthi Maargam is aimed at supporting the youth through mentorship and parental support in their transitory stage from childhood to adulthood. Our center further aims to engage the youth into challenging violent gender roles, while providing holistic support for any level of violence experienced and creating environments for the youth to develop their sense of agency to become pathways to confront the legacies of conflict and help heal the trauma, building strong and equitable relationships among young people of all genders.  We believe that through this approach, the cycles of violence can finally be broken.

Shanthi Maargam is also focused on developing curriculum and conducting research required to address social and emotional  needs of youth.

For more information on Shanthi Maargam please access our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ShanthiMaargamSL

 


[1] http://www.sundaytimes.lk/120115/BusinessTimes/bt08.html (Accessed on 6/9/2015)

[2] http://www.ips.lk/talkingeconomics/2014/08/12/a-closer-look-at-youth-mental-health-in-sri-lanka-and-some-consequences/ (Accessed on 6/9/2015)

[3] de Mel, N., P. Peiris and S. Gomez (2013). Broadening Gender: Why Masculinities Matter—

Attitudes, Practices and Gender-Based Violence in Four Districts in Sri Lanka. Colombo: CARE Sri Lanka    

Kamani Jinadasa

Working in the area of Women's issues, youth emotional and holistic well being, improving the lives of HIV positive people and spirituality