Location and general information
For three decades, ending in 2009, Sri Lanka endured a civil war between its government, dominated by the Sinhalese Buddhist majority (70% of the population), and the separatist organisation known as the Tamil Tigers, who practise Hinduism (20%) and Islam (10%). According to the UN, between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed during this armed conflict, with more than 150,000 reported missing. The war mainly affected the country’s northern and eastern provinces, where the separatists wanted to create an independent state. Furthermore, in December 2004, the country was among those most severely affected by a tsunami that killed 31,000 people and hit its eastern province very hard. More recently, in April 2019, Sri Lanka suffered seven bomb attacks against the Christian community and tourists, which were attributed to the Islamic State and killed 253 people. The situation in the country remains tense, in particular on account of reprisals against the Muslim community by radical religious groups.
In this context, following an initial fact-finding visit in September 2016, cooperation between C.I.E.LO and its local partner, the Sri Lankan association RECDO, began with the creation of a toy library. Subsequent projects involved renovating and equipping a rural nursery school set up by parents themselves without state assistance, and building 15 homes with toilets for families living below the poverty line in rural areas.
The sports-related part of the project involves the construction of a sand and grass pitch on a piece of land next to the new toy library building, where outdoor games (racquet-based and ball games, skittles, quoits, etc.) and team sports such as cricket, which is Sri Lanka’s national sport, table tennis, football and volleyball, can be played. It will also include the purchase of games and sports equipment required to play these sports.
- Enhance the general facilities and improve conditions for playing games and sports at the toy library.
- Make the toy library more attractive and increase visitor numbers.
- Widen the choice of games by purchasing new games and equipment for four different sports.
- Support the local economy by employing local craftspeople.
- Help to promote and extend the activities of the RECDO association, partner of C.I.E.LO.
The project will significantly improve the quality of the toy library thanks to the purchase of 100 new games to be added to the current collection, which will generate interest among users who frequently ask for new games to discover. It will also fund the acquisition of equipment for four different sports: cricket (Sri Lanka’s national sport), table tennis, volleyball and football. Five wooden tables, chairs and shelves will also be purchased so the toy library can accommodate more children in better conditions.
With around 300 games in its collection, the toy library will become one of the best equipped C.I.E.LO toy libraries. These games are carefully selected and arranged in accordance with the international ESAR classification system, which is mainly based on the work of Jean Piaget and focuses on several types of childhood learning:
- Exercise-based games stimulate the senses and motor skills of very young children (rattles, music boxes, play mats, pull-along toys).
- Symbolic games promote creativity, imagination and fantasy (puppets, tea sets, toy cars, musical instruments, doctor’s kits, tool kits).
- Assembly games stimulate logical thinking and an understanding of social behaviour, as well as more complex strategic thinking (Connect 4, bingo, board games, memory games).
- Traditional games will also be well represented and additional furniture will be provided to enable children to develop their skills in better conditions, with shelves and transparent boxes to store games securely, tables, chairs, mats.