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Life Skills

It’s been a big month in the homes.

At Panadura the girls started the Money and Banking theme. They had a lesson on the cost of living the first day. We used a modified version of the price is right to teach them approximate costs of everyday household items. They learned a lot too. By the end of the workshop they managed to cut their ‘spending’ by 60% to a more realistic monthly budget. This kind of training will especially help girls who need to live on their own after they leave the home. Lack of knowledge would leave them vulnerable to scams (much like Rachael and I fell victim to quite a few scams when we first got to Sri Lanka!) and with so little money to spare, they can’t afford to learn that lesson the hard way.

The next few lessons this month will reinforce what they learned about spending. We’ll talk about wise and unwise spending, saving, and living within their means. We’re also excited to welcome a representative from the bank to come talk to the girls about how to use their bank and how to access their personal savings accounts. ~A bank account was opened for each girl a couple weeks ago. We’re really grateful to the probation department and the head of the institution for setting this up.

Meanwhile, at Ma Sevana the girls are learning about small business development. Our curriculum walks them through the stages of establishing a small business first using jewelry as the base, and later with a product or service that the girls design themselves. This week the girls talked about markets and decided who they wanted to sell their jewelry to. Then, with that in mind, the girls set out designing their pieces. In the weeks to come, they’ll be receiving feedback about their pieces, redesigning them, and building up their businesses with everything from advertising to pricing plans. Can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with! It’s great to see them absorbing the lessons and teaching each other.

There was also one tiny victory this week at the workshop that I forgot to mention: we introduced our very first all-sinhala document! It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but our curriculum and other documents have just started trickling in from the translator and it’s great to see the girls working their way through the curriculum without having to turn to us for translation. Every step towards independence is such a rush!

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