A Story of Hope and Peace: Sandeepa and Zioni

I love watching Sandeepa and Zioni, laughing and smiling as they play with the other children at City of Hope. No matter the situation, or how bad my jokes are, they are consistently the first ones to laugh and the loudest at doing so. In my recent visit to City of Hope, I learned about their back story. For me, hearing about their experiences gave me hope for the many other children here. Sandeepa and Zioni exhibit such joy, and peace, despite where they came from.

Sandeepa and Zioni lived on the streets for a significant part of their lives. Sandeepa was on the streets until he was 9 years old, and Zioni was 4. Their father abandoned them, and their mother was extremely poor and was unable to care for them. As a result, these siblings took care of each other, searching for food to steal in order to survive. One day, the local police saw the two children in extreme hunger and decided to intervene by taking them to the social service branch of the Sri Lankan government. On the way, they wanted to feed the kids, so they stopped by the market to pick them up something to eat. They would later tell the directors of City of Hope that when the children saw the fish, they were so hungry that they began to eat it raw. 

These siblings have been at City of Hope Children’s Home for four years now. They were given access to much needed medical care and nutritious food. They were immediately enrolled in school, and now are thriving in all aspects of life. They realize they must work hard, and take every advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. They are both excelling in school, and for the first time in their lives, they can hope and dream about the future, believing that these dreams can become a reality one day. Please continue to keep Sandeepa and Zioni in your prayers.

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Story by Coleman Bailey