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Children unite across the nation to appeal to parliament on Children’s Day

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  • = Children are urging all 225 Members of Parliament to include child protection at the heart of their political agendas

  • = The child protection crisis is deepening in Sri Lanka, with an unprecedented rise in child murders; from July

Stop Child Cruelty Trust (SCC) together with Child Protection Alliance (CPA) will recommence the ‘Lama Surakum Yathra’ (Child Protection Tour) in celebration of Children’s Day to spread love to the people and children of the Northern Province. The intensive public awareness campaign will begin in Colombo Fort and will reach Jaffna on 1st October, Kandy on 15th October, Batticaloa on 29th October and Anuradhapura on 12th November.

The grand finale of Yathra is scheduled, for the 18th November 2022, with a walk in support of #NOguti and Sri Lanka’s first Children’s Convention on 18th November to celebrate Universal Children’s Day at the Open Air Theatre at Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo.

Speaking about the initiative, the Founder Chairperson of SCC, Dr Tush Wickramanayaka, said, “Although many protested on the streets insisting upon a better country for our children, they were silent about raising better, unwounded children for our country. Yathra is a journey of love to protect and promote children’s rights. In every key city, there will be a day of activities for children, focused on empowering them as rights holders and equal citizens, distributing essential educational material and sanitary pads for children with economic hardships and feeding the hungry via a community kitchen.”

The #NOhit zone school program launched in February 2022 was interrupted by the Aragalaya. “The violent oppression perpetrated by the Authorities is a poignant reminder that ending corporal punishment against children is a pressing need towards the dawn of a new era without violence and establish the just and peaceful country we envisage. We hope to introduce a beacon school in every province we visit on Yathra that promotes Happier and Safer Education”, expressed Dr Wickramanayaka. “A study on school disciplinary methods conducted by National Child Protection Authority in 2017 revealed that 80% of students reported having experienced corporal punishment in the past term. Cases of cruelty reported to NCPA have tripled in the past decade. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka passed a historic verdict in February 2021 banning corporal punishment of children unequivocally, and it is critically urgent that the Government of Sri Lanka implements these directives to protect our children”, said Pof Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Former Commissioner of Human Rights Commission of SL and former Dean Law and Professor, University of Technology Jamaica.

Saranga Disasekara, Actor and Child Protection Ambassador said, “Our schools are supposed to be a safe space where children and educators can adopt pro-social behaviours that can prevent iolence within the school and in the community. However, if teachers and primary education providers are not aware of alternative punishment methods, the problem will remain and generation upon generation will be conditioned to normalize this heinous crime. I am happy to be part of the SCC’s #NOguti campaign that aims to change this behaviour.” Retd Senior DIG Priyantha Jayakody, speaking on the police’s reaction to child abuse said, “Most of the police officers are not concerned about the privacy of either victim or suspect. It is the responsibility of the police and the media to ensure that the correct approach is used when it comes to the basic rights of citizens irrespective of their involvement, specially to ensure that a child’s rights are always safeguarded. Therefore, I believe it is essential that long-term programs are created and implemented where we educate both the police and media on a strong code of ethics in this area.”

Niranjani Shanmugarajah, Actor and Child Protection Ambassador, speaking at the event said, “A child without love and support will never grow up with the attitude of caring for others or giving love to others. Let’s give love and nurture, let’s change the child’s world with love.”

The indefatigable efforts of SCC in ending violence against children have paved the path at the forthcoming UNHRC sessions to represent 5.2 million children in Geneva as the only Civil Society Organization committed to child rights. Child Protection is a collective social responsibility and SCC will continue its collaborative efforts to raise public awareness, training and advocacy. Those interested in getting involved in the cause can visit the website at www.stopchildcruelty.com and the Facebook page at ww.facebook.com/stopchildcruelty or email info@stopchildcruelty.com.



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HSBC appoints new Country Head of Wholesale Banking for Sri Lanka and Maldives

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HSBC Sri Lanka has appointed Kevin Green as the new Country Head of Wholesale Banking for Sri Lanka and Maldives with effect from 1 November 2022.Kevin has been with the HSBC Group for over 24 years and has held several senior positions in commercial banking, retail banking and risk management.

Prior to taking on his new role, Kevin was the Country Head of Wholesale Banking in HSBC Bangladesh, and prior to that he was the Chief Risk Officer for HSBC Vietnam.Kevin will lead the bank’s Wholesale Banking business in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, supporting corporate banking clients. He will lead a dynamic team of professionals to provide tailored solutions and services to customers and ensure the continued growth of the business.

Kevin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Warwick and a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Services from the University of Manchester. He is also an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

Commenting on the appointment, Mark Surgenor, Chief Executive Officer for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives, said “As the leading international bank in Sri Lanka and with a presence in 63 markets globally, we want to open up a world of opportunity for our internationally minded clients. Therefore, I am pleased to bring in an experienced leader like Kevin to lead our Wholesale Banking operations in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. This is further evidence of our commitment to invest in the country and to support our clients. I am confident that Kevin’s extensive experience with HSBC Group will be an advantage to both our clients and colleagues, and further support the banks efforts towards economic growth of the country.”

HSBC, as the leading international bank has enjoyed a longstanding presence in Sri Lanka having completed 130 years of operations this year. The bank will continue to support Sri Lankan clients to connect globally and will continue to play a key role in supporting local businesses looking to expand across international markets by leveraging its global footprint and expertise in international trade, global payment services, sustainable finance and other financial services, whilst supporting its people and communities.

HSBC was recognised with the Sri Lanka International Initiative of the Year, won by Wholesale Banking for the dynamism, uniqueness, effectiveness & impact in green financing, for its first corporate ‘Green Loan’ for USD 6.3mn to Eco Spindles that was awarded by Asian Banking & Finance, this year. The bank was also named Best International Bank in Sri Lanka by Asiamoney, International Retail Bank of the Year by Asian Banking and Finance and Best Consumer Digital Bank in Sri Lanka by Global Finance for 2022.

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Sri Lanka Red Cross Society launches ‘Elixir’ to match donation in aid of medical requirements

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The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society launched Sri Lanka’s first-ever medical-supply-to-donation matching platform on October 19, 2022, called the Elixir Platform. The initiative is a volunteer-run, private-public-private partnership under the aegis of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, and allows hospitals and treatment centres from across Sri Lanka to register their requirements for lifesaving medicines and medical supplies that may be in short supply, due to the country’s ongoing economic and foreign exchange crises. ‘Elixir’ also provides a single streamlined interface for donors who would like to support Sri Lanka at this time. By having all requirements and donations coming in via a unified and seamless platform, ‘Elixir’ can then match requirements and donations for efficient use of funds and time, while also reducing the total turnaround time for assistance and increasing transparency.

Designed and operated by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, together with its global network of volunteers and professionals, and in partnership with the Sri Lanka Medical Supplies Division of the Ministry of Health, the Elixir Platform is a huge collaborative undertaking to help Sri Lanka overcome the shortage of lifesaving medicines due to the present economic crisis.

Discussing the initiative, Dr Mahesh Gunasekara, Director General of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society said, “First, we must express our sincere gratitude to all the donors, including individuals, corporations and governments, who have come to Sri Lanka’s aid at this time of need. With a large number of donations, we found that it was becoming challenging to track and fulfil medical needs across the system and prioritize based on urgency. Other challenges including oversupply due to duplicative efforts, high costs due to not utilizing economies of scale, internal competition for donations and other issues have arisen, along with a lack of transparency. Thus, ‘Elixir’ is our answer to these problems, and will facilitate transparency and accountability throughout the entire supply chain for the benefit of all stakeholders. On behalf of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society, I take this opportunity to thank all volunteers and partners in this endeavour. Elixir is truly a landmark achievement and we look forward to supporting Sri Lanka as it overcomes its present challenges.”

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Seylan World Mastercard cardholder offers

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Marking its most recent effort to reward its loyal customers, Seylan Cards recently announced the launch of an exclusive promotion for the benefit of all Seylan World Mastercard cardholders.

One lucky Seylan World Mastercard cardholder will receive an Omega timepiece worth over Rs. 2 million at the end of the promotion period. Founded in 1848, Omega is a Swiss watch brand synonymous with excellence, innovation and precision. Given that the brand’s history has been dedicated to a quest for perfection, such a prize is expected to appeal to the elite Seylan World Mastercard cardholders. In order to stand a chance to win, cardholders must spend a cumulative total of Rs. 1 million during the promotion period until the 15th of December 2022.

As the festive season approaches, Seylan Cards has aptly timed this promotion in an effort to reward cardholders as they complete their Christmas shopping lists. Since both local and international spends are valid for the draw, cardholders travelling overseas could purchase their air tickets and shop overseas to benefit from current exchange rates.

Cardholders are also encouraged to utilise their Seylan World Mastercard card for high value spends on items such as jewellery or even solar power installations to reach the Rs. 1 million threshold to enter the draw.

As Seylan World Mastercard cards are limited to an exclusive number of members, the chances of winning the luxury timepiece are much higher, and is a unique opportunity that should not be missed.As the essential card for essential needs, several merchants offer Seylan Cardholders special discounts and easy payment facilities with 0% interest. Anyone interested in obtaining a Seylan Card is encouraged to call the hotline on 011 2008 888.

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