SMILE Carnival happens for the 10th Consecutive Year
Once upon a time, four young brothers decided that they wanted to give something back to society. Using their spare time after school and getting together with friends and family they planned and executed a day out for 40 underprivileged children. That was 2009, and the birth of SMILE Sri Lanka.
This year the SMILE Carnival for Underprivileged Children will be held for the 10th consecutive year. The carnival has grown steadily from 250 the first year (2010) to 2,500+ kids last year. The children come from care homes spread across the island, street children’s programmes and those from dire economic situations in the vicinity of Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia and beyond.
Apart from fun, games and activities, each child also receives a gift from Santa Claus that includes note books and stationary required for the next school year. Ice-cream, popcorn, candy floss and tons of other goodies await them as well. They also have the opportunity to meet celebrities like Dilantha Malagamuwa, Yureni Noshika, Bhathiya and Santhush to name a few who have given of their time to make the carnival experience for the kids an even better one.
“At a very young age our parents made it a point to teach us lessons about appreciating the life that we had and giving back to society whenever we can. We watched as they did their part for the world and it was so easy for us to follow suite. The very first time when we took 40 kids to the zoo the experience just changed us so much that we knew we could not stop there. So the next year with the help of family we decided to do the first SMILE Carnival. The following year friends joined in and today, 10 years later it’s just crazy to see just how much support we get from volunteers and our sponsors”, the Jayasuriya brothers behind SMILE Sri Lanka said.
The entire SMILE Carnival and the packing operation of 3,000+ gifts is undertaken by a volunteer force of more than 250 who return year on year, some even from overseas. Some of the volunteers have even been a part of the experience from the inception.
Founded in 2009, Smile Foundation – Ceylon was initially known as ‘Smile Sri Lanka’ and was started by the current president, Vivek Jayasuriya. It began to give children a brighter future by means of providing kids with education, leisure events and financial support. This year’s carnival will be held on Saturday 14th December 2019 at 2:00pm at Mount Park.