Sri Lankan Malar (17) is Moving on From Grief

Sri Lanka’s bitter civil war deprived Malar of her father - leaving her to support her mother in any way she can. Malar doesn’t get many chances to enjoy a regular childhood - but her participation in our TeamUp programme has seen her begin to plan for a better future. She shares her story here.

Sri Lanka’s long civil war finally came to an end in 2009 - but children and young people continue to experience its effects today. Many have lost their confidence, their trust in others and any belief in a better future. And poverty has seen increasing numbers of children forced to grow up without parents or caregivers.

Malar is just one of the nation’s young people who carry a burden of grief. Yet she is beginning to develop her confidence and a sense of a better future - in part thanks to her participation in our coalition TeamUp programme.

Malar’s dreams

"I don't want my friends to feel the same pain I do - so I always stay close to them."

Watch the story of Malar

Malar has begun to interact more closely with others as a result of her participation in TeamUp. She has also begun to develop many dreams for the future.

"I watch a lot of movies about court cases in which lawyers argue,” she says. “This is a big inspiration for me. I want to study law to become a lawyer.”

War Child TeamUp in Sri Lanka

Photo: Marcel van der Steen

More about TeamUp

TeamUp - a joint programme from War Child, Save the Children and UNICEF - provides children aged six to 18 with structured sports, play and movement activities. These activities combine to support children to deal with their complicated feelings. Each activity has a specific goal related to themes such as dealing with anger, stress and interacting with others. The TeamUp programme ultimately helps to provide children like Malar with much-needed stability and emotional support.

"Children who live with the consequences of war experience a lot of stress and are depressed,” explains TeamUp Sri Lanka facilitator Robinshan. “This can lead to anger and conflict.”

“TeamUp activities help children make social contacts and deal with their anger. They make new friends and learn to solve conflicts."