The Sambol Foundation: Protecting Women and Children in Sri Lanka
The Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation commenced funding for The Sambol Foundation in 2021.
Founded in 2018 by Devika Salomon, the Sambol Foundation emerged as a beacon of hope in addressing the pervasive issue of domestic violence in Sri Lanka. Devika, having been adopted from Sri Lanka in 1985 and raised in Switzerland, felt a deep connection to her birthplace during numerous visits. These experiences culminated in a powerful realisation, inspiring her to take tangible action against the alarming rates of physical, sexual, and psychological violence inflicted upon women and children in Sri Lanka
In response to the dire situation, Devika made a transformative decision in 2018. Leaving behind her career as a graphic designer, she, along with her husband and daughter, emigrated to Sri Lanka to establish the Sambol Foundation. This courageous move marked the inception of a journey aimed at breaking the cycle of abuse and providing sanctuary for those trapped in its clutches. During a project trip in 2022, The Lemonaid & ChariTea Foundation had the opportunity to engage with Devika and her colleague Inoka, delving into the intricacies of the their work and its profound impact on the lives of survivors.
Devika's motivation to establish shelters specifically for victims of domestic violence stemmed from the harsh realities faced by many in Sri Lanka. The legal system inadequately anchored women's and children's rights, leaving them vulnerable to the brutal aftermath of abuse. The lack of legal provisions for mothers and children to stay together in shelters during domestic violence incidents led to painful separations and a hesitancy among victims to seek help.
In response to these systemic shortcomings, the Sambol Foundation opened its first shelter in 2020, creating a safe haven where mothers and children could stay together, healing collectively from the traumas they had experienced. The foundation's commitment extended beyond immediate relief, with plans for the Sambol Safe Village project, aiming to build more houses and expand services to include workshops, learning centres, medical facilities, and ecological initiatives. Through these multifaceted efforts, Sambol seeks to empower survivors to take their first steps towards an independent and secure future, breaking free from the chains of domestic violence.