When Duminda’s father left the family, his mother and he were left to fend for themselves. The sister had already married and moved away. Unable to bear the brunt of financial pressure, his mother decided to leave the country for work, leaving Duminda in the care of his married elder sister. She loved Duminda very much, however, he was an added responsibility as she had to fend for her husband and child as well. They lived amidst harsh economic challenges. Together with her husband, she toiled day and night to keep the family going.

When Duminda was referred to LEADS he was 13 years old. He showed gradual changes in his conduct, which immensely worried his sister. He had little or no guidance from the adults in his life and was very much in a world of his own, exploring things and not listening to others. According to his sister, he was also displaying inappropriate sexual behaviour as he would attempt to watch people changing and peep to watch women bathing etc. Even the neighbours had noticed and objected to his behaviour. His sister greatly feared for his future and struggled to care for him. However, no one seemed to understand the reasons behind the child’s behaviour or what he was communicating.

It was during this period that the Compassion Child Development Centre heard of the child and offered to help both Duminda and the family by providing counselling and assistance. They immediately directed the child to LEADS.

When LEADS began work with the child and his family, it was revealed that there had been multiple factors that contributed to his behaviour. Not receiving the love, affection, and attention from his family left him with feelings of neglect, rejection and confusion. He was also growing up and he had nobody to advise and guide him. Duminda had decided that he had to look after himself. He was very much influenced by his peers and would often aspire to experiment with things they would discuss. He barely received any support from the family to overcome the situation as his sister had no time. He was now a struggling teenager.

LEADS was able to guide Duminda and provide the necessary support, ensuring that he received counselling for a period of one year. The officers advised and trained the family with the necessary knowledge in supporting the child. “I was clueless as to how I should help my brother overcome his problem,” says Duminda’s sister. “When we met the officers at LEADS, I was sure that they would help my brother.”  With continuous therapy and family support, there was a significant change in his daily routine and behaviour. This process also enabled the child to recover from the setbacks in his education and return to normalcy.

Duminda also received educational support from LEADS including books and stationery items, that enabled him to restart his education with confidence. In the meantime, LEADS also provided economic relief to the family. LEADS’ Counsellors and Child and Family Care Officers supported Duminda and guided him and his family to restoration and recovery.

*The name of the child has been changed to protect his identity.

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