Written by World Vision Sri Lanka; Edited by Kaija Hutteri and Katie Hackett
Alcohol abuse is common in the community of Bogawanthalawa. Parents work hard in the tea fields each day, but a large portion of their income often goes to fuel their addiction rather than meet the needs of their children. This was once the case for Dineshkumar, a father of three.
“I used to waste my time drinking alcohol with my friends,” he says. “I cared for nothing other than my own happiness. I did not have any future plans for myself or my family.”
His wife, Parameshwary, says that she and the children lived in fear because her husband’s behaviour was unpredictable when he came home drunk. For many years, he spent the majority of the family’s income on alcohol.
Unfortunately, many families living in Bogawanthalawa find themselves in similar situations. The generous contributions of Canadians who sponsor a child from the community make it possible for us to offer workshops that empower men to be better husbands and fathers.
Dineshkumar is happy that he learned how to be a better husband and father to his wife and children. Photo: World Vision
Attending these workshops had a lifechanging impact on Dineshkumar and his family. Alongside other men, he learned that fathers have a vital role to play in their children’s lives. He learned about gender equality, family dynamics, the negative impact of alcohol abuse and his responsibility to protect his children from harm.
“It was like a spark in our lives,” says Dineshkumar, referring to the impact of the workshops on men in his village. “I was so moved by everything I learned through the discussions and activities.”
This young father has since stepped up to the plate, assuming responsibility for his family and changing their lives for the better. He limits his alcohol consumption and spends more time with his wife and children instead of drinking with his friends. He helps Parameshwary with household tasks, assists his children with their homework and walks them to school. The family also began celebrating the children’s birthdays.
“I have become a good father and a good husband now,” says Dineshkumar confidently. “All I needed was someone to guide me. I am proud that my story will be shared with men in other villages. My life has become a testimony.”