This project was inaugurated in 1986 by Fr.Titus H. Rodrigo O.S.B., a Catholic priest, with the vision of helping needy children obtain and/or continue their education. As a newly ordained priest he was assigned to a very remote area as associate pastor. There he saw the needy children and their struggle to continue their education without having much help from the parents who had to struggle hard around the clock just to place food on the family table, many of these parents never having had an opportunity to earn an education for themselves.
Sadasarana Children’s Handicrafts is one of the projects which served to fund this program and also to teach children to produce things out of waste materials. Students are taught to use scrap wood and other materials that could be found in their own environment and recycle them into reuseable items, and, in the process, contribute to protecting nature. With the help of a few who were interested, who were students themselves, this project was started.
We began as little gift shop on St. Anthony’s church premises to sell our products, together with other materials for school, to the children for little more than cost. Hyacinth Fernando who worked in this little gift shop in the evenings, was a school girl then. She also learned the wood craft quite well and later became a public school teacher as she was one of the first to receive our help.
This project helps children to learn a craft and, at the same time, earn some money for their own expenses. During the last two decades it has aided many children to continue their education, and also to identify and improve their talents.
Fr. Titus came to the United States of America (USA), in July 2000, for five years. During this time he worked for the Diocese of Fresno and was able to continue his education, earning a Masters Degree at Cal-State University Bakersfield. It was during this time he was presented the opportunity to develop this project furter. With assistance from Leticia Jimenez of Bakersfield, he received his first scroll saw and sander to work in his free time. He later extended his work to the students of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, in Bakersfield, where he was able to give an orientation about his type of wood work which was very well received.
Fr. Titus is also thankful to Joann Leon and Melissa Gaeta and many others who helped with his fundraising efforts. Time to time we had our wood craft sales, and with donations, we had the opportunity to help the children of Sri Lanka further their education and proceed with various projects at home which worked to develop and preserve God-given nature.
When Fr. Titus moved to St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in July, 2003, to serve as parochial vicar, Begonia DeLeon a parishioner volunteered to establish his project as a non-profitable organization in the USA. Thanks to her tireless work, along with the cooperation from various people in the parish and elseshere, we have taken long strides on the path of improvement in the service for God in the children.
With the courtesy of Msgr. Ronald Swett, pastor at St. Philip Church, we are able to use the facility for our office. Ron and Julie Black are hosting the web for us. For this and all God has blessed us with, we and the people of Sri Lanka are very thankful.