Bringing Colour to Life during Covid-19

Driving the Creative Skills of Children and Keeping them Engaged

“Shana has been busy drawing picture after picture. Two weeks ago we sat together and she finally decided which one she would submit to the ECPAT Sri Lanka Art competition,” says her mother. “Since the competition was announced by ECPAT Sri Lanka on its Facebook page in early May, a large number of inquiries have come in. We have received over 1500 submissions” says, Mr. M. Mahuruf, Executive Director of PEaCE and ECPAT Sri Lanka. The competition was launched to help children deal with the unusual period they have been experiencing with Covid-19 completely changing and overhauling the normal lifestyles at home and school. The objective has been to help children relax and explore their creative skills during a difficult time. Interestingly, there has been a lot of enthusiasm from children and parents alike.

It has been an unexpected holiday for children around Sri Lanka. “Schools are closed and many children are stuck at home. They are confused and missing their friends at school,” says Apsara Kasthuriarachchi, Program Officer at ECPAT Sri Lanka and a  member of the team that has been working on the art competition through the curfew period.

The team has received a wide variety of colourful works of art under the timely theme ‘We will stay home safely’. Submissions have arrived from all 25 districts of Sri Lanka and from children in remote rural areas to those in urban areas. The competition was open to those below the age of 15 with a 3 tier age group breakdown of 1-5 years, 6-11 and 12 to 15 years. ECPAT Sri Lanka hopes to use the winning submissions for its own publications, to encourage and recognize the efforts of the children.

“It has been a very valuable opportunity for kids” – Anutadha Prashanthan (Parent)

“I’m happy to have had the opportunity to participate and overjoyed to win first prize in the 11-15 years age category” – Savani Buddhika

“This is a great idea. Thank you!” – Sumudu Sashikala (Parent)

It has been a tough selection with the ECPAT team working long hours processing the applications and grouping them into the different age categories. The final selection was handed over to a three-member independent panel of judges, all three of whome were senior art teachers with many years of experience in teaching art. “We looked at how they had creatively expressed themselves, connected their work with the given topic, as well as their use of colour,” said Mrs. Indika Wickramaratne, one of the judges. Another judge, Mrs. Nirmala said “the kids have done very well. It has been very difficult to choose.”

In keeping with the need of the hour, ECPAT Sri Lanka has followed clear safety guidelines in conducting the competition. Those submitting artwork were asked to submit their work either via email or Whatsapp. They were also required to attach a 30-second video to prove that the artwork was done by the child him/herself.

Congratulations to the winners of the competition!

See more information on the ECPAT Sri Lanka Facebook page:

“We would like to thank you for organizing this wonderful event during the lock down period. The idea and concept was amazing! We are sure that this event will have a positive effect on children psychologically since for more than two months they have been home without any extra-curricular activities. Once again, thank you ECPAT Sri Lanka for organizing this successful event for our younger generation.” – Evmi Senalya’s Parents

“I’m happy to have had the opportunity to participate and overjoyed to win first prize in the 11-15 years age category. I let my mind wander a little on the theme before I started drawing. The art work was done using pastel chalks and colour pencils.” – Savani Buddhika

Akarsha Keerthiraj who won first place in the 6-10 years age category

Senalya Kariyapperuma who won second place in the 1-5 years age category

Anuga Vihas Wijeratne who won second place in the 6-10 years age category.

Savani Buddhika who won first place in the 11-15 years age category

The three-member independent panel of judges evaluating the art submissions