Having worked in marketing and PR and having run several non-profits, I am painfully aware of how organizations can shape public opinion with carefully crafted messages. However, having studied CEI, I have come to appreciate it as the real deal. Both the founder and his wife have professional degrees (psychology, nursing, etc.) and their staff and board is very professional. This organization runs in to war-torn areas when others have left and they make education a priority. Where others create orphanages, these people create leadership academies. Please do due diligence when committing resources to charity. In this particular case you will find a team of professionals who are in it for the long term.
I worked with CEI on several projects and found them to be unique for several reasons. First, they have the right credentials. Both founders (husband/wife) have educational and experience credentials. Two, they have a credible board and reasonable overhead. Three, they do things first class on a budget. Their facilities are designed by professionals who donate time. They don't make the kids feel like orphans but like future leaders. Fourth, their fundraising appeals are professional and yet they get much of the work done locally so their own students can benefit by learning a trade. I highly recommend them. Dan Johnson, Owner, Cities Unite
I was fortunate enough to have to opportunity to volunteer in Sri Lanka for CEI during the summer of 2005. During this time I organized art projects, games, tutoring programs and birthday parties as well as assisted with field trips for the students. The children who CEI serves are taken well care of and are given a wide set of skills to help them succeed as leaders in adulthood. From my firsthand experience it is evident that CEI is extremely dedicated to the children they serve, and this makes all the difference.
Having been involved with CEI over the last few years, it has been a satisfying and rewarding experience. To be part of an organization that invests in the lives of children , CEI has challenged me to be a part of something bigger than myself. I have also taken the opportunity to expose my family to the CEI projects oversees, and they have had life changing experiences as well. CEI has done so much for so many and it is a privilege to be part of this organization.
I volunteered with this organization by going to Sri Lanka after the tsunami in 2005 to help build a home for children who had been orphaned by the tsunami. It was an absolutely incredible experience to be a part of what CEI is so faithfully doing in Sri Lanka. They are changing the lives of each child with whom they come in contact in such important ways. We still sponsor a child that we met over there during that time and that has been such a sweet way to keep in touch with them and to help make a difference. I highly recommend both a trip with CEI and also sponsoring a child through them. Both are rewarding experiences that make a lasting impact and help change lives for the better.
After the 2004 Tsunami my wife and I went to Sri Lanka to assist in the recovery effort. A friend introduced us to the Salmons and their NGO and this opened a new world for us. We were, and continue to be amazed by the quality of work CEI does, the number of schools they run, the expertise of the staff and their commitment to the children, their safety and their needs. At CEI, children are protected, educated and prepared for life as thoughtful, contributing and caring adults. On one of our visits an eight year old girl told us that what is most important is at CEI " I feel safe and know I will wake up in the morning to see the sunshine". Ruth McClendon & Les Kadis
I was able to volunteer with CEI in Sri Lanka for about a month and a half in 2009, and it was truly a life changing experience. While I was there I was able to build play equipment at their orphanage operations. The organization and management of CEI was fantastic and enabled me to give the best of myself. It was obvious to me that the management truly cared about the work they were doing, and continually strive for development. Upon my return to the U.S., CEI had left such an impression on my that I held a child sponsorship drive and was able to connect 34 children in Sri Lanka with donors on a monthly basis. I have no hesitation in recommending this organization to friends and family whether it be for donations or volunteering work.
In March of 2012 I spent ten days at CEI in Sri Lanka to help the owners with carpentry-related projects at the Leadership Academy. I had never volunteered for anything like this in the past, nor had I traveled to that part of the world. What I found upon my arrival was far beyond what I imagined it might be.
CEI’s facilities were beautiful places teeming with smiling, curious children. I was struck not only by their enthusiasm and eagerness to participate, but also their desire to learn and demonstrate things they already knew. It was apparent they felt a tremendous amount of pride in the facility and programs there.
I couldn’t help but wonder where these boys and girls would be were it not for CEI. The work these wonderful people do for these kids provides an immense boost to their self esteem and confidence; creating young adults who can go out into the world with educations and skill sets that would never have been possible for them without CEI.
I hope to return to help out again and spend more time with these fantastic people.
My wife and I spent 3 weeks at CEI in Sri Lanka in January of 2012. We found the facilities and programs to be excellent. CEI is truly implementing their mandate to empower children to be self sufficient and take charge of their lives. The children are not only learning academic subjects but also essential life skills. Most of our time was spent with the children either teaching them English, computer skills or just playing games. The energy and optimistic attitude of the children was inspiring and once our 3 weeks was up we found it very hard to leave. There is no question that we will be returning in the near future!