His Lordship, Bishop Sillani was keen that the Reverend Sisters should start an Orphanage at Kotahena. By the early 1870s, there were about a hundred day scholars. Among them a few of the girls were orphans, and they used the school classrooms to sleep at night. Legend has it that a beautiful lady appeared to them one day and asked them to leave the building. A few moments after they vacated the building, it had crashed. The need for a permanent building became essential.
The foundation stone for a new orphanage was laid on the 27th March 1894, and a fine two storeyed building, capable of accommodating a hundred children was ready in January 1897. The building cost Rs. 84,000/- which was a princely sum at that time, according to records.
Among the generous donors were advocate Thomas de Sampayo (a great granduncle of Sr. Agnes de Sampayo – a former Principal of the school and a Province Leader later on), Mudaliyar Ekanayake, J.W. Mendis and N.D.P. Silva. A marble plaque on the landing bears testimony to this.
Kusum Sevana is run by a group of Good Shepherd Sisters working in the slum area of the Colombo City called Bloemendhal to uplift the lives of the poor, marginalized and vulnerable people living there.
The residents of the Bloemendhal slum area live in sub-human conditions, without proper housing, drinking water, sanitation and health care. Unemployment is very common among the youth of that area. Malnutrition is rampant among the children. Hunger and poverty keeps the children away from school, and some have never had any schooling.
Illegal activities and underworld connection, is very common here and some households are deprived of any income as their breadwinners are in prison.
The women mostly engage them selves in casual labour in the tea packing industry and garment factories in the vicinity, which often offers irregular work and paltry wages.
Many of these people are unable to earn enough for their livelihood and to sustain the family, leading to problems of early school dropouts, illiteracy, bad health conditions, drug addition and involvement in illegal social activities. The aim of the Good Shepherd Sisters is to reduce school dropout and encourage children to enter in to the main stream of education, in order that they are able to find better jobs and increase their earnings and be an asset to the society.
At present, the Good Shepherd Sisters have a center in this slum area and have established a nursery school with about 90 children, a day- crèche with around 25 children and a drop-out school with about 30 children. Women are also taught sewing and hand-work. Scouting and Guiding for the young girls and boys is also conducted here. School going children are helped with their school subjects after school hours.