Sri Lanka: East Coast Community Project
COMMUNITY EDUCATION PROJECT
We have often recently heard our politicians projecting the future prospects of the United Kingdom in the term ‘Education, Education, Education’. However, in India and Sri Lanka this has been understood by every family for some time. Those who can go to school are given every assistance to do well by Mum and Dad, and those who cannot, and who have to contribute to the family income, crave an opportunity to attend and learn.
In the very poor village of Mankerny, which has been in the front line of the civil war in Sri Lanka and has seen its families broken up and houses destroyed, the first signs of recovery are bursting through the surface of everybody’s new found enthusiasm. Many children are back in school and eager to learn. Amazingly, after school, the children want to learn more. To facilitate this we were approached by two delightful girls who cannot find work in the area. They wish Star Action to pay a small salary to them (£10 a week) to teach subjects to those who wish to learn more or have clarification of something from their school lessons. Sneeha (19) and Kowsika (18) have no teaching qualification, but have secured use of the small village hall, borrowed a few old desks and chairs and found someone to pay for a white board and pens. Their enthusiasm gripped us, especially when they mentioned that they already had 70 hopefuls from all age groups and some text books.
We suggested they divided the applicants into age/school class groups for ease of teaching. So we have sent some money for their meagre salary, exercise books and pens for a trial period. I cannot envisage a similar scene in a village in England, and am intrigued to monitor their progress.
This project has the blessing of the Government Agent who has the responsibility for restoring and re-developing the community, and is another excellent recommendation from Lal, our community-conscious Star Action man in Eastern Sri Lanka
HIGHER EDUCATION SPONSORSHIP
In the coastal area in which we are currently working in Sri Lanka, between Batticaloa and Trincomalee, almost every family lost at least one relative in the tsunami tragedy. Thavaranjitham lost her husband and her two daughters lost their father. Their home was inundated and partially flattened
Losingi is now 17 years old and Govarthana 15 years. They have both excelled in the local school, but there is no facility to continue in education unless they board in a school hostel and attend college 20 miles away in Vallacheni. Until we are able to find an interested sponsor, Star Action is paying for Govarthana to take 10 subjects at ‘O’ level in December and for Losingi to study ‘A’ level in Tamil, Hindu Culture and Political Science. The financial burden was too much for mother to provide (£30 per month – £15 for school fees and £15 for accommodation and food). Mother, however, will find the money for school uniforms, books and extras.