Weʼre raising £15,000 to Support a school of 105 children in rural Sri Lanka meet their basics needs
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Hi, I am Nithashi Abubaid. I am originally Sri Lankan, and I came from a poverty stricken district called Hambantota, which came in to highlight after the 2004 Tsunami, where myself included, lost our homes, family and friends- in essence, a large part of our history. Of course we bounced back- 14 years later, a lot has changed.
I was lucky- my family was economically mobile, and this was plainly because of education. To put things in perspective, my grandfather was one of many children of a sea faring fisherman, who's family was extremely poverty stricken- but my grandfather changed my story by educating himself as a solicitor- which is essentially one of the reasons that today, I am where I am, doing what I do.
He believed very much in education, and he founded a school in Hambantota named after himself, where we as a family support both financially and in other ways. I had the opportunity of having a chat with the school recently, and what I heard was very sad. This is what they emailed me:
'We are a school which has 105 students with classes up to grade 11. Our school is situated in a remote area in Lunugamvehera division where the most of the laymen are farmers & laborers who struggle very hard to earn the day to day expenses who haven't got basic education. Majority of the students' average mark is around 30 or less than that. This is due to their special learning needs, lack of motivation and low attendance. Pupils tend to get absent harvesting and ploughing season to help their families. So the students have many learning difficulties which requires various types of teaching and learning methodologies. They have problems in memorizing and grasping concepts. Though we instructed some parents to consult a professional, their poverty doesn't allow it. As their whole lifestyle evolves in that particular geographical area, they don’t have strong interest in education & the school has started to do many remedial work such as counselling, motivational and support classes to change their perception.
The school plays a major role in the community. The school dropouts have become a serious issue in the society with the addiction to narcotics. It is one of the major goal is to get all the students to complete school education and so they can get better jobs. The staff & I fight a great battle where the education is concern to educate these innocent & poor children who possess great potential to change their living condition & life style to the betterment in future. So as the management we try to make the premises look attractive and an interesting place for the pupils.
We are currently short of both human & physical resources to achieve our target. Further the weak economic background of the parents, the lack of attention by authorities & the shortage of the teachers makes it a really hard task to meet the needs of community in uplifting the standard of the pupils.
The school has following needs of human and physical resources.
1. Though there should be 16 teachers according to the circular, we have only 10 teachers working. Therefore we had to seek the help of 3 volunteer teachers to fulfill the needed staff. One volunteer had been teaching since 2008. With the high cost of living, they find it economical and wise to find real jobs outside. But without their help the school can’t manage the teaching- learning process. At the moment they demand 10000/= (£47.50)per month and the school can pay only 6000 (£28.50)per teacher. We had been informing the government officials regarding this sad situation but due to less number of Tamil medium teachers in the area, they have failed to give a solution. The school have been facing the crisis over 15 years. The school has following vacancies,
1 grade principal
3 primary teachers
1 art teacher
1 physical education teacher
2. A Daylight multimedia projector & a laptop computer –
Due to the low performance of the students the school has started special support classes and workshops to empower learning including counselling, motivation and other awareness programmes. If we have a multimedia projector & a laptop it can be used to cater audio- visual learner needs in the classroom under all the subjects and also to make our special workshops and seminars successful. Since these students are very interest in these types of technology, such multimedia lessons will surely motivate not only the students but also the parents to send their children to school daily. Having a multimedia projector has many direct and indirect advantages as mentioned above.
3. A pull down screen and a movable screen
4. Window grills, book shelves & curtains for the library
At the moment the library windows doesn’t have grills & the security is doubtful. So we can’t leave anything in the room except heavy furniture.
5. Reading materials for the library
6. Window grills, curtains & furniture for the science lab
7. A library assistant, lab assistant
8. A building of 20*100 for class rooms
9. football goal post
10. netball ring posts
11. 7 ceiling fans
12. An Activity room for English
13. A Mathematics room
14. An Art room
15. A sport room
16. A home science room
17. Repairing the fence of the school playground
18. Sports equipment for football, netball, volleyball, cricket, badminton & other track & field events.
19. Colour washing the school'
Of course it is a very long list- but to put things in perspective, you will see that most things in Sri Lanka are very cheap compared to the UK, so a lot can be achieved with a couple if thousand pounds. What ever comes out of this- I intend on helping them- their only request to me was a used laptop they can use- but, I have a 5 year old that currently is in school, and the stuff they seem to consider as luxury (in the sense they don't have access to these), are actually such basic stuff that we take for granted.
In an era where people can move mountains together, I wonder if there is anything we can do together- to support lesser advantaged people- children- our next generation.
I think 15,000£ will lift them up very comfortably and help support them reach their aim. This need not break our banks either. If just 1,000 people donated £15 each - we could get to our goal in no time.
Please could you find it in your heart to support?
Thank you very much
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