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Underage girl receives second chance at education

The Meegoda chief inspector handing over stationery to Dilshani, police other officers and People's Leasing officials look on. Picture by Priyangi Jayasinghe, Godagama Group Corr.

An underage girl who had been employed at a laundry mart due to poverty, was provided with the opportunity to resume her studies due to the intervention of villagers and police in the Meegoda area, recently.

The Labour Department had taken legal action against the company that recruited her.

The said girl, 13-year-old Mahendra Thilini Dilshani in Artigala, Hanwella, said that her father had passed away, and that she had been living with mother, grandmother and four other siblings of whom she is the third. Her mother had been working as a labourer.

"I gave up on school after Grade 5," she said, "Then I joined that company on December 8, 2017. They provided me with a salary of Rs.15,000 and I was not entitled to ETF. My working hours were from 8 am to 5 pm and I mostly carried out work related to ironing and packing."

She had attended the Korathota Junior College in Kaduwela and had not attended school for four years. Her mother, S. Shanthi, said her daughter was employed with her permission.