100,000 SL children lack basic educational needs: ‘Light of the Future’ to raise $ 1.5 million

Text and Pictures by Steve A. Morrell

Fifty per cent Sri Lankan families living in the provinces lack the basic needs of existence. They exist in abject poverty, being able to afford only two meals a day. Most are farmers, who already face the dysfunctional effects of the past Gotabhaya Rajapaksa government’s failed fertilizer policies or are daily paid workers, if at all they could find work. This leads to malnourishment and the additional ill effects of stunting and connected health ills.

Sarvodaya Sri Lanka, together with ‘Save the Children’ fund, revealing the above at a recent forum, also disclosed that 100,000 local school children lack basic educational needs.

Stationery, such as, school books, pencils, pens, pastels, all essential requirements for school children, have to be shared by these children. Each child passes on such stationery to the next child or even three others to complete what they have to write, for example.

Concern for this situation prompted Sarvodaya and ‘Save the Children’, in collaboration with the ‘Light of the Future’ initiative, to raise $ 1.5 million to stem recurrence of this situation and ensure education is not stalled for these children.

The forum also revealed the following:

Statistics and insights from around the world show that dropping out of school not only affects children’s socio – economic development but also leads to also a deceleration of economic progress and stunted socio development of communities.

School dropping out could also lead to child labour exploitation and a decline in children’s mental health. Educational backwardness and a lack of basic knowledge among children were the results of economic downturns, such as those being experienced currently.

Chief Guest at the event Roshan Mahanama said Hemas, in partnership with Atlas, and with the support of influential sections of the corporate sector, have volunteered to assist in alleviating this situation of hopelessness.

Sarvodaya Head Dr. Vinya Ariyaratna, through the medium of a televised statement said, among other things, that nutrition, health and education were key factors in preventing school dropouts.

The panel discussion also included, among others, Gerald de Silva, Rasini Bandara, Arudaya Mohan Devadas and Dr. Udaya.

High school dropouts in Lebanon wer a result of the economic downturn in that country, it was revealed.


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