A new school brought hope to the village
The children used to stay at home since education was not a priority. Today they can introduce themselves in English, they are self-confident and able to converse.
The children live in Kirimatiya watte in the Kandy district of Sri Lanka. There is only one lane access, full of pot holes. It is obvious no politician had been this way for years, if that was the case, the holes would have been filled.
Education has not been a priority
There are many challenges in the area such as domestic violence and child abuse. Since education has not been a priority in the area, there was no school and children were sent to Colombo to work as domestic servants or to take after their parents and pluck tea. Diakonia’s partner organization Women’s Development Centre (WDC) has started a child rights’ awareness program and after discussions with the community developed a child focused community development initiative. The initiative includes awareness raising on child rights, health and nutrition, education, and development of their surroundings.
There is new energy in the village
So far WDC has facilitated regular visits by the midwife and a nurse, protected health information has become a reality. Health of the children including their weight is documented. As children are the focus, WDC is also planning to build a Montessori school. WDC continues to facilitate the transport of nurses, midwifes and other government officials due to the difficulty in road access to this village.
The activities have created a new energy among the families and a hope that things can improve. For instance, the community has come together to cement the pathway to improve mobility within the estate and access to the Hindu Kovil.
WDC supports the primary school
Until the Montessori school is built, the community hall has been allocated for school activities. Currently 10 children attend, more are due to join in the coming year. When asked about their favourite subject they eagerly shouted all at once that the drawing class and the play time were top on the list, but one shy little boy told that he like mathematics. Three children from this class have submitted their applications to the school further up so that they may continue into primary education. WDC supports the primary school as well, through awareness and providing facilities that encourage a safe learning space for these children. They are, after all, the future.