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The Jaffna Peninsula

The Jaffna district continues to experience civil unrest as the 2002 Ceasefire is forsaken between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE). The Northern economies are heavily dependent on the rest of Sri Lanka for power, water, industrial products, food and agriculture products. as well as for market access within and out of the country. Constant roundup and cordon search operations has made life very difficult for the people of Jaffna. After the closure of the A9 road since August 2006, it has been very difficult to get food and other goods up to Jaffna. The people of Jaffna must depend on the ship that brings in goods and usually it is food and medicine. The education in Jaffna has suffered due to lack of facilities, books and other equipment needed for a school. Apart from this livelihoods have been affected due to mined land and restriction on fishing, people have very little to do. As a result people have become poor and the challenge of day to day living has put education as a lesser priority. However the people from Jaffna do emphasise on their children being educated and parents try their best to send their children to school. However this is not always possible.

The Project

The projectís focus is to send children back to school or prevent them from dropping out due to economic reasons. The project provides scholarships by way of books, stationery, school bags, uniforms, shoes, transport costs and food. Children are selected through a carefully planned selection process involving the Principals, Government officials and social workers in the area. US $20 per month will be allocated to each child. The money is spent on purchasing books, stationery, uniforms, shoes, food, etc. Parents are also provided with a Savings Book in the name of the child and Rs. 22/$2 US is put aside each month in the account. Currently the OSLF Foundation supports 20 children with these school necessities giving them an opportunity for a brighter future.

The project was implemented by HUDEC-CARITAS Jaffna and the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in corporation with OneSrilanka Foundation and monitored by the Rotary Club of Colombo North.

Target Group

School children in the Jaffna District between the ages of 6 to 12.

Criteria for Selection

  • Loss of one parent
  • More children in the family (more members in the family)
  • Age Group between 6-12 years
  • Poorest families

-         Below the poverty line

-         No income earners in the family other than the deceased

-         Monthly earning less than US$ 20

Problem Analysis and Main Concerns

Education in Sri Lanka is viewed as a basic right and the government from as early as 1943, adopted policies to encourage schooling amongst children. Schooling for 5-14 age groups  was made mandatory by Parliament in 1997. The conflict has heavily impacted children of Jaffna and all aspects of the education system are damaged. Problems such as non-enrolment, drop-outs, absenteeism and poor learning and teaching is widespread. In many of the schools classrooms have been either destroyed or damaged and they lack furniture, libraries and other basic facilities.

The idea of supporting children between 6 and 12 is to see that children are enrolled when they are 6 years and continue to finish their primary education as a minimum.

Project Objectives

  • To ensure that children who receive the scholarship do not drop out from school due to economic reasons.
  • To encourage mothers to keep the children in school
  • Prevent recruitment of children for armed combat
  • Provide basic education to children who cannot afford one.
  • Encourage savings

Challenges

  • Extreme poverty is still the main reason for non-participation of children at the primary stage.
  • Literacy of parents who do not value the merits of education
  • Lack of quality of the education system in catering to the present social and economic needs
  • The continuing conflict and fear of movement
  • The fear of child recruitment
  • The ever changing political and military situation

Monitoring and Evaluation

Onesrilanka Foundation works in cooperation with the Rotary club of Colombo North, HUDEC- CARITAS Jaffna and the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation who will be responsible for keeping accounts, reporting and monitoring.

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