SriLankan Cares has commenced the final phase of its Rs. 24 million project to upgrade Janadhipathi Prathamika Vidyalaya in the Hambantota District, enabling children in this school of 4,000 students to study up to the Advanced Level standard.
Phase III, which involves the construction of a separate building with five classrooms including furniture for A-level students, commenced in early January at an investment of Rs. 5.5 million.
During the last two years, SriLankan Cares invested Rs. 18.5 million to upgrade the school in Debarawewa up to the present 10th standard, a far cry from the Grade eight level that it had facilities for earlier.
The first two phases saw the construction of a 7,500 square feet building with 11 classrooms and a computer laboratory including furniture for students to study through Grades nine and 10 and sit for the O-levels. Phase II was completed in January 2010, and Phase III is expected to be completed in three months.
Janadhipathi Prathamika Vidyalaya is a school with very high academic standards, and its students regularly distinguish themselves at the Year 5 Scholarship Examination and go on to the finest schools in Colombo . However, its earlier lack of facilities forced students to leave prematurely, rather than completing their schooling there. Year 2010 was the first in which its students sat the O-level exam from this school, as a result SriLankan Cares’ project.
SriLankan Cares, the community development arm of SriLankan Airlines, raised funding for the project from various contributors.
SriLankan Cares has since its inception in 2003 focused on the education and welfare of children throughout the country. It earlier supported the expansion of Meepagama Jayanthi Maha Vidyalaya at Kalawana in the Ratnapura District after floods destroyed several other schools in the area.
In 2005 it rebuilt Al Bahriyah Maha Vidyalaya at Kalmunai in the Batticaloa District, a school of 1,500 children that had been devastated by the Tsunami of 2004.
SriLankan Airlines is itself a centre for education, training thousands of young men and women for lucrative careers in the global air transport industry. Its staff also assist schools in the Katunayake area, and the National Carrier also provides opportunities for internships for undergraduates of the Universities of Colombo, Sri Jayawardenapura, and Ruhuna.