Ambala Junior School receives water after eight decades

Saturday, 8 May 2021 00:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Raising the flags

AAT President Russel Fonseka lighting the oil lamp 



“Water” is one of the most important substances on earth. All plants and animals must have water to survive. If there was no water, there would be no life on earth. Water is an important resource in the daily life of the people even though, Ambala Junior School which provides education to around 230 students from grade one to ordinary level situated in the hill country of the Teldeniya Education Division in Medamahanuwara did not have the basic need of water for the last eight decades.  

Ambala Junior School is located in a beautiful surrounding through the hill and around 600 m above sea level, overlooking the Victoria Dam, which crosses the Mahaweli River. The school did not have a permanent water supply from the inception. The former principals who worked there, as well as the surrounding villagers, has helped students and teachers by supplying water to the school on their expense as there was no permanent solution for drinking water. 

There had been times the school children went home without informing the teachers in order to attend to their sanitary needs etc. The lack of availability in water was a burning issue for the students, teachers and for the parents throughout.  

The Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka (AAT Sri Lanka) got to know the issue of unavailability of water at Ambala Junior School through Facebook and took the initiative to prove a permanent solution for this unfair situation the school was facing. AAT Sri Lanka immediately decided extend the hands of humanity and worked on this project under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) to implement a permanent solution. 

This was the best news for the school as well as for the students and teachers as they were seeking for a permanent solution through all official authorities which was not successful until AAT Sri Lanka visited the school and started on the project.  

The school was purchasing water through bowsers time to tie in order to full fill their basic needs which was not a feasible option for this school and the students was bringing water from home for their own consumption which was not practical when it was a daily routine. The former principle had been bringing two barrels of water in her three-wheeler for the other requirements of the school and some parents filled the tank when it’s possible so that the children could use for their daily usage.  However, none of these solutions were permanent and the efforts which were made to provide piped water to the school was delayed due to the financial difficulties the school had and also there was no proper source found to supply sufficient amount of water for a school of 230 students.   Present Principal Navaratne Banda, along with the principals who was appointed had tried to get the water supply by writing to the divisional education department which was never successful. However, late last year, the AAT Sri Lanka agreed to provide a permanent supply of water to the school under the CSR initiatives. 

Also, most importantly the priest of the Ambala Muslim mosque provided an excellent solution to provide a water source as they have found a large spring in their church premises which located about 500 m away from the school.  Despite the efforts of various individuals who try to create chaos between different religious groups, a Muslim Mosque volunteering to provide water to a school with a majority of Sinhala Buddhist children was reflecting inter-ethnic harmony and was heart touching which was motivating AAT Sri Lanka to go on with this project.  However, the responsibility of supplying water from the mosque to a tank mounted to a new concrete stand to keep the 500 litter water tank and then to lay pipes from the mosque to the school premises and distribute them to the wash basins and the washrooms of the school was under taken by AAT Sri Lanka. 

Within one-and-a-half months, AAT Sri Lanka was able to complete the entire project with the help of the villagers and the Muslim Mosque and this project had given the students of Ambala Junior School a new beginning and new hope. 

AAT Sri Lanka Vice President Sunil Wanigabadu and Chief Executive Officer Tishanga Kumarasinghe officially launched the new drinking water system at Ambala Junior School. The principals of the surrounding schools, the zonal director of the education department as well as many distinguished guests of the area attended this event, and it was indeed an unforgettable day for the students, parents and the teachers. 

As we speak, there is a permanent water supply for the entire school and no student has to go home for their needs again. Adequate amount of water is now flowing down the pipes from the mosque to the school leaving us all message of been there for each other irrelevant of which religion or culture we come from.   

A rural school in the hills is now in joy as they have found the solution for a problem that they have suffered for generations. There are many more schools in Sri Lanka that we may expect the least that must be lacking in such basic human needs and it is inspiring to see every institution to lend a helping hand to make our country a better place.