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CSR Initiative

Business helps to develop Halpola School

February 10 was a Red Letter Day for the Daily News Business Desk and the Halpola Vidayalaya, Pundaluoya.


The staff of the Halpola Vidyalaya Pundoluoya, other invitees and Daily News Business desk staff are being conducted to the venue

For the Daily News Business Desk it was history in the making as this CSR initiative was the first time a small team from a business section of any newspaper launched a project of this magnitude.

For the students of Halpola Vidyalaya, it was the first time that some of them saw a computer or took a telephone call as most its students are underprivileged.


The medical officer invited by the Business Desk examining a patient at the medical camp

It was also moving to hear that some students wore their grandmother's or mother's rubber slippers to come to school to be more presentable to the 'Kolamba Nona Mahaththuru.'

The CDN Business CSR initiative also included a health camp conducted by a former Air Force Doctor, Dr. Jagath Renuka Piyadasa, who had come to Sri Lanka for a holiday from Oman where he is working.

The Camp was exclusively planned for the students and teachers. However, the doctor had to extend it by a further four hours as almost all the people of the village wanted to be examined by the 'Doctor from Colombo.'

The 'Daily News Business Desk' was moved, seeing the needs and wants of these children as we always see how much is spent on the leisure of students in Colombo and suburbs and the wanton waste incurred by them.


Teacher in charge of the information technology, Dhamiika Ulpathegedara, out lining the basic operation of a computer

The Daily News Business Desk staffers were met at the entrance to the school by an oriental band borrowed from another school nearby, and escorted to the school by the Principal R. B. Madakumbura, staff members, students and their parents.


Pharmacists busy issuing medicine for the eagerly waiting patients

After the flag hoisting ceremony at which the National Flag was raised by the Business Editor, Daily News, Shirajiv Sirimane, the School Flag by the Principal and the Buddhist Flag by the representative of Dialog CDMA Tharanga Kularatne, the newly equipped computer laboratory was opened.

The Principal of the school said, "Today is a historic day for the Halpola Vidyalaya as these persons who are able to spend their weekend holidays partying at some hotel have come to provide assistance to the school. Being located in a very remote and difficult location, schools such as Halpola Vidyalaya have escaped the attention of the authorities and philanthropists alike."


Senior Associate Editor Sunday Observer Pramod De Silva inaugurating the activities

The Principal praised the Daily News Business Desk, Lake House and the sponsors for helping the school lavishly. Zonal Director Planning and Information Technology Priyantha Karunarathne, a former principal of the school K, Rajapaksha and Accounts and Administration Assistant of Lanka/Guyapi Lanka M. B. Karunasinghe addressed the students, parents and the staff. Major Ramanie Kangaraarachchi spoke on behalf of the Daily News Business Desk.

L. David Silva spoke on behalf of the parents, Chandana Sri Mahapatuna on behalf of the staff. One parent in tears (of sorrow or happiness) said that a new sun has risen over Halpola Vidyalaya on this day. "Now our children are assured of getting a good education, and their future, unlike ours, will be more prosperous and secure," he said. Talking to the teachers, we found that over two-thirds of the students had not even seen a computer in their lives. "I had to show them the picture of a computer to give an idea of what they are learning about. But, thanks to the bounty of your sponsors and you, they are able to see and touch an actual computer," she said.


Business Editor, Shirajiv Sirimane cutting the ribbon opening the new computer lab

The main sponsors of the project were Virtusa Corporation with the computers, Dialog CDMA and internet connection, Unilever Limited with a gift pack each for students, CIC Agri Business with paint to colourwash the school, Hemas Pharmaceuticals comprehensive medicine for the health camp and Jetwing Hotels to provide accomodation for the VIPs.


Dialog Telekom representative, Tharanga Kularatne, presenting the CDMA phone to the Principal for the use of the school

Sala Enterprises provided the software and the other technical know-how, Kelani Cables Limited, Bank of Ceylon, Hatton National Bank and Ceylon Pencil Company presented gifts to the teachers and students, Chairman CeyNor, Rohan Jayasinghe, and General Manager, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Thai Airways, Weerawat Swasdibutra provided computer tables.

Eco Lanka Holiday Villa, an associate company of Guyapi Lanka provided accommodation for the Daily News Business Desk.

The Daily News Business Desk also records with gratitude the contribution made by a well-wisher.

 


Appeal to help underprivileged school

Halpola Vidyalaya, Pundalioya, an underprivileged school in Nawalapitiya with 147 students, does not have a band or sports equipment.


A student, Maureen Trilicia addressing the audience

The talented boys and girls, most of whom are future Susanthikas or Sugath Tilakaratnes are biding their time till some one unearths their potential. There are qualified physical training instructors who wish to assist this school.

However, there is no playground and most importantly no sports equipment to surge ahead. When the Daily News Business Desk visited the school to provide computers and other school equipment as part of their CSR initiative on Saturday, they had to seek the assistance of a school nearby to escort the visitors to the school. During the presentation ceremony, a student of Halpola Vidyalaya Maureen Rajapaksha made a very moving request, calling upon the business community to provide them with equipment for a school band and sports gear.

Taking a cue from the request the Daily News Business now turn to the corporate community to assist this school as done by other well-wishers. The equipment for the band will cost around Rs.60 000 while the netball and volleyball equipment and a high jump cross bar would also cost a further Rs. 30, 000. The school will build a high jump pit. We appeal to the corporate sector to assist in this worthy endeavour. Please mail your ideas to [email protected].

 

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