International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
Do you know that the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous
People is observed on August 9.
Indigenous people are referred to the Wanniyal Atto or Veddahs of Sri
Lanka, the aborigines of Australia and Maoris of New Zealand.
children. File photo
Indigenous cultures around the world are recognized on this day which
also recognizes their achievements and contributions to solve world
issues, such as, environmental protection.
Dear children, you would have learnt in school about the various
types of indigenous people’s around the world.
I am sure you find these lessons very interesting. These peoples go
back to pre-historic times.
Indigenous people are an important part of our culture and history.
It is our duty to help protect their rights and due place in society.
People from different nations are encouraged to participate in
observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples.
Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to
gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples.
Events may include messages from the UN Secretary General and other key
leaders, performances by indigenous artists and panel discussions on
On December 23, 1994, the UN General Assembly decided that the
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People should be observed on
August 9 annually during the International Decade of the World’s
In 2004 the assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of
the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014). The assembly also decided to
continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People annually
during the second decade.
The decade’s goal was to further strengthen international cooperation
for solving problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as
culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, social and
Bye for now.
Another Time Traveller
We have already read about a time traveller who invented a time
machine and travelled to the future. This week we’re going to read about
another time traveler who travelled to the past!
This time traveller, Hank Morgan is from the 19th century America.
Now that is already the past for us. Anyway, in the story we’re going to
read, ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’, by a very popular
writer Mark Twain, Hank travels to the 6th Century England and lands in
King Arthur’s court!
Maybe you have already heard of the king and the knights in his round
table. Have you heard of Sir Launcelot, Sir Galahad and Merlin the
magician? Hank has heard of all of them and he actually gets an
opportunity to visit them and see them for real! Don’t you think that’s
When Hank visits the 6th century England what actually happens to
him? What are the adventures he has? Will he get back to his own time or
will he spend the rest of his life in a world 13 centuries older than
his own? That’s a really long time, isn’t that?
This book was published in 1889, towards the end of the 19th century.
I think you know that this was an era in which science was developing
fast in the world, especially in Europe and the Americas.
With the development of science and new technology, people were
interested in science fiction, and many science fiction books about time
travelling, aliens and such topics were published in the 19th and 20th
In the late 20th centuries science fiction was very popular in Sri
Lanka too. I remember, many children and even adults loved reading books
by Arthur C Clerk and other science fiction writers. Besides, this was
an era in which the television was very popular in our country and many
people used to watch science fiction movies such as the X-files, Spell
Binders, and Ocean Girl that were extremely popular television
programmes those days.
The Moby books edition of ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s
Court’ is adapted by Lucia Monfried. The author Mark Twain is the famous
American writer who authored other great books such as The Adventures of
Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, equally loved by many
children and adults all over the world.
Have a great visit to King Arthur’s Court!
Bye for now
History of Yal Devi - the princess of Jaffna
Originally planned in the late 1890s during the time of the British,
the Northern railway line of Sri Lanka was the artery that connected the
North with the rest of the country. The 158 Km railway line was built
with two sides Kankeranthurai (K.K.S) and Vavuniya.
On August 1,1905 Thursday, the Northern railway line was completed as
the tracks were joined together at Palai, from about 50 years thereafter
to date the Northern railway line is synonymous with the legendry ‘Yal
Devi’ (The Princess of Jaffna) train, that travel between Colombo and
Jaffna, which was launch on April 23,1956.
Complete with 16 stations and 12 sub stations, the Northern railway
line formed the backbone of national unity and integration, having many
years two night mail train, four express trains, six goods trains, a
special weekend train, Intercity and many local sub-urban trains. The
railway line became a channel and a proponent for trade, business,
educational, friendship, communication and trust.
The Northern parts of Sri Lanka spearheaded by Jaffna became a
bustling mega city of geographic, social, cultural and economic
About 30 years ago on January 19, 1985 terrorists struck the ‘Yal
Devi ‘ train, killing people and destroying the tracks and severing the
North with rest of the country. The subsequence escalation of
unfortunate conditions saw the last Yal Devi train travelling to Jaffna
on June 13,1990 and it had no way of returning to Colombo.
During this unfortunate period, even the road transport was
destroyed. The integration and between North and South was no more, the
bound and interaction was broken and the artery was severed.
For almost 30 years, generations grew in isolation, with no
understanding and trust, the railway tracks were now covered with ashes
and sand and it went nowhere. The stations with monumental prosperity of
development were no more.
Uthuru Mithru, rebuilding the Yal Devi friendship tracks, is a
project initiated by the government to rebuild the Yal Devi track, to
once again connect the North and the South. The project aims to build a
modern railway line that will provide a fast and reliable connection for
passengers and goods from Vavuniya to Kankesanthure.
The railway line extending 158Km will include 85 bridges, 58,
culverts, 16 stations and 12 sub stations. Some of the main stations
such as Vavuniya, Jaffna, Kilinochichi and Mankulam will be noted down
to be developed. Also Palali Airport, Jaffna Port and tourism are noted
for development which will lead to social, economic and cultural
reintegration and everlasting peace.
Alfred Edwin , 8 Science A , O.K.I International School , Wattala
A cartoon character
5A, Sailan International School
Grade 6, Kingston College International
2A, Sailan International School
4A, Sailan International School
Kingston College International
Mutwal, Colombo 15
Minu/Horagasmulla Primary College
Ashoka College, Horana
Sailan International School
Scouts of Royal College (Group 42 Colombo) who received
their Bronze stars recently pose for a group photo with the
staff in charge Chandra Irangani Perera and Keerthi Bandara
Narithasan Kindergarten held their annual English Day
programme recently. Here, children of Saman Class performing
at the event.
College International (Mutwal branch) held its English Day
and Science exhibition recently, presided over by the
Chairman of the College Dr T Kumaraverl. Associate Editor of
the Sunday Observer R S Karunaratne was the chief guest.
Here Grade 6, 7, 8 students participating in a drama titled
‘Obstructive hat’ and Chairman Kumaraverl, chief guest
Karunaratne, Principal of the College Soundaram, LKG
students and teacher in charge Poorani Sivapragasam viewing
the students’ exhibits.