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How a village school unites communities

Amid nationwide protests held on Feb. 27 against efforts by foreign states to undermine and intrude into Sri Lanka's post war reconciliation process, the most defiant protest took place in Saliyapura Village, Kantale where a group of individuals donated an IT facility to a rural school with the aim of bringing different ethnic communities together and helping the reconciliation process.

IT facility for Saliyapura Vidyalaya, Kantale

One of the conditions insisted upon by the donors was that the school receiving the facility must allow students from neighbouring schools which are attended by students of a different ethnicity to use the facility.

The aim is to increase the interaction between students of different communities who are segregated by our education system according to racial and linguistic lines.

It was ironic that on a day that some people are genuinely trying to achieve reconciliation, across in Geneva, another group of people are trying to undermine these efforts.

Hub of interaction

The donors said that the computer centre will serve as a hub of interaction between races, leading to mutual understanding and trust. The inspiration for the 'pilot project' had come through the Heal Lanka Forum, which is a forum of likeminded people to bring about healing to all Sri Lankans who have been affected by the internal conflict of our country, leading to reconciliation and unity.

Achieving reconciliation is not just the responsibility of the government but all citizens of Sri Lanka as individuals, organizations and corporations.

All of us have a responsibility to reach out to our neighbours, villagers and countrymen, it might take a bit of courage at first but it doesn't take a lot of effort. Not only is Sri Lanka a sovereign country, but our constitution confers that ‘in Sri Lanka, sovereignty is in her people’. While the government can do a lot of things, it can't do everything nor should it.

The IT facility which consists of ten computers is located at the Saliyapura Vidyalaya, Kantale while students of the neighbouring Darusalam Vidyalaya in Kantale will also use the facility. The opening ceremony was held with pageantry and fanfare. Performances showcasing the talents of the students were a highlight. The donors highlight that only ten computers had been donated while the school authorities with the help of the parents and the community had repaired the building including installing ceiling, done the wiring, made the desks and chairs for the computers.

Education authorities

The dedicated support of the 222 brigade of the Sri Lanka Army in the coordinating the project as well as providing the manpower and logistical support was appreciated by school Principal of Saliyaura Vidyalaya.

A special mention was also made of the assistance of the education authorities in the area including the Zonal Director of education who recommended the schools in the area which needed the most assistance.

 

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