Archive for August, 2011

31
Aug
11

Educational Sponsorship for 500 Children

The Educational Sponsorship Programme started its next phase by starting to distribute Educational material for 500 children. One such distribution took place at the Chankanai DS division on the 26th of August with the participation of Project Officers from Asia Capital & Caritas. Out of the 49 children selected from this region 42 children were present to collect the Educational material. All of them received a stationery pack,tuition fees & support for extra coaching. Children will be greatly benefited from this educational support especially for the new school term which will be starting in September. Further it will be a great motivational factor for these children to do well in their studies to reach greater heights in education.

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23
Aug
11

Beneficiary Assessment


A beneficiary assessment was conducted at Vadamaradchy East Assistant Government Agent (AGA) Office, Thalayady on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 from 03:00pm to 05:00pm.

This area is still considered a high security zone where mine clearance and resettlement is on going. Electricity has not been provided yet. Transport is a bottle neck with limited buses in service covering a very large area that was badly affected by the Tsunami in 2004 and civil war.

AGA Office provided a list of 26 potential beneficiaries for educational sponsorship and was invited for the initial assessment. Project briefing and individual assessment to identify and select the beneficiaries were jointly done by the AGA Office, Hudec-Caritas and AsiaCapital Plc staff.23 children were identified as eligible for the educational sponsorship and their family profiles are being compiled by Hudec-Caritas for submission to AGA Office for authorization by 

Area Military Commander, Education Department & the Governor and then be forwarded to ACP for the support.

Second assessment of Vadamaradchy East is scheduled for Thursday, June 30, 2011 at AGA Office, Kudathanai for 35 potential beneficiaries.

Note: Vadamaradchy East AGA Office is functioning from 2 locations as the Road via Nagar Kovil connecting Point Pedro to Maruthankerny is closed for demining

23
Aug
11

Final Assessment at Tellipali

The final assessment in Tellipalai division was carried out recently under the purview of Caritas and along with the project officers at Asia Capital PLC.

 

23
Aug
11

Yathusha & Thanu

Yathusha 8 years and Thanu 5 years are two vulnerable children who were identified and selected for the pilot educational sponsorship project launched under Asia Capital Plc’s CSR Programme in January 2011. Mr Manohan Nanayakkara, the Chairman of the Group of Companies initiated this sponsorship that is expected to cover 10,000 children in the North of Sri Lanka.

Yathusha & Thanu reside at Ward-2, Allapiddy in Velanai, which is the largest of 7 inhabited islands of Jaffna District, with the 3rd lowest density of population. Due to continuous transportation difficulties, security restrictions and scarcity of water for livelihood, the families remain unfortunate, poor and children malnourished.

They live in a temporary shelter supported by Sewa Lanka with access to washing water from a nearby common well. Jathusha and Thanu have a little brother of 3 years and their parents have no regular income to manage their day-to-day expenses. Their father, Mr Johnson Micheldo lost his leg in a land mine a few years back during the war and hence, he is unable to carry out his traditional carpentry work that brought him a regular income. Therefore, he had to look out for other avenues of employment and finally made a choice of catching sea leeches which was seasonable thus did not provide him with a regular income.

Now, Yathusha and Thanu are both receiving a monthly support worth Rs.2,500/00 each to cover their educational needs. This is provided to them through Asia Capital Plc’s implementing partner of the project, M/s. Caritas,Jaffna. This has been a turning point for Yathusha especially because she is very intelligent and anxious to learn, as Thanu is still attending the pre-school. Her class report and field staff reports indicated an impressive improvement of ranking from 22 to 12 within the last three months. Mean while, the burden on her mother has reduced to a large extent where the father’s income is now utilized fully to cover the other household expenditure. Hence, they are a happy family managing their affairs on their own.

Yathusha’s & Thanu’s sponsorship package includes stationery, educational work books, extra classes, etc based on the requests received from their class teacher amounting to Rs.2,000/00. A compulsory savings of Rs.500.00 per month is deposited to their minor’s savings account opened with NSB Jaffna for their future stability.

Yathusha is studying at Allapiddy Parasakthy Vidayalam, identified as one of the biggest school in the area that has almost all the basic facilities. However, the school lacks a play ground and play materials as well as teachers to cover all subjects offered.

Even though, the Donor is funding Yathusha & Thanu via Asia Capital Plc and Caritas Jaffna, the uniqueness of this project is the regular meetings held directly with Donor and family of the 2 children. The project believes that the understanding developed and relationship created will bring harmony among communities in the l

ong run and uplift the standards of the children and their families.

There has been good progress made by Yathusha since the Educational sponsorship was given to her. She has shown more likeness in attending school regularly during the last few months. She spends more time studying specially in the morning and also she makes sure to attend tuition classes in the evenings between 3.30 and 6 to improve further in her studies. She has improved in English, Tamil in the recently concluded exams. She is currently getting tuition for Mathematics,Tamil,English & Social Studies. Overall there are many positive signs shown by Yathusha towards her education since the sponsorship grant was given to her since January. Yathusha is greatly thankful to Asia Capital PLC for the opportunity given to her to carry out her studies without worrying about the financial constraints they were faced with before.

 

23
Aug
11

Glorious Jaffna -Review by Gaston de Rosayro

Among our tropical island’s localities which have been suffused for centuries by calm and contentment, Jaffna had been the beau ideal. Time was when its old-world charm and equally enchanting cultural traditions could seldom have been encountered anywhere on earth. The peninsula, with its quaint cadjan-thatched fences, picture-book villages and placid inlets and lagoons, was decidedly a composed macrocosm within our own delightful little universe. It was also a thriving commercial port where barges once plied the shallow Palk Strait between Jaffna and South India, ferrying tourists and tradesmen in addition to a variety of consumer goods.

From Jaffna they took tobacco, soap, betel-leaf, betel-nut, onions, potatoes, chillies and spices, to supply a massive demand in the neighbouring Indian marketplace. Jaffna was also the nation’s largest single grower of tobacco supplying more than 40 per cent of the country’s total output of the cured addictive leaf. But years of civil conflict had illuminated quite another side of its existence. The locale unexpectedly attained a larger than life role and was thrust into becoming a stage for much of the nation’s turbulent struggles for the last three decades or so. For Yarlpaanam –  in the recent past the fateful ring of its name had resounded with a discordant clash of cymbals. Nearly three decades of war had reduced the once-bustling northern trading post to virtual debris.

Glorious Jaffna is a captivating coffee-table pictorial that depicts a once tranquil district which became a springboard for a senseless secessionist conflict. It is also a tribute to a resilient people and picturesque milieu that had been transformed into a war-ravaged landscape of rebellion, rubble and ruin rising from the ashes.  The quality tome has been commissioned and published by Asia Capital PLC, the country’s largest investment bank, and the flagship of a diversified financial conglomerate. It is designed with the aim of funding both nutritional and educational children’s charities in the northern peninsula. Its humanitarian quest is decidedly a stirring trend-setting demonstration to remind and appeal to its corporate peers that the success of running their organisations comes not only raking in the shekels into their business coffers but in shelling out from their hearts.

Astonishingly, the tome’s production is entirely an in-house work of talent. Its contents in both text and photography are not the creation of professional essayists in either genre of the art but are the conception of two of the publishing conglomerate’s financial analysts Tharindu Amunugama and Sunela Samaranayake who are both skilful communicators. The text and captions by Sunela in keeping with the tenor of the publication are candidly uncomplicated with no room for misunderstanding. Her style is lucid and unpretentious as she adds flavour to the publication by providing a sprinkling of traditional Jaffna recipes that have for centuries tickled the taste-buds of residents and visitors alike.

Clearly, this magnum opus has propelled debutant lensman Tharindu Amunugama to leap-frog into the constellation of elite professionals. The notion of hope and human enterprise flows through the pages, forging several images and events with enlightening discernment.. Readers will not fail to perceive his ‘seeing eye’ that has in each photograph captured his every medium with the most brilliant expression. He has handled his subjects with an incisiveness and intellect indicative of the highly-tuned instincts of an extraordinarily talented photo-journalist. Tharindu’s work conveys the eclectic breadth and humanity of his photographic mind, combining an intricate mix of sensitivity and an almost imperceptible propensity for idyllic innovation.

The collection offers a veritable assortment of topics ranging from personality portraits to landscapes, devotees, places of religious worship, spices and its colourful culture and traditions.. The combination of elements here is powerfully expressive as his camera appears to pan into idyllic reverie, deftly embellishing those special elements of atmosphere and mood.

The publication is certain to be well-received by all communities particularly by Tamils who have always had an emotional, almost sentimental attachment to their motherland. Its creators hold out that hope that first-generation Tamils at least are likely to return now that a tangible peace has returned to Jaffna and capitalize on its traditional trade and cultural links with south India, which has immense possibilities for expansion.

The compilation swivels with images from the heart-warmingly happy to the starkly melancholy with a moving candour. Here the photographer as artist conjures up a cluster of personality portraits of ordinary yet dignified personages including the venerable profiles of the ruggedly grizzled patriarchs and stately grande dames of Jaffna society. One cannot but fail to be transfixed by the eloquent intensity of hope in their expressions instilled by their robust faith in simple religious values. The children are featured in harmonised composition that portrays them in fascinating allegories of laughter, high-spiritedness and blissful innocence that conveys a kind of seraphic sweetness. They are images that tug at the heartstrings and herein lie their appeal.

In many others he captures the dynamics of the work ethic, the hopes and expectations of a peninsula that stands to profit, now that a lasting peace has returned to the northern district. The pictures tell it all from Jaffna’s main township avenues, to its provincial village bazaars and byways that for decades have lost the benefit of the open economy. That is sadly because when the economy opened Jaffna closed. The illustrations weave a captivating mélange of enthralment, simplicity and timelessness into the pleasing tapestry of this pictorial mosaic. There are echoes in both text and picture everywhere of a hopeful ebullience of the rebirth of this cultural and commercial urban giant. The images unravel the story that the task of reconstruction will not be easy, but that the people do not seem dismayed. They have already set about the rebuilding process with rarely witnessed enthusiasm. The place is leaping back to life with an astonishing vitality.

Despite the years of death, devastation and decay it is poised for a blast-off along a capitalist trajectory, with the aim of hauling the great eastern and southern heartland along with it.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will go into the Educational Sponsorship Programme

Pictures from the book can be obtained from the following site:-

http://u4j10.wordpress.com/category/glorious-jaffna/

 

23
Aug
11

The Distribution of Educational Material

The distribution of educational material was carried out by Caritas along with the project officers from Asia Capital PLC on the 25th Of April as part of the Educational Sponsorship programme. There were more than 13 different types of Educational goods that were handed over to the selected children on this occasion. Most importantly the educational material were handed over in the children’s homes itself and in front of their parents/Guardians.

02
Aug
11

Educational Sponsorship Programme – Overview

Introduction

The Educational sponsorship programme which was launched as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative under the guidance of Mr. Manohan Nanayakkara, the Chairman, Asia Capital PLC, is a historical milestone from the perspective of the corporate sector in Sri Lanka. The importance of this project is even more significant as the country is recovering from a prolonged civil war which lasted for more than two decades. The war has had a traumatic impact on the lives of the children in the Northern part of the country, more than any other demographic segment of the community, affecting them physically as well as mentally. The educational programme in question focuses on putting a smile to the faces of these traumatized and victimized children, by helping them in their educational needs which will enable them in having a much brighter future for their lives.

Objectives of the Programme

The ultimate motive of this programme is to build social harmony among the many communities of our country by infusing a “bit of Jaffna” by the people who care towards these children. At a juncture when the country needs reconciliation amongst the many ethnic communities, an initiative is felt as being needed to bring about this much needed change. In this context, Asia Capital, being a reputed organization in the country, has taken this initial step in the path of reconciliation through education. Through this Educational Sponsorship it will be a cure for all the wounded lives of these children. Since the new management took office on the 17th of May 2009 under the leadership of Mr.Manohan Nanayakkara, a new era has been arrived at. Ever since then the company has moved forward from strength to strength enabling the company to become a successful entity. This change has helped the company to step into many diverse fields and the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative is one of those pioneering ventures the company has launched into. The main catalyst behind all these initiatives is Mr. Nanayakkara whose leadership has been influential in this regard. The overall objective of the programme is to build a long standing bond among all communities, by eradicating negative feelings of hatred, bitterness, and anger between each other. The above goal, we maintain, is the ultimate objective of all the Sri Lankans.

Overview of the Project

The Northern Province of Sri Lanka consists of five districts with Jaffna being the main administrative unit of the region. Jaffna has a total population of 560,181 based in the Jaffna District, according to the Statistical Information taken in 2009. The Educational programme, for its sponsorships, focuses on the children between ages of 6-12. At present there are 24,656 in this age category enrolled in 419 schools. Initially this educational programme will target approximately 1000 children from this identified total population of 24,656 in the district. Further under this programme approximately 2000 children will be sponsored combined from Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu districts in the next phase. Overall target is to sponsor 10000 children. The main objective of this sponsorship programme is to uplift the children who were affected by war by restoring the education which was lost to them and to uplift their educational standards above the norm. The educational benefit which is granted to them will help them to use it as a tool for their future. It would be an investment on them where nobody would be able to take it from them. The society by and large will benefit in the long term when the children have the educational tools to make a change in their community in which they live.

This CSR initiative tries to address many issues faced by children for the continuation of their educational aspirations.

  • To safe guard the educational rights of the orphans
  • The difficulty faced by them due to the lack of financial backing from their parents as most of their parents lack proper employment and a regular income. Children too lack basic resources for their continuation of their educational aspirations and this sponsorship will help them to do well in the society.
  • To reduce the rate of drop outs from secondary education. Another concern they are faced with is the missing of the syllabus due to the war and it has become hard for them to compete with other children of their age. Identifying children’s weaknesses and providing them with extra coaching to uplift their educational standards is another area which is looked into by this programme.
  • To provide equal changes to meet the challenges in the field of education to the children without parents. There are many instances where children were affected psychologically because of the war due to loss of parents, relatives etc. This has a negative bearing on their mind and as a result a sense of hopelessness creeps into their lives. It is a vital area where attention should be given.
  • Assuring these innocent children with a financial security for their future is a paramount importance. Some of them lack the financial backing and assuring them with that will be beneficial.
  • To protect children from child labor.

The above concerns highlighted in the above lines have to be met from a humanistic perspective from this sponsorship programme.

The CSR initiative of Asia Capital intends to provide each child with an allowance of LKR: 2500/= every month for a period of one year. This amount is specifically targeted at covering the educational needs of the children such as books, model questions & answers as requested by the Dept of Education (not provided by the government); Providing stationery such as exercise books, pencils, erasers, pens, instrument boxes, colors etc; Catch-up education to cover missed areas of syllabuses and additional coaching to uplift their present standards based on child’s interests and standards required subjects will be selected. For extracurricular activities as UNICEF has already started providing catch up education, support for music, dance, indoor/outdoor games etc. In addition, a saving of a minimum of LKR: 500/= per month will be deposited via a minor’s account. This is done in order to give a financial stability for the child’s future. All the above finances should be effective in reaching the ultimate cause. In order to meet this requirement all cash transactions will be done via bank accounts to ensure transparency. Depending on the requirement of each child the payments will be made according to the essential needs of the child. There will be no cash handed over to the child or parents/guardian to make this entire process viable.

Why Asia Capital??

There are many advantages by linking up with Asia Capital for this programme.

  • The company being a well established corporate entity in the country. It being the largest investment institution further enlightens its position in the country. The company is also listed as a Public Liability Company.
  • There will be a thorough auditing process for this programme annually to maintain transparency.
  • The ground level implementing partner Caritas being a reputed organization worldwide is a testimony for this programme.
  • This Educational Sponsorship programme will be carried out under the guidelines of the Educational Ministry and it further comes under the purview of Presidential Task Force (PTF).

Enforcement

The ground level implementation of this programme is carried out by CARITAS, a charitable and human development organization registered under the Catholic Bishop’s Conference in Sri Lanka (incorporation) Act No:17 of 1983. CARITAS will carry out the activities with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, so that all necessary requirements will be met. The entire programme will be conducted as a tripartite agreement between The Educational Ministry, Caritas, and Presidential Task Force (PTF). All three entities will be integrated in line with the overall objectives of the programme. The Educational Ministry will know specifically what the needs of the children and according to their guidelines & guidance all the activities will be carried out. Although the ground level implementation work is carried out by Caritas the sole responsibility will be borne by Asia Capital PLC. The other stakeholders will include children, parents and immediate family members; teachers; schools; education departments; youth clubs; banks; donors etc. The programme will be further come under the purview of the Divisional Secretary’s divisions (DS) and Grama Niladhari (GN) Divisions.

The child’s progress report certified by the teacher/principal and statement of expenses submitted by the parents per term will be used as means of verification. Field monitoring and evaluation will be jointly done by the donors and implementing partners together with relevant government authorities.

As an initial step a pilot project via CARITAS has been launched for educational sponsorships of 12 children under the age category of 6-12 years old, who were affected by the war. These children have lost both their parents or either mother or father; or has their parents injured/handicapped/missing/detained. For the above 12 children ten individuals have taken the responsibility to sponsor for a period of one year starting from March 2011 to February 2012.

Our intention is to sponsor further approximately 2000 children combined from Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu districts with an eventual target of sponsoring a total of 10,000 children in the entire Northern Province, towards which we are currently working on raising funds. To make this programme a great success the whole hearted contribution of all concerned parties is of paramount importance. In that way we could put a “little bit of Jaffna” into our lives.




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