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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