SriLankan Cares empowers Debarawewa Primary
Debarawewa Primary Navodaya Vidyalaya, situated a little away from Tissamaharama
in the Hambantota District, has been a stepping-stone to many scholars. It is a
rural school “attended by the children of the farming communities,” the
principal says. The school however is well known for its students’ academic
In the primary grades, the student number reaches 70 in a class. The number
drops after Grade five, as many join other schools, passing the Scholarship
Exam. There are many who enter the best schools in the island. In fact, in the
year 2000, the highest scorer was a Debarawewa Primary student. Its past
students have had promising futures – some of them are learning at higher
education and professional institutions.
Those fortunate, always go ahead. Amidst talks of great achievers, there’s
another lot usually unnoticed – those who get dropped out at Scholarship. At
Debarawewa Primary, “that number is equally high,” one of the teachers said.
Their circumstances after Grade five do not seem that pleasant. All these years,
Debarawewa Primary could facilitate students only up to Grade eight and
thereafter these students always had to hunt for schools to pursue study for
However, a ray of hope has dawned on them now, since the School is brought under
the umbrella of SriLankan Airlines. SriLankan Cares, the charity arm of
SriLankan Airlines gifted a brand new wing to Debarawewa Primary last week. This
has enabled students to continue studies through Grade nine in the same school.
Dedicated to uplift children’s education throughout Sri Lanka, SriLankan Cares
has a lot more to offer them. Those fail at Scholarship exam would be able to do
better at O/Ls then – they too could hope for promising futures.
While The Nation trod the grounds of Debarawewa Primary on the day the building
was officially handed over, these highlights were captured through the camera
lens of Pushpakumara Mathugama.
The new building was constructed at a cost of Rs. 12.4 million. It is an
eight-classroom block of 4,500 square feet. The building has been the first
phase of a major project by SriLankan Cares to enhance the standard of education
in the Southern Province. SriLankan worked in partnership with the German aid
agency GTZ, which provided furniture, sports equipment, computers, musical
instruments and hearing aids for differently-abled students. The planned Phase
II will involve a second eight-classroom building to house Grade ten, also of
4,500 square feet together with furniture and a computer lab. There are also
plans for a third building of similar size with eight classrooms together with
furniture for Grade 11 and a separate building to house a fully equipped
SriLankan Cares Trust’s past assistance
Debarawewa Primary Navodaya Vidyalaya is the third school to be adopted by
SriLankan Cares Trust. SriLankan Cares in 2003 began a highly successful
long-term programme which uplifted Meepagama Jayanthi Maha Vidyalaya, a school
of 1,000 children in the flood-ravaged Kalawana area of the Ratnapura District.
Following the Tsunami of 2004, SriLankan Cares and its partners Lufthansa
Technik, HelpAlliance, and GTZ, reconstructed Al Bahriyah Maha Vidyalaya in
Kalmunai in the Batticaloa District, a school of 1,500 children.