What we do
We work with children, enabling them to continue their education, who otherwise would end up as a child labourer. As our financial resources are short, we focus the areas where socio-economically oppressed Tamils live in Sri Lanka. Hence, the children, from these areas, remain our main target group. Due to our financial constraints, we are able to work only in very few areas. At present, our operations are limited to few areas in Pattippalai division, Kadalur village in the Chenkaladi division of Batticaloa district, Eastern Province and the Kandaloya Estate in the Kekale district of Sabaragamuwa Province.
When uthawi was started to function in 2002, a critical phase in Sri Lanka due to war, we were able to work only with the Childrens’ Homes. In those early period, hence, we have identified five Childrens’ Homes in the Batticaloa district and tried to fulfill the basic needs of the children such as food, dress, medicine etc depending on the financial support received from Friends.
After the war came to an end in 2009, we try to focus on the children who were not able to be admitted in the Homes or not able to continue their education and thereby remain at their homes. After this change in our perspective, we relatively reduced our support to fulfill the basic needs of the children and rather focused more on enabling the children to pursue their education and thereby enrich their personality development skills. To further in this direction, we started the following initiatives. All these initiatives are carried out through the friends of those respective regions.
As these children come from socio-economically oppressed regions thanks to war and other factors, they were not only able to continue their education but they were are also not given much attention in the school, in terms of reading, writing and learning skills. Hence, the primary concern of the ‘Slow Learning’ project is to enrich their learning, reading and writing skills of these students. This initiative is carried out in the villages of Narpathuvattai, Kollanulai, Mavadi Munmari in the Pattippalai division and Kadalur village in the Chenkaladi division of Batticaloa district, Eastern Province.
The primary concern of Story-telling event is to enrich the personality development skills of the children and enable them to express their creative and critical abilities. In order to carry out this project, with the help of uthawi volunteers, we select stories, poems, essays and dance modules that have scientific and rationalistic insights and deal with social change and progress. These creative and critical writings are collectively read, discussed and the children are asked to express their reactions, with the mediation of uthawi friends. This novel initiative is carried out in the villages of Narpathuvattai, Kollanulai, Mavadi Munmari in the Pattippalai division and Kadalur village in the Chenkaladi division of Batticaloa district, Eastern Province.
Honararium for the Teachers
The Kandolaya Tamil Vidyalaya at the Kandolaya Estate (of Kekale district in Sabaragamuwa Province), working with uthawi, has an enrollment of about 250 students and needs at least 22 teachers. At present, there are only 8 teachers. As the Kandolaya estate is located remotely from the neighbouring town, Navalapitti, and there are very limited transport facilities from the town, the teachers do not prefer to come working here. Those who join the school often get transfer and do not stay here longer. In this situation, this school offering education up to ‘A’ level (class XII) faces severe financial crisis every year. uthawi decided to support to give honorarium to the teachers who could teach to the students of Kandaloya Tamil Vidyalaya. As our financial resource is not enough to support all the temporary teachers, the parents of the children also contributed to reduce the financial burden of the School. Hence, with the support from thawi and the contributions from parents, the unemployed but qualified youth from the local areas were brought to work as temporary teachers at the Kandolaya Tamil Vidyalaya.
Fund for the students
All the parents of the students of Kandaloya Tamil Vidyalaya are estate workers. On average, they are given jobs only 20 days per month and get salary only for those working days. Very often, they end up work for more hours for relatively lower salary due to the financial constraints. As they were not able to meet their ends of the family with their low income, they were not able to afford their childrens’ education. Therefore, the children are also forced to go for work to support their parents or remain at their homes. By making arrangements to facilitate the children to pursue their education without any interruption, we relatively reduce the economic burden of the parents. Childrens’ education also becomes a possibility.