In response to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD Sri Lanka) in partnership with HSBC Sri Lanka embarked on a three-month long programme to ensure children’s educational continuity as the economic turbulence mounts.
The platform provided essential goods and relief packs of dry rations and essential school supplies to 500 school children in the most severely affected areas in Kalutara, Colombo, Monaragala, Hambantota and Trincomalee districts monthly from the month of May to July 2022, to ensure children attend school and continue with their education while ensuring that their nutrition is taken care of.
Surveys reveal that the physical, physiological and nurtritional status of school going children make a direct or indirect impact on the students’ attendance, participation in learning and performances. At present, many children from lower income families are currently facing the brunt by having to drop out of school as a result of inadequate school supplies and nutritional food to keep them in school.
Schools in many districts have also felt the effects of the crisis and have had to implement various cutbacks in light of financial constraints, leading to the cancellation of the mid-day meal programme, which was an essential programme that encouraged children to attend school. Therefore, it was deemed vital to initiate a programme as such that would improve the nutritional level of school going children which in return would minimize the dropout rate.
This initiative has been in progress since May 2022. Upon consulting the Zonal education departments, A-PAD SL was able to identify 12 extremely vulnerable schools in both urban and rural settings that were in dire need of support. Accordingly, children received relief assistance such as stationery, books and dry rations adequate for an entire household during the first month in order to support them and their families.
During the second and third months, this will continue with value additions to the educational requirements while dry rations will remain in constant supply. These rations are being procured according to a carefully curated nutritional chart done by A-PAD with technical support from the World Food Programme (WFP). While the items were procured with the support of Cargills Food City, the dissemination was facilitated and supported by the provincial education authorities.
A-PAD takes the opportunity to thank HSBC for the continued partnership and for always complimenting national efforts during unprecedented times and especially understanding the challenges faced by grassroots.
HSBC Sri Lanka together with A-PAD Sri Lanka have initiated a number of on-going projects that address the many basic everyday needs for survival, from healthcare, education, financial assistance, housing and therapy for communities affected by the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Kajeemawatte, Totalanga fire.