Hemas opens model pre-school in Jaffna
Hemas Holdings PLC Ltd recently brought colour and life to the little
children of the war-ravaged North with the opening of the new Hemas
Piyawara Model Pre-school in Jaffna. Situated in the Nallur Municipal
Complex, this Rs. 8 million Piyawara Pre-school is funded by Hemas
Holdings PLC, implemented by UNOPS and is the 33rd Hemas Piyawara
pre-school in the country.
Senior Manager Corporate
Communications and CSR Hemas Shiromi Masakorala explains the
functioning of the Jaffna Piyawara pre-school to VIPs,
officials and guests at the opening.
The project is the second phase of the post war development process
initiated by Hemas. In February 2009 as a short-term relief to the IDPs,
Hemas set up a series of pre-schools and play areas in Menik Farm relief
villages in Vavuniya. These facilities provided pre-school education to
several thousands of IDP children. The second phase was to set up model
pre-schools in all war-torn districts in the region.
Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karaliadda,
Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development
Douglas Devananda, Mayor of Jaffna Mrs. Yoga Patgunarajha, officials
from Ministry and Hemas were present.
Hemas’ community investment is focused on early childhood care and
development (ECCD) in partnership with the Children’s Secretariat of the
Ministry of Child Development. The project has created a great impact to
the well-being of children in Sri Lanka.
Nearly 3,000 children receive education in 33 centres islandwide. The
company has invested approximately Rs. 200 million since 2002 and all
projects are carried out through Hemas Outreach Foundation, a Government
approved charity. It is managed by a Trust that includes eminent
personalities in Sri Lanka together with members from the Board of Hemas
Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karaliadda
said, “Hemas has set an example to many corporates. ‘Piyawara’ is a
sustainable model taking into consideration the national need. We are
thankful to Hemas for being a responsible corporate citizen and being a
partner in the development process of our country”.
Mayor of Jaffna Mrs. Yoga Patgunarajha said, “The people of Jaffna
will always be grateful for this facility. Since I too have been a
teacher, I see its value. It will give the right foundation for small
children of this age group and that will benefit the country”.
Senior Manager Corporate Communications and CSR Hemas, Shiromi
Masakorala said, “On our first visit to Jaffna in 2002 we saw several
children bundled together in a dark garage which they called a
pre-school. A year later, we opened our first basic pre-school in the
Nallur Municipal Complex together with the Children’s Secretariat and
Jaffna Municipal Council. We were unable to build a ‘model’ school due
to the environment of that time. We have been training pre-school
teachers here since 2002. They are now competent to manage the newly
built model schools and train other teachers”.
“Our goal is to establish four more pre-schools in Kilinochchi,
Vavuniya, Mannar and Mullaitivu. We are looking to raise funds for these
new schools through international organisations and our business
partners”, she said.
The Piyawara project won the Asia CSR award in 2007 as a model for
the Asian region. The partnership with the Children’s Secretariat of the
Ministry of Child Development has been a vital factor for the
sustainability and success of the project.
A variety of programs are conducted under this project including
teacher training, parental awareness programs and a weekly talk show on
Rupavahini titled Daru Petiyage Lokaya.
The Hemas Group focuses on five key sectors - FMCG, Healthcare,
Transportation, Leisure and Power generation.