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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 Holdings PLC.

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.

 

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