Light at the end of the tunnel- EDEX LYD's dream:
'Reading maketh a man'
Security Forces Commander Jaffna Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe and
Principal Royal College, and the patron of the RCU Upali
Gunasekara opened the library. Chairman of EDEX Expo, Kamal
Abeysinghe is in the background
Royal College principal Upali Gunasekara handing over a book to
Students of Kulamangal Roman Catholic Vidyalam
She gently touched the pages of the story book with glossy pages and
colourful pictures. The little girl who had never owned a new book
enjoyed the refreshing smell of the book. Apart from its 'beauty' she
felt the warmth of friendship wrapped in it as it was a book from the
Ten-year-old Karskini Pullendran's eyescaught the book Oliver Twist
which had eye catching pictures, which was neatly stored in the book
rack in their library, which was opened barely a few days ago. The girl
in the Fifth Grade and secured second rank in a class with 21 children
was awestruck with the environment in the new library.
With her little knowledge in English, she is trying to read Oliver
Twist. Displaced and surviving with her father's meagre daily income as
a labourer she lives in a temporary shelter in Thelippilai. She said she
owns only two story books written in Tamil and bought by her mother.
The girl is one among the many happy students of the Kulamangal Roman
Catholic Vidyalam, 16 km off Jaffna as they got a library with over 700
books, furniture and a computer. Their time table has to be revised to
add a new session titled 'library'.
In fractured English and with the assistance of her teacher, she
expressed her happiness saying that it was a great thing that the school
got a library and the books were valuable assets.
Anton Amaladas, a Grade 10 student who doesn't have the means to own
a single book at home to read except for school text books, wants to
gain maximum knowledge from the books in the library. He likes to read
English books to brush up his English knowledge. Dreaming of becoming a
doctor, Anton is the third student in a class of 22.
The new library at the school is a dream comes true, which was
realised under the 'EDEX Live Your Dream' (LYD) Program and it is a CSR
initiative of the Royal College Union and the Associated Newspaper of
Ceylon Limited (ANCL).
The small, gloomy room with two old cupboards with the few books in
the school was turned into a small impressive library to offer the
enjoyment of reading a book, for the 275 children in the school.
The most important is that this library is wrapped with love and care
of the people of the South.
Books worth Rs. 100,000 includes brand new books as well as books
used carefully by old boys of the Royal College Colombo and their
"This donation was done to mark 10 years of service to the youth of
this country since the launch of EDEX Expo in 2004. It is the third
library in a series of projects selected by the EDEX LYD Committee to
assist rural youth to realise their dreams", Chairman of EDEX Expo,
Kamal Abeysinghe said that the 'Sihinayata Jeewayak (Live Your Dream)
project encourages and empowers youth from challenging backgrounds to
realise a 'dream' idea benefiting a community of youth, translating into
a tangible reality in spheres such as education, skills development,
inventiveness or creativity leading to gainful employment and
The morning of June 11 was a historical moment for the Kulamangal
Roman Catholic Vidyalam the first library was opened after 132 years. It
was opened by the Security Forces Commander Jaffna Maj. Gen.
Hathurusinghe and Principal Royal College, and the patron of the RCU
The donation will include valuable books in English and Tamil, past
papers in all subjects, biographies, history books, dictionaries and
furniture such as book racks, tables, chairs, computers provided by
USAID and it was supported by the Civil and Military Co-ordination Unit
of the 513 Brigade under the instructions of its Brigade Commander Brig.
Pradeep de Silva. The soldiers of the 14th Gemunu Watch renovated an old
classroom with financial assistance provided by RCU. The total cost of
the donation which includes building materials, furniture, a computer
and books, is Rs. 400,000.
The Principal of Kulamangal RC Vidyalayam R.J. Anthonimuttu
appreciated the support extended by Old Royalists to improve the reading
habit of students by upgrading the library with valuable books.
The Principal, Royal College thanked the Commander SF-J and the Army
for making an opportunity for them to help this school which needed a
library to improve the education of its students. Maj. Gen.
Hathurusinghe, who was the chief guest said the RCU had helped mutual
understanding between students of the North and the South by donating
books and helping to upgrade the school library. " It will help
establish sustainable peace in the country", he said.
Explaining EDEX's mission to promote reading under its project titled
'Donate a Book to a Needy Student' Abeysinghe said they identified the
Kulamangal Roman Catholic Vidyalam as EDEX's third school needing a
library as the RCU team had seen the school's poor library facilities
last year when RCU donated sports equipment to the school.
Abeysinghe said RCU launched the EDEX expo, the Education exhibition,
in 2004 specially focusing on the country's youth, preparing them to be
confident, competitive young adults and helping them to accomplish their
"The youth in our country have so much potential. But with cycles of
mismatches and inequalities in the education system and a discouraging
environment faced in post secondary education, they have limited
opportunities for progress.
Most often they lack proper guidance and direction in this arena. We
stepped into bridge this void by launching 'EDEX Expo' by creating the
most comprehensive single platform offering the widest possible range of
choices, options and opportunities in higher education, skills
development, vocational training leading to gainful employment", he
He said it had now become the annual 'social responsibility' project
of the RCU, which created EDEX Expo to serve as a platform to capture
and echo the voices of aspiring youth who yearn for opportunities to
realise their potential.
The first library under RCU's project - Donate a Book to a Needy
Student - was donated to the Padavi-Sripura Jayanthi Maha Vidyalaya in
Trincomalee and the second recipient was the Kobbewela Keerthirathne
Maha Vidyalaya Galigamuwe to get an 'advanced' library, an upgraded
version of their tiny library with a few racks of books.
Since their school days, Royalists are taught the three R's of the
environment: reduce, reuse, recycle. It was promoted by EDEX through its
project named Think Green.
Its an effort by RCU to contribute its share to the environment
through its initiative 'Go Green' which promote a 'Green Environment',
'Green Food', 'Green Energy' as well as 'Green Behaviour and Habits'
which leads to a sustainable living in future.
"It is important to create awareness of the rising global demand for
'Green Education', 'Green Skills' and a new generation of 'Green-collar
workers' among our youth", Abeysinghe said.
Ultimately, Royalists would support to reduce the impact on the earth
by its Go Green concepts while helping to reduce green house gas
It is a story of raising a reader by gifting the books that are
forgotten, unused, or piled up after being read. They can be a treasure
to a child, who never had the pleasure of owning a book, on the other
side of the country. It is a generous attempt to get those books into
the hands of someone who's eager to read them.
As the EDEX team says: Never be afraid to dream. Have the courage to
aspire. always reach for the moon and the stars. Everything starts with
If you are a dreamer among our nation's youth, with a burning desire,
inspired and energised to serve your community, here is a great
opportunity to make your dream come true.
Yes... its your chance to make a child in a school at the far edge of
the country smile... "Nan santhoshamaga irukkirene (I am happy)"
Karskini who dreams of coming a teacher one day said tightly holding her
latest favourite book - Oliver Twist. Her friends had borrowed - Sea
Animals, Black Beauty and read them by themselves.