ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 38

Green Forest Movement promotes Green Tec-IT in rural areas

By N. Dilshath Banu

"If we tell someone in a rural area to conserve nature, they have more burning issues to think of than preserving their surroundings. Most are poverty-stricken, have no books, no proper school materials and every day they have to walk many miles to school. So I thought it would be best to provide some sort of relief to the schoolchildren and afterwards speak to them on nature conservation," said Harindra Serasinghe, Executive Director of the Green Forest Movement.

The Green Forest Movement is a volunteer group initiated by seven nature lovers in 1999. It now has 1500 members around the country and funds are raised by the sale of educational publications, educational tour packages for nature lovers, courses and training workshops and from donations. Their new project, "Green Tec-IT for All" supports knowledge-building and technology development in remote villages. "We provided computers for six selected remote schools, five in the Ampara District and one in Polonnaruwa. Access to these schools is very difficult," explained Harindra.

GFA members are now training students on how to use computers and will monitor their progress.

"We are hoping to expand this programme, so that computers would not be alien to students from remote schools," said Harindra.
All these facilities have come with a “price”, for the children had to plant a tree or engage in some nature conservation activity. "All beneficiaries of community development programmes have to preserve and protect nature while engaging in their livelihood. So at the end of the day, we give them the basic necessities for their livelihood and development and in return encourage them to conserve nature," said Harindra.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.