Hemas Holdings PLC Ltd recently opened the new Hemas Piyawara model pre-school in Jaffna at a cost of Rs. 8 million. The Piyawara Pre-School is funded by Hemas Holdings PLC, implemented by UNOPS and is the 33rd Hemas Piyawara Pre-School in the country, th company said this week.
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, it said.
Present at the opening were Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karaliadda, Minister of Traditional Industries & Small Enterprise Development Douglas Devananda, Mayor of Jaffna Ms. Yoga Patgunarajha and other officials from the Ministry and Hemas.
Hemas’ community investment is focused on ECCD (Early Childhood Care & development) in partnership with the Children’s Secretariat of Ministry of Child Development. The project has created a great impact to the wellbeing of children in Sri Lanka. At present nearly 3000 children are receiving 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.
Mayor of Jaffna Mrs. Yoga Patgunarajha said, “The people of Jaffna will always be very grateful for this faculity. 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”.
Director Hemas Holdings Abbas Esufally said, “As a responsible corporate citizen, Hemas is happy to assist in the national effort to help the people of the North re-start their lives and prosper together as a single nation. Being the totally sustainable project it is, I have no doubt that Piyawara will change the lives of the children in Jaffna”.
Senior Manager Corporate Communications & CSR at Hemas, Shiromi Masakorala said, “Our first visit to Jaffna was in 2002, when we saw several children bundled together in a dark garage which they called a Pre-School. One 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 prevailing environment at 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 in the area”.
She said Hemas goal is to establish four more such Pre-Schools in the war-ravaged areas of Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mannar and Mullaitivu. “We are looking to raise funds for these new schools through international organizations and our business partners”, Ms Masakorala added.