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Pupils, teachers and local people held a day of celebration when the facility opened in 2022.

Fresh Start for Sri Lankan School

Jacobi has been operating in Sri Lanka since 2005 and it’s a country where we place a heavy focus on corporate social responsibility efforts. Back in 2020, we began the build of a brand-new school in a rural area where access to adequate facilities was difficult for families. In the summer of 2022, the build was completed and today, it’s a fully functioning school.

Sri Lankan School - Lamp Lighting

One of the teachers at the school and a student lighting the lamp as a symbol of spreading the light of knowledge.

IT IS OUR BELIEF that every child has a right to education and so this is an area where we invest time and money continually. As a company we want to do all in our power to facilitate a better future for our children and ensuring a good education is a large part of that.

Generally speaking, education in Sri Lanka is good and the literacy rate is high, around 91%. Most children have access to education at all levels but in the rural areas of the country things can look different. Education is freely available to children in these areas but rarely is it well-funded. Schools are often run-down and inadequate. Families are then faced with either travelling long distances or paying to access better education – neither of which are realistic options.

Over the years Jacobi has funded many projects to improve facilities for students. We’ve built libraries in schools and filled them with books. We’ve provided students with their uniforms, books, equipment and stationery to help make their experience of school the best it can be. Most recently, though, we funded the build of an entirely new school.

The school was incredibly run-down and not fit for purpose. Three classes were taught in one room without enough desks or chairs. There was no ventilation and no utilities either. Everyone who uses the facility used the same single toilet – one toilet for all boys, girls and their teachers.

Sri Lankan School - Teachers and students

Teachers and students at the school during the opening ceremony.

An old and simply inadequate building

“It was tough,” said Headmistress G. M. Kamalawathi. “The building was so old and in very poor condition.”

She continued: “When it rained the children had a very difficult time. I kept baskets all around the classroom to stop the mini floods.”

Rather than renovating the shell of the previous school, we decided a better option was to completely rebuild. Members of Jacobi management laid the first stone at a small ceremony in January of 2020 and the build was completed in just two years, despite complications due to the covid pandemic and economic disruption in Sri Lanka. In June 2022, the school opened its doors and has been running well ever since.

A day of celebration was held at the school, attended by Jacobi’s CEO, Remko, Sri Lanka Country Manager, Rasanga Adikara, and Group CTO, Tomohiro Sakaihori, along with pupils, their families, and local people too. The ceremony was a happy event with encouraging speeches from Jacobi’s management and singing and dancing performances from the children.

Jacobi Built Sri Lankan School

The school took two years to build and is now up and running.

New Beginnings

The new school and community centre is a huge improvement on the previous facility. It’s a modern two-storey building with three separate classrooms for three classes. Each class will now have two teachers. There is space for 30 children in each class, giving each child more one-on-one time with their teacher and allowing the teachers to really get to know each pupil. Ensuring the utilities were adequate was also important and so we’ve built separate toilets for teachers and children, plus office space for staff.

Whilst the government will handle the curriculum and day-to-day running of the school, Jacobi still plans to provide funds and maintenance. This includes providing a good wage to the teaching staff, who were previously working there voluntarily, plus any training and development that is required.

The school is on the ground floor and on the first floor is a youth and community development centre. There is a seminar hall that can accommodate up to 120 people where we are hoping to provide youth development programmes in IT, literacy and language as well as other vocational courses.

We are delighted to see the school finished and providing a suitable place for children to learn. Being able to give these children the safe and well-equipped environment that they deserve is something we are incredibly proud of.

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