According to a recent needs assessment by Save the Children, 50% of Sri Lankan families are currently struggling to support their children’s education and some children are already dropping out of school.
Statistics and insights from around the world show that dropping out of school not only affects the child’s socio-economic development, but when compounded, can also lead to the deceleration of economic progress and stunted social development of communities and countries.
Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with a broadly entrenched community-based development network, has identified one of the immediate obstacles faced by parents from vulnerable communities regarding their children’s continued education – the difficulty in securing essential school supplies.
To address this immediate need and mitigate the long-term negative impact on Sri Lanka’s future, Sarvodaya is launching the ‘Light a Future’ initiative, in partnership with Atlas, Sri Lanka’s leading education brand.
The initiative will provide the necessary learning tools to 100,000 children who are most in danger of dropping out of school, giving them the gift of education in the hope of securing theirs and the country’s future.
In its mission to impact the lives of these 100,000 children in need, the Light a Future initiative has set itself the bold target of raising USD 1.5 million in the next 90 days to ensure all 100,000 children receive their essential learning tools packs in time for the 2023 school year.
The support of influential corporates and individuals will be critical in reaching and mobilising charitable global communities and Sri Lankans living abroad to secure the necessary funds and create the desired impact.
As the main collaborative partner, Atlas is contributing the necessary funds for 2,500 children and will also be providing subsidised products for the Light a Future initiative.
The company has also set up a dedicated team of volunteer Atlas staff who will devote 10,000+ of their work hours for the duration of the project.
Together with this dedicated team, the company is funding the setting up of the initiative infrastructure and will be working to reach 3+ million global citizens including global Sri Lankans to ensure the success of the initiative.
Globally renowned Ernst & Young (EY) is onboard the project as the auditing partner and will be auditing the end-to-end process of the initiative to ensure accountability and transparency.
Donors will also have the ability to view the status of their contribution via the Light a Future website, which will carry live updates on the progress of their contribution.
With the aim of ensuring the most vulnerable children benefit from the Light a Future initiative, Sarvodaya will select beneficiaries based on specific criteria including families under the poverty line and vulnerable due to disturbed livelihoods, female-led families, persons with disabilities, Samurdhi recipients, daily wage earners, families of affected SMEs and entrepreneurs and children of those institutionalised or in care homes.
All donations will be channelled to Sarvodaya through a secure payment gateway set up specifically for the initiative, and Sarvodaya will procure the learning tools packs in batches of 1,000 as and when donations are collected.
These packs are customised for the requirements of the three main age groups of pre-school, primary and secondary, and includes the necessary stationery items for a school year such as books, pencils, pens, colour pencils, pastels, sharpeners, erasers, rulers, glue, clay, scissors, water bottle, lunch box, and a box of mathematical instruments for those in higher grades.
The Light a Future initiative calls on Sri Lankan corporates and individuals to join the cause – not only as donors and benefactors but as partners.
The project seeks collaborators willing to connect the initiative to global Sri Lankan communities, associates who can amplify the message to other organisations, and support to amplify the cause among international donor audiences and networks.
For more information visit the Light a Future website at www.lightafuture.com
Picture From left to Right Dhananath Fernando – COO, The Advocata Institute; Jeremy De Zilwa – CEO, Teach for Sri Lanka; Kamal Gamage- Acting Executive Director/Finance Director, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement; Kaushali Kusumapala- Project Lead, Light A Future Initiative; Dr. Udaya Mohan Devdas - Senior Lecturer, Department of Human Resource Management, University of Kelaniya; Rasini Bandara - Mental Health Professional with Mind Heals Pvt Ltd / International Wellbeing Consultant for International Transport Federation; and Bernadine Jayasinghe – Moderator of the panel during the panel discussion held in Colombo last week, organised by the 'Light a Future' initiative on the topic of 'The invisible crisis jeopardising Sri Lanka's future'.