The Lanka Kade foundation funds milk and feeding programmes in four rural schools to assist healthy child growth and to promote our aim of 'education through nutrition'. Schools were selected by the District Educational Office, who visited the schools prior to our programme to identify which schools needed the most help.
Rerukana Junior School has been supported by Lanka Kade since 2007.This school was brought to our attention by one of our producer groups as being in need of help. The arrival of a new highly motivated head teacher was a starting point but attendance at the school was extremely low. Today in 2015 the school role has increased massively to 123 children across 5 grades.
The headmaster at Rerukana showed incredible determination to transform the school, he explained to Lanka Kade the necessity of a nutrition programme to encourage parents to take an interest in their childrens's education. There was also a sense that if the nutrition programmes were hosted at the school they may attract the children to begin education...
Attendance has risen from 27 students to 123 attending the school from grades 1-5 and has been nominated as one of the best out of the 5000 junior schools in the country.
Gallahapahala Junior School is situated in an extremely rural area in the Bulathsinghala area. Lanka Kade began working with the school in 2011 when they had just 16 students.
Most of the population work on rubber estates with an unstable income that is dependent on rainfall. As they are born into poverty and lacking any proper income, they show no interest in education. Their children's education is also not a necessity, it is secondary to survival.
The majority of children that first attended the school did not have breakfast, and more often than not, the teachers would have to share their lunch with them.
Now in 2014, Gallahapahala has 71 students and a local medical officer stated that those students lacking nutrition previously are all in a healthy position. Critically, parents are showing significantly more interest in activities at school and are realising the necessity of education.
Similarly to our other schools, Kimmantudawa is located in a rural area with a poor population. Most in the area lack any form, of education and work making rattan blinds. The area has a reputation for alcoholism, and family problems meant that children's education wasn't prioritised.
After Lanka Kade began the milk programme in 2011, parents have shown a considerable rise in interest in sending their children to school, and the number of students has more than trebled, from 18 to 66.
The headmaster plays an active role in developing the school and accepted the opportunity for two gap year students from the UK to visit the school and help teach the children, as well as create a brand new English room for students to study in.
The standard of education at Kimmantudawa has progressed immensely, and for the first time in their history some of the students have passed the scholarship programmes conducted by the government.
Lanka Kade has been inundated with letters of appreciation from teachers, government bodies, medical officers and government agents in the district. However, without question, we get the most gratification from seeing the impact and change our milk programmes have had on the children.
Statistics obtained from the schools showed a trend that the admissions, attendance, classroom participation, nutrition levels, and the educational standard have all improved. Lanka Kade is looking to take on more struggling, rural schools and highlight the difference one glass of milk can make to a child's education.
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