UNICEF book on mine risk education launched

[TamilNet, Saturday, 04 October 2003, 03:53 GMT]
The UNICEF launched a book on Mine Risk Education (MRE) at the Puthukulam Maha Vidiyalayam in Vavuniya with the support of the Department of Education, and the book will be included in the curriculum of Vavuniya schools to create an awareness among children of the dangers posed by land Mines, booby traps and unexploded ordnances, sources in Vavuniya said.

The book was created with the assistance of the Sri Lankan State-controlled National Education Organization (NEO), and it will immediately become part of the curriculum for primary and intermediate students in the Northeast schools, the sources said.

From the start of next year, mine awareness will become part of the curriculum in all schools in the country, the sources added.

The Director General of the NEO, Mr. G.B.Gunawardene, released the book. The UNICEF’s South East Asia director, Mr. Sadig Rasheed, said, “Statistics from de-miners shows that while landmines and booby traps are causing many casualties among the displaced people in general, unidentified explosives pose the greatest danger to children.”

He said that the need for educating all children in the Northeast on Mine awareness was felt acutely, and with the permission of the Sri Lankan government, the UNICEF decided to introduce MRE in the school curriculum.

Statistics show that more than 2 million mines are buried in the war-affected Northeast. The United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) and many countries including the United Kingdom (UK), Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Thailand and India are assisting in de-mining the region.

The Humanitarian De-mining Unit (HDU) is engaged in de-mining with the assistance of the Tamils’ Rehabilitation Organization (TRO). International de-mining groups such as the Halo Trust (UK), F.S.D.(Switzerland), N.P.A (Norway), MAG(UK) , DDG (Denmark), Sarvothra (India) are also engaged in de-mining the Northeast.

In the book launch event Friday, the UNICEF’s resident representative for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Mr. Ted Chaiban, the Vavuniya Government Agent Mr. K. Ganesh, the UNICEF’s Vavuniya regional head Mr. I. A. Hameed, Vavuniya Divisional Secretary Mr. S. Satyaseelan, The Northeast Provincial Education Director Mr. Mahendran, Deputy Zonal Education directors for Vavuniya North and South participated.

Also present were Ms. Leonie Barnes, a technical assistant at the De-mining Office Vavuniya, representatives of International and National Volunteer Organizations, representatives of De-mining groups, students, teachers and principals.

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