Swiss-aided school rehabilitation programme begins in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 November 2003, 14:40 GMT]
The Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) Wednesday inaugurated a rehabilitation programme for several schools in the Jaffna district, which had been destroyed in the two decades old war, by laying the foundation for a two-storied building for the Chavakachcheri-Nunavil West Government Tamil School. The school was destroyed in 1990 when the Sri Lanka Army launched its military operation to take control of the peninsula, sources said.

The Nunavil School presently is functioning in a private building with about eighty students and six teachers without basic facilities, education sources said.

The SDC is currently working on a substantial school rehabilitation programme, planned and implemented in close co-operation with the local education authorities, education sources said.

Under this programme, the Swiss Government has allocated 33 million rupees enabling the SDC to rehabilitate the Chavakachcheri Drieberg College, Jaffna Kalatty Government Tamil Mixed School, Chavakachcheri Ladies College and Nunavil West Tamil School. Switzerland will make 31 million rupees available for the rehabilitation of five additional schools and the current school rehabilitation programme is planned for 2003-2004, the Swiss embassy in Colombo in a press release said.

"The amount pledged by the Swiss Government at the Tokyo Donors Conference in June this year is US$ 20 million for 2003-2005, in the form of grants," the release said.

In response to the Oslo Donor Meeting, a Swiss Co-operation Office was established in Colombo earlier this year. In addition to the school rehabilitation programme, the SDC office also supports bilateral activities in the de-mining, resettlement and health sectors. Upto this year, Switzerland mainly funded humanitarian aid and development programmes in Sri Lanka run by multilateral partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and World Food Programme, and by Swiss NGOs. In response to the flood relief appeal in the south earlier this year, additional funding was channeled through the International Federation of Red Cross Societies, the press release said.

As clean drinking water is a problem in the region, SDC plans to install rain-water harvesting systems at both Chavakachcheri Drieberg College and Jaffna Kalatty school in order to provide students with potable water throughout the year, the press release further stated.

Messrs Ivan Hauri, Verena Noser and I.Blas Vurambon, respectively Country Director of the SDC, Co-ordinator and Project manager of the SDC, participated in the foundation-laying event at Nunavil West School.

In addition to the construction of a two-storied building, an existing building in the same compound is also to be rehabilitated, sources said.

Additional Director of Education Ms. Selvaranee Mahalingam, Thenmaradchchi Divisional Education Officer Mr.N.Sathyanathan and Building Engineer Mr.P.Sivapalan on behalf of the Provincial Department of Education were present at the inaugural event, sources said.

 

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