Just the Facts...
Status: Complete

School: Gowry Ambal Government Tamil Mixed School

Country: Sri Lanka

Province: Mannar

Village: Thiruketheeswaram

Matching Donor: Anonymous

Partner: Room to Read

Year: 2010

Grades: 1-10

Students: 136 Students

The Gowry Ambal School was completed in 2011


Thiruketheeswaram Community Profile

The school is located in the village of Thiruketheeswaram in Sri Lanka's Mannar District. This district, one of five administrative districts in the Northern Province, is located in northwestern Sri Lanka. It covers 2,002 square kilometers, approximately 3% of the total land area of Sri Lanka. Geographically, the bulk of Mannar lies on the mainland within the arid and dry zone. High temperatures and low rainfall characterize the climate. The monthly temperatures range between 26.5°C and 30.0°C, with highs normally recorded between May and August. Mannar receives nearly 60% of its rainfall during the northeast monsoon, which lasts from October through December. The land area is relatively flat and sits at low elevations. Across the region's gently undulating terrain, rainwater is stored in tanks and used for irrigation of arable land. Crop cultivation (primarily paddy), fisheries and animal husbandry support most people in Mannar. Employment opportunities in the district are highly seasonal, and there are no institutional facilities for tertiary education. The district is inhabited by members of various communities, though the Tamil-speaking community is the most prevalent.
The last thirty years of conflict in the region have compelled the displacement of large segments of the area's population. War has destroyed the region's infrastructure, displacement has left communities without homes, and the jungle has swallowed formerly populated areas.
The residents of Thiruketheeswaram are very poor due to the decades-long war. Displaced on multiple occasions, these villagers have lost their houses, their belongings, and many of their loved ones. The shelters consist of temporary tin sheet sheds built by the government or INGOs. The villagers are dependent on cultivation as their main source of income and many of them work for daily wages. Drinking water is obtained from dug wells, and the village is without an electricity supply. Presently the government is involved in de-mining the village and rebuilding the infrastructure.

The Prior School

Old Classroom
Gowry Ambal Government Tamil Mixed School consists of two buildings and teaches students up to the tenth grade. One building is permanent and was recently renovated; the other is a temporary structure provided by the government. Because the classrooms are overcrowded and lack partition walls, the children are easily distracted and the teachers have difficulty conducting classes. For these reasons, classes are often held outdoors under the trees. Since the development of infrastructure is necessary to encourage resettlement in the village, officials from the Department of Education have enlisted Room to Read and Opportunity For All to provide a suitable building for the students.

The New School Project

The new school building has a total area of 2500 square feet and consists of five 400-square foot classrooms and a 500-square foot corridor. The new building was constructed with cement block walls, a cement floor, and a clay tile roof mounted on a timber frame.
- Land donated by the Department of Education
- Site clearing and excavation of foundation
- Unskilled labor for construction work
- Construction of roof covering
- Digging of toilet pit
- Construction management and maintenance by community

- School design, project management, and technical support and supervision - Funds for school construction and skilled laborers
- Interior furnishings such as desks, chairs, chalkboards, cupboards, etc.
- Construction and maintenance training for the community