Just the facts....
Status: Complete

School: Vellankulam Government Tamil Mixed School

Country: Sri Lanka

Province: Mannar

Village: Vellankulam

Matching Donor: Anonymous

Partner: Room to Read

Year: 2011

Grades: 1-9

Students: 214 Students

Vellankulam Government Tamil Mixed School established September 2011


The New School!

Vellankulam Community Profile

The village of Vellankulam is located in Mannar District, 340 kilometers north of Colombo. This region was greatly affected by war, and as a result many of the roads are in poor condition. Due to the neglected condition of the roads, it takes about nine hours to reach the village from Colombo.

The school is located in the village of Vellankulam, in 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 resulted in the displacement and destruction 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 Vellankulam 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 as well. The shelters consist of temporary tin sheet sheds or semi-permanent houses built by the government or INGOs. The villagers are dependent on farming as their main source of income and many of them work for daily wages. Drinking water is obtained from dug wells and there is no electricity supply in this village. Presently the government is involved in rebuilding the village infrastructure.


Reasons for building a new school block

This school serves students in grades one through nine. Though there are five school buildings, only three are in a good condition. Due to a lack of safe learning spaces, the classrooms are overcrowded. Two classes are conducted on the corridor of the building. Since the classrooms are overcrowded, there is poor light and ventilation. Because of the poor infrastructure, some parents do not send their children to school. As part of the resettlement program, the government of Sri Lanka asked for Room to Read's support in constructing a new school building in this village.

The new school project

The new school building is a spacious 1,500-square-foot building with lots of light and good ventilation. This is a single story building with three classrooms and a storage room. Room to Read provided 40 desks and 80 chairs for primary students, 80 desks and chairs for secondary students, and 3 table and chair sets for the teachers. The new school building is painted to match the existing building at this school. It is an attractive addition to this community and garners a lot of positive attention.
First of all we would like to say thank you to Room to Read and to the donor, because this school has been functioning without enough facilities; some existing buildings were damaged by war. We don't have enough spaces for learning and none of the existing buildings have partitioned classrooms. Therefore, the teachers have found it very difficult to teach the children, as other classes are sources of distraction. During rainy days, we could not conduct classes. With the help, support, and guidance of Room to Read, we have been able to complete a building with modern facilities. And for that, we thank Room to Read and the donors who have supported us unconditionally. May God bless Room to Read and the donors to help needy communities.
The school principal, who is also president of the School Construction Committee