The Ivory Foundation supports “CIELO”, one of the winners of the 2019 call for projects, in a project to promote pre-school education in rural Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is ranked 73rd out of 188 countries listed in the latest United Nations human development report (UNDP, 2016). But it is above all a country which had to face for 3 decades a civil war which opposed until 2009, the government dominated by the Sinhalese majority Buddhist (70% of the population) and the separatist organization of the Tigers whose the Tamil ethnic group practices Hinduism (20% of the population) but also Islam (10% of the population). According to the UN, this armed conflict has claimed between 80,000 and 100,000 lives and more than 150,000 people are missing. It mainly affected the North and East provinces of the country. At the same time, in December 2004, the country was also one of the most severely affected by the tsunami, which killed 31,000 people. The eastern province was also the main affected.

The community nursery school in the village of MAHAMAR (district of TRINCOMALEE, located in the north-east of the island) was created by the parents of the students themselves and they pay the local teacher with their own resources, without help of the Sri Lankan state. Despite the difficulties encountered given the degree of poverty of the families, they collect the sum of 500 rupees per month per child (equivalent to € 2.50 at the current exchange rate) in order to pay the teacher up to 2,000 rupees per month (10 €) and buy some teaching materials.

This project allowed the renovation of the school building which was very deteriorated. A protective fence has been installed as well as toilets. The school was also equipped with fun and educational materials. Outdoor games promoting physical education and the mobility of young students have also been built and installed in the school yard.