Special Education Project – MJFCF initiates project to enhance education of plantation school children
The MJF Charitable Foundation is currently supporting Ordinary Level students in 22 schools in the Talawakelle Educational Zone with additional classes and model examinations to enable them to face the Ordinary Level examinations. Already, the results are evident as the Talawakelle Zone has been identified as most successful Educational Zone in the Nuwara Eliya District. This initiative was introduced subsequent to a request made by the in- service coordinator of the Nuwara Eliya Education Zone.
The initiative began with model examinations for 950 Ordinary Level students way back in May, 2010 and two batches of students have already completed the Ordinary Level examination since then. Dilmah Partner, Noramix Group of Norway was instrumental in funding the costs of the test papers at the beginning. Each month model examination papers for English, Mathematics and Science are distributed among the recipient schools in Talawakelle. The feedback from students show that these model examinations have helped them and motivated them to sit for the final examination in December with confidence. The papers are set based on the current school curriculum and simulate the final examination. The model examinations also give teachers the ability to evaluate progress of the students and point out strengths and weakness monthly.
The Dhiriya Centre
The Dhiriya Centre in Siyambalanduwa provides free vocational training classes in computer and dress making for youth and revision classes in key subjects for students sitting for their GCE Ordinary Level Examinations. Situated in Monaragala, officially the least developed among Sri Lanka’s administrate districts; a majority of the recipients are poor and would not have been able to afford training if not for the MJFCF initiative. The Dhiriya Centre is a source of hope for youth as it gives them an opportunity to enhance and receive skills which would help them become gainfully employed in the future.
MJFCF Scholarship Scheme for students in Dilmah plantations
A unique scholarship scheme to support the children of Dilmah Plantations workers began way back in 2004 under the MJF Charitable Foundation. This scheme which commenced initially to support Advanced Level students evolved overtime to include students who gain entrance to university. In January 2012, the scheme awarded its 100th university scholarship to the daughter of a Dilmah plantation worker who gained entrance to a local university. Advanced Level students who receive 5 A’s or more at their Ordinary Level examinations are supported for a two-year period while deserving students who gain entrance to university are supported for a three-year period. In total, over 200 scholarships have been awarded to deserving students so far.
Mankada Pottery Centre
Mankada is an initiative of the MJF Centre for Empowerment through Traditional Arts & Crafts which was set up primarily to support and empower marginalised communities living on the periphery of the Udawalawe National Park in south eastern Sri Lanka. Mankada produces one of a kind handmade terracotta kitchenware, replicas of animals, pendants, mugs, teapots, tea bag holders and a variety of beautiful and original craft. The art is inspired by the Udawalawe National Park in the vicinity, home to many species of endemic fauna and flora. These ethical handmade products are marketed to consumers worldwide through the Dilmah distributer network.
The MJF Kids Programme
The MJF Kids Child Development programme for over 120 children living in urban slums in the vicinity of MJF Group factory premises in Sri Lanka aims to inspire hope and realise the potential of these children. Their hopeless situation and lack of opportunities often stand in the way of these children realising their true potential. Through the MJF Kids Programme the children receive extra classes to support their education, leadership training and nurturing their aesthetic skills. They gather daily after school at their designated MJF Kids Centre for guidance by caring teachers. The children receive training in essential life skills and are provided with much needed psycho-social support. Through the Voice of the MJF Kids news magazine and the MJF Kids Blog (kids.mjffoundation.org) the children are given the opportunity to make their opinions count on subjects such as ethnic harmony and the environment, and to share their creativity with people around the world.
The Daskam Nivasa was set up in 2008 by the MJF Charitable Foundation to support the talented students of the School for Visual and Hearing Impaired in Moneragala with vocational training. While the School provides educational support to children and young adults, the Daskam Niwasa gives them a chance for a better future through empowerment in the form of vocational training. It also provides the students with a showroom where they are able to market their products.