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New school building and water filters for villagers of Haburugala, Sri Lanka

November 2013 │ Sri Lanka

Villagers in Haburugala belong to one of the poorest communities in Sri Lanka. They make a living from agriculture, and usually only earn a daily wage. The spread of chronic kidney disease, previously only prevalent in the North Central Province, only adds to the woes of the villagers. According to medical experts, the disease is believed to be caused by agricultural pesticides gradually contaminating the water over the years. 400 farmer families, identified with the support of the divisional secretariat officials from four grama-seva divisions, were provided with drinking water filters. More than 2000 villagers are expected to benefit from the water filters.

Children in Haburugala attend school at Haburugala Maha Vidyalaya in the Monaragala District, approximately 175 kilometres from Colombo. The school, which houses 260 students, is six kilometres from the main road and only accessible by foot. The children walk the length of road daily to get to school. With the children coming from backgrounds of sheer poverty, at times the teachers have to use their personal funds to help the children so they can continue to attend school.

Deutsche Bank Colombo Branch provided funds to build  two classrooms, which also double as the school hall during functions and assembly. Prior to the construction, the classrooms housing grade nine and ten students were merely a tin shed that could not function during inclement weather conditions. The four existing toilets, which were unsanitary and rundown, were renovated and supplied with water, solving a long overdue hygiene need at the school.

On November 22, official handing-over ceremonies of the new school building and 400 drinking water filters were held,  with the participation of Deutsche Bank Colombo Branch Corporate Responsibility committee members, Education Department officials and area divisional secretariat officials amid a large gathering of villagers. The water filters were on display at the ceremony and the correct method of operating and maintaining the water filters to achieve the maximum benefit of the unit was demonstrated to villagers present.

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Last Update: December 17, 2013
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