‘Sampath Pasala’ is a long-term CSR effort where Sampath Bank will reach out to one selected underprivileged school of a rural setting in each province of Sri Lanka and develop it into a model school while equipping it with required infrastructure, trained teachers with an understanding of modern teaching techniques and other necessities for a prosperous school. The pilot project of ‘Sampath Pasala’ was thus recently launched at Ba/ Kandegama Kanishta Vidyalaya, located in Rideemaliyadda, Badulla.
Sampath Bank PLC Deputy General Manager Human Resources Aruna Jayasekara said, “When thinking about a CSR initiative, we at Sampath Bank put ourselves in the shoes of those in need. ‘Sampath Pasala’ was therefore inspired by this instinct not just to provide school children with resources to good education and well-being, but also, going a step further, to enlighten the parents and teachers on various ways they could improve their way of life with our assistance.”
“To launch ‘Sampath Pasala’, we selected Ba/ Kandegama Kanishta Vidyalaya for many reasons. As the school is located in a very remote area that is geographically and socially isolated, we identified crucial problems during one of our first visits to the school. One, was the lack of clean water facilities for drinking and sanitation. We also noticed that a significant number of children were unhealthy with low Body Mass Indexes and this significant percentage of students remained frequently absent due to illnesses, caused by being in an unhealthy environment.
Thereby, we dedicated our initial efforts to take on a water project that provided the school children with clean water for drinking and sanitation. In order to tackle the problem of absentees, we then conducted a Foster Parent Program where volunteers from Sampath Bank contributed to providing a balanced breakfast for students. As a result of these collective efforts, a significant improvement took place in the attendance from 40% (before our intervention in July 2015) to 100% as at today.
The school provides education to about 182 students from Year 01- 12 and is steered by a group of teachers and a visionary principal who are whole heartedly dedicated, committed and eager to provide the best of education to the students in order to build a better future for the students and the school itself. “This was another driving factor towards our contribution to the school and it is humbling to say that during the short span of time we engaged and worked with the principle and the staff, and have been able to uplift the conditions of the school and education of the children, making Kandegama Kanishta Vidyalaya a benchmark among schools in the region”, said Aruna.
At Kandegama Kanishta Vidyalaya, Sampath Bank implemented a Monthly Monitoring System with student performance indicators which enabled teachers to identify students who were falling behind in class and therefore provide them with extra assistance. The students who were to sit for the Grade 5 Scholarship exam participated in a special seminar which mentally prepared them to face the examination confidently and taught them various tactics to tackle and answer questions efficiently. Students were also provided with Past Papers from Colombo in order to well-equip them before exams. The bank also actively engaged with the students of the school by conducting a workshop on Handwork where members of the Sampath Team worked together with students from Grade 1-5 to demonstrate different ways of designing “Origami” artwork and rewarded the best designs produced by the students.