Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka’s Grass Roots Fund has now helped improve the quality of life for more than 10,000 people across dairy farming communities in Sri Lanka.
The dairy co-operative behind the Anchor brand launched the fund to help build more sustainable communities in areas where it collects milk. Since the fund started in 2014 it has contributed over Rs. 23 million towards a series of projects in these communities.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, together with partners Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and Kansarmen Sri Lanka Foundation, have already completed 10 projects across three provinces this year.
One of these projects was the construction of a new classroom at Wilimbula Vidyalaya, a school in Henegama attended by children of Fonterra’s farming families. The project was identified together with the President of the Malwatta Hiripitiya Dairy Farmers Association, Kithsiri Peiris, who is a past pupil of the school.
The school was already attended by 260 children, but was unable to accommodate 45 children who would have had to find other schools further away or stay at home until a place became available.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka worked with its partners to build a new classroom to accommodate the additional children. The Fonterra team also participated in a Shramadhana together with parents and teachers, to paint the new classroom as well as the play area.
Wilimbula Vidyalaya Principal, Lalitha Sirimanna said, “I find it hard to find the words to convey our appreciation and how much our community values this project, which has provided 45 more children with access to education.
“Our parents would never have been able to invest in a classroom as most of them face financial difficulties. The Fonterra team visited us several times to check on the progress and helped us in fulfilling our dream.
“Education is essential in achieving the goal of sustainable development in Sri Lanka. By helping small schools like this, it will lay the foundation towards this journey,” she added.
Managing Director of Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka, Sunil Sethi said, “We are committed to building a stronger dairy industry in Sri Lanka, and as part of this we believe it’s important to support our dairy communities to make a real difference.
“Since 2014, we have been involved in projects that create a long term impact, enriching the lives of more than 10,000 children, teachers, dairy farming families and community members. Together with our partners, we look forward to continuing our support through the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund for years to come,” said Sethi. The Fonterra Grass Roots Fund has worked with a range of strategic partners since the programme’s inception. For example, it partners with Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement to identify Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and other infrastructure development needs in dairy communities, collaborating to improve facilities and infrastructure.
The Fonterra Grass Roots Fund also works with the Kansarmen Foundation to provide water and sanitation needs for dairy communities.