Dompe, popular for its red and juicy “Malwana Rambutan”, remains so for very many long decades. Amidst that fruity fame, Link Natural Products (LNP) is nestled, not only as the leading herbal product manufacturer and award winning exporter of herbal healthcare products in the country, but also as the “change agent” in knowledge generation among school children in Dompe.
Dompe still remains a low income, remote electorate, not very far from Colombo and Gampaha, two major urban centres, with the highest per capita incomes in the country. Dompe has many archaeologically interesting sites with Attanagalla and Warana dating back to the period of King Sirisangabo. Life seemed as old in Dompe, with little interest paid, in moving with the new world. So is education.
The affluent in Dompe seek education for their children in Colombo or in Gampaha. The majority remain in Dompe. Parents, children and teachers had little motivation in gearing themselves to compete in this modern world. LNP that for over 25 years served Dompe with employment generation, moved in over a year ago, to provide a sample of schools with extra resources to make them competitive, not only at public exams, but also in moulding their pupils as confident and competent personalities in the future.
Schools in Dompe were no different to those in any backward area. Regular dropping out at different grades, remained an accepted trend. High absenteeism was an added, pre drop out culture. Obviously, the O/L results were way below the national average of 47% total passes. Results at A/L exam was therefore a reflection of the O/L performance. Lack of teachers for important subjects in some schools and necessary facilities were also issues. Parental passivity was another.
With prior approval and much appreciation from education officials and consistent liaising with parents and past pupils, LNP was able to get the community around 07 schools brought under its care, approach education with a new interest. Programmes on leadership development, helped children rid their slumbering life and move to high gear.
Adding new teaching resources from outside to reduce stress on already burdened teachers, gave relief to the staff and a new advantage to children who were preparing for the O/L exam.
New inputs in using IT as a tool in teaching and learning, made the school feel modern.
It remains a multi faceted programme that made all stakeholders, children, teachers, principals, parents, past pupils and also education authorities gain confidence and work towards a competitive future with a new hope.
A new collective thinking that makes the LNP effort sustainable and worthy of replication elsewhere.
An effort that brought LNP the Best Corporate Citizen’s Award for Education and Training from Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, this year.