She lives in a village which has no name board even today. The only major board one finds in her village on the Morawaka-Deniyaya road in the southern
province is that of M. D. Yapa Vidyalaya, Waralla.
This school, which commenced operations in the thirties through the initiative of a planter, M. D. Yapa, was elevated to a college in 2008
and grateful villagers requested unanimously at the parents-
teachers meeting to ask the Education Ministry to name it after the philanthropist. A fully equipped computer building gifted by
Mrs. M. D.Yapa and the family, was declared open and the name change effected officially by the Deputy Minister of Education in 2008.
Now two years later, after the GCE Advanced Level classes
commenced, one student, Vidanagamage Shyamali, has been successful in gaining admission to a university. She is from a very poor family, who lived in a mud hut. Her mother earns a living by plucking tea on a nearby estate. Her father died in 1995.
After her success at the exam, a proud village contributed to help build a house for her. It still needs doors and windows but at least now she has a roof over her head.
The Sri Lanka Book Publishers Association has now come to her aid by granting a monthly
scholarship to meet part of her expenses at university. This comes from the Daru Diriya Fund, established from the proceeds of ticket sales at the Colombo Book Fair.
Last Saturday, (Sept 18), Shyamali received the
scholarship from the Daru Diriya Fund Trustee, BMICH Director General Bandula Ekanayake and the official Bankers, Sampath Bank, in the presence of the Chief Guest, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, at the Colombo International Book Fair.