Inspiring stories of poverty-stricken youngsters rising above difficulties to excel in their studies, brought tears and smiles to those in the audience.
Coming from families which existed on a meagre income, these children were in many cases malnourished and could not afford the expense of stationery, uniforms and shoes to go to school, until the Educate A Child Trust (EACT) came into their lives.
Last week on August 3 at a well-attended ceremony, the EACT went a step further to launch the Endowment Fund through which they hope to collect Rs. 100 million, which when invested is hoped will provide sufficient funds for the running cost of the project.
The brainchild of Dr. Pramilla Senanayake (or Dr. Pram as she is fondly called), the seeds of EACT were sown in 1984 while she was holidaying in Kalutara with her family and came across two little boys who could not attend school as they could not afford uniforms, books, pencils, and shoes. She realized that though free education was available in Sri Lanka, many of the families were too poor to buy even basic items, and thus unable to send their children to school.
Dr. Senanayake’s heartfelt wish is to set the project on a better financial footing. Hence, the launch of the Endowment Fund which saw the participation of the EACT trustees and many other well wishers.
Sponsors will be able to provide a one off donation which will make them lifetime sponsors. Three categories of donations are available. Category one- Platinum (those committing Rs. 500,000 or more), Category two- Gold (those committing Rs, 200,000 to Rs. 500,000) and Category three- Silver (those committing Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 200,000 ).
It was indeed heartening to see many come forward to make their pledge. The smartly dressed young people who spoke with confidence at the launch were shining examples of the good work done thus far, and of the potential that lies unleashed in many others.
Munir Samji, one of the trustees of the EACT in the UK who was present at the launch spoke of the dedication of those overseas too to support and motivate the children. “Children are the future, and educating them is instrumental for the development of the country” were his inspiring words.