2nd Lead (Adds photos)

WFP expands school meals project in northeast

[TamilNet, Monday, 08 November 2004, 17:36 GMT]
''Standard of education in the North East has deteriorated due to the two-decade old war and malnutrition in children has further impacted the educational standards,'' said Mr.M.S.Jayasinghe, Secretary of Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction addressing the launching of School Feeding (Expansion) of the World Food Programme of United Nations at Nilaveli Tamil Maha Vidiyalayam located sixteen km off the east port town Trincomalee Monday.

WFP meal project
TNT Country Director Mr.Mohan Perera hands over cheque to WFP Country Director
Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge is the Minister of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.

'' Our President has assured all assistance to develop education and health facilities in the northeast province,'' said Mr.Jayasinghe.

Mr.S.Rangarajah, Chief Secretary of the North East Provincial Council (NEPC) said, before the war Jaffna produced academically highly qualified students. They entered universities on merit. But after the two-decade-old war less than twelve percent enter universities on merit indicating a decline of standard of education in the province.

WFP meal project
Students having meals after the launch of WFP's project
'' We are very pleased to provide assistance to an additional 100,000 children in 542 schools in the northeast, increasing the number of children in WFP school feeding program to 143,000 in 681 schools,'' said Mr.Jeff Taft Dick, WFP Country Director in Sri Lanka.

WFP began its first school feeding programme in Sri Lanka in September 2003, with a pilot project for 33,000 children in former war zones. The children have been getting a nutritious mid-morning meal of rice and lentil porridge or corn-soya cakes, both supplemented with vegetables. Children in the expansion areas of the programme will receive the same food, said WFP in its press release in connection with the launch that marked the start of school feeding in the districts of Killinochchi, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Trincomalee.

In these conflict-affected areas school age children have high malnutrition and illiteracy rates than the national averages, the press release added.

Under the school-feeding programme, WFP works with parents groups, which manage the cooking, and provision of meals.

WFP meal project
Nilaveli Tamil Maha Vidiyalayam band

WFP meal project
WFP partner organization TNT's Country Director Mr.Mohan Perera hands over plate of meals to a student.Mr.Jeff Taft Dick is seen in middle
WFP meal project
Guests garlanded and about to be taken in a procession

WFP meal project
A section of students attending the function

Additional support for WFP school feeding program came from Dutch based express mail and logistics company, TNT/TPG, which this year raised about US $3,000 for meals in schools in Sri Lanka. TNT/TPG staged a '' Walk the World'' charity event in June this year, led by spinner Mr.Muttiah Muralitharan in his first appearance as a WFP ''partner against hunger''

Mr.Mohan Perera, Country manager of TNT International Express handed over a cheque for the money collected in '' Walk the World'' project and submitted a report regarding the project to Mr.Jeff Taft Dick at the inaugural event.

NE Provincial Education Ministry Secretary Mr.R.Thiakalingam also spoke. Provincial Director of Education Mr.R.Visakalingam made the welcome address.


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