Pupils raise more than £8K to build classrooms in Sri Lanka

Solihull Junior School pupils spent a week of fundraising to help rebuild part of a war-stricken school

Solihull Junior School pupils have raised more than £8,000 to rebuild a section of a war-stricken school in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, with the help of independent charity Assist Resettlement & Renaissance (Assist RR), a UK registered non-government organisation. 

The children, aged seven to 11, carried out a week of fundraising activities including book and accessory sales, a non-uniform day, a movie afternoon, a copper haul, a ‘tuck shop takeover’ and a staff v prefects football match to raise the sizeable sum – which totals £10,000 thanks to two generous donations of £1,000 from one current and one former Junior School family.

The donation is the latest in a succession for Solihull School and will help fund the construction of a block of four new classrooms in the Roman Catholic Tamil mixed-gender school in Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaithivu District.

The school has previously supported Assist RR with several other projects – including the rebuilding of other school wings in the district in Puthukudiyiruppu and Mullivaikkal West, and the funding of more than 400 cataract operations over the past 12 months across Sri Lanka.

It was during a visit to see these cataract operations taking place that the Head of Solihull Junior School, Mark Penney, visited the school and identified it as Solihull’s next charitable project.

The majority of the school’s buildings were decimated during the war, and whilst good progress has been made through Assist RR’s work with other donors, pupils still have no choice but to make regular use of an outdoor shelter which is structurally unsound, ill-equipped for learning and offers little protection against the elements – Mark Penney, Head of Solihull Junior School

He said: “The majority of the school’s buildings were decimated during the war, and whilst good progress has been made through Assist RR’s work with other donors, pupils still have no choice but to make regular use of an outdoor shelter which is structurally unsound, ill-equipped for learning and offers little protection against the elements.

“With the help of the school community, we have taken on the somewhat ambitious project of replacing the temporary structure with four permanent classrooms. Thankfully, we also have the support of Sri Lankan volunteer engineers, who have agreed to complete the job at cost price.”

In addition to the sizeable donation raised by pupils towards the costs of the rebuild, a further Pupils have also donated 167 pairs of football boots, Solihull’s uniform stockist, Early Years, supplied 60 new pairs of shorts and socks and a Junior School family kindly donated boxes of spectacle frames and optical equipment for the children currently studying in Puthukkudiyiruppu. 

I am incredibly grateful to the Solihull School community for their enormous contribution to this restoration project – Dr Velautham Sarveswaran, chairman of Assist RR

Dr Velautham Sarveswaran, chairman of Assist RR, said: “I am incredibly grateful to the Solihull School community for their enormous contribution to this restoration project. We share the school’s passionate belief in the transformative power of education, and are confident that the new classrooms will provide the ideal learning environment.” 

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