In February 2017 some of the trustees visited a little nursery school in the Gampaha District of Sri Lanka. The school is run privately by Harry, his wife and his daughter. Harry is a retired naval gunner and his wife and daughter are trained teachers. The school was built in 1992 by Harry on a small patch of land adjoining his house. He used his savings to build it and it has been his family’s passion ever since.

The school provides an education, daytime meals and day care facilities for the children of working mothers. The school is attended by young children from all religions between two and five years of age, including children with special needs. A number of these children come from deprived backgrounds and their families have great difficulty in providing the necessary funds for the children to attend the school. Over the years the school has provided the foundation for well over a thousand children to fulfil their potential and become successful in a number of different careers, including doctors, teachers and nurses.

Harry and his wife had never drawn a salary from this project. His daughter was the senior teacher and had drawn a small salary. There were two young classroom assistants who were given nominal sums. Harry and his wife had funded the school by asking only 1,500 rupees a month and donations of food from families who could afford it. This is a lower sum than the other schools in the region. However, due to the low charges the school became more difficult to run financially.

The FARS Chanmugam Trust now provides the full funding for the school. We now employ two teachers, two assistant teachers, a trainee teacher and a cook. They are all paid salaries that are commiserate with the roles they undertake. We have also refurbished the existing school by providing a new roof and windows. We do not charge the children and this is now the only nursery school in the region to offer free pre-school education, meals (breakfast and lunch) and day care facilities. Consequently the poorest in the community will be able to have their children educated from a young age.

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