Eravur: Building A Sustainable Community

DSC_0578Eravur, located on the east coast of Sri Lanka and 320km from Colombo, is home to an initiative between Qatar Academy and the Eravur Educational Development Institute. The two collaborate to run an after-school program in English and ICT. Not only is EEDI focusing on education, but also on community development such as providing lights to homes by installing water bottles on the roof. EEDI is also helping special need students and orphans who lost their parents to the 2004 tsunami.

In a region that suffered so much during the last 20 years, including a civil war, to educate the youth would sustainably re-build their community. The struggle between the Tamil Muslims and Hindus during the civil wars claimed many lives on both sides in the area, leaving many widows raising children alone and many children growing up as orphans.

Started in 2005, Qatar Academy had the vision to integrate and link the divided community in Eravur through education. Today, Hindu teachers are teaching Muslim students at the school – something never thought possible.

Together, Cameron Janzen, Head of THIMUN Qatar; Dr Hedger, previous Director for Qatar Academy and Ansar Mohammed, Facility Manager at QA and founder of EEDI as an NGO, realized what was at first an idea, became something so much greater. Janzen believes that “we can’t change the world, but we can change a community in Sri Lanka”.

The club that helps raise awareness and money for EEDI is called “QA Action”. It is mostly student run with participation from Janzen as well as Kay Mitchell, another teacher who felt passionately about the cause and gave the presentation about Eravur today.

Since it’s opening, EEDI welcomed more than 170 students. Today, the number skyrocketed to over 350 in just a few short years, and is growing rapidly. This is all possible due to the commitment of students at Qatar Academy all the way from primary to senior school. Because of this, a new plot of land had to be purchased to house a new school.

The initiative is without a doubt a success. This is evident through students who attended the school achieving the highest exam results in the area. The local government also awarded the school as the Best Educational Institution in the area.

Moreover, the initiative is a two-way experience. Qatar Academy provided with the resources, materials and finance to run the school. EEDI in return provides priceless cultural experience and learning experience for visiting students from Qatar Academy.

See the bigger picture.

Because of the overwhelming support, Qatar Academy and EEDI are able to start a new movement called ‘One woman per year’ where a local woman is given 25,000 rupees to start her own business. Because of this, these women are able to provide 50 to 70 percent of their family’s daily expenses. Their products includes woven baskets and food.

Moreover, more and more schools are becoming increasingly aware of the movement. For instance, Compass International School in Doha is following Qatar Academy’s footsteps and has provided the building of houses and wells for people in Sri Lanka.

 

 

By: Afif Haitsam