Throughout the last few months, during the good hands initiatives with the Matale district secretariat, foundation could be laid to organise a series of programmes related to coconut cultivation at some difficult schools in the area. As a result, our project officials discussed with the child protection officers of the District Secretariat and Matale District Secretary, Mrs. Madavi Hidagoda, about the upcoming programmes of good hands.
Matale District Child Protection Officer Mr. Buddhika Kalpa provided excellent support for the suggested activities. With him, good hands project officials investigated details about appropriate schools for programmes carried out in October. As a result, Dullewa village and Dullewa Maha Vidyalaya in the Yatawatta area were selected, and the programmes were organised throughout November.
Dullewa village and Dullewa Maha Vidyalaya
On November 30, 2022, at the end of the preliminary planning activities, the good hand team visited the Dullewa area. This school was located in a remote area outside the city of Mathale, and we could observe that more than 120 children with many economic complications were studying. There are presently 27 teachers working in that school, which has many shortages of resources and the parents of the 6th, 7th & 8th grade students also participated in the program with great interest.
We were welcomed by the teachers and students, and the first phase of the tri-part “good hands” programme was held at the college’s main auditorium. Mr. Ajith, a member of the Agricultural Development Board, representing the Yatawatta Provisional Secretariat; Mr. Nimal, the officer in charge of the Gramaseva domain; Mr. Buddhika, the officer of the District Child Protection Board; the Dullewa school principal Mrs. Renuka and the teachers and all the students of the school participated.
GHI officers and the guests present conducted a long series of awareness on coconut cultivation, the future of the country and how the nation can become self-sustained through cultivation. Before the end of the above series of speeches, awareness was held about the present epidemic conditions in coconut plantations, where the control of whitefly diseases was special.
After this, with the teachers’ help, GHI officials could convey coconut cultivation and related practical exercises to the students. The application of a nursery with 70 coconut seeds and covers as a measure to guard it took place amidst the children’s commitment. In the meantime, we carried out a series of coconut seedling planting programmes at the school’s backyard. The second phase of the programme ended after the parents consulting us about the concerns related to coconut cultivation they have faced with.
The program’s third phase commenced by presenting the “good hands coconut cultivation guide” booklets to the library to for the reference of students and teachers alike. Coconut seeds for the nursery, coconut seedlings for planting and handbooks were distributed to the parents and school teachers who participated at the programme.
Yatawatta District Secretariat
Mrs. D.R.K Hennayake, Yatawatta Divisional Secretary, who showed interest in the programme organised in the Dullewa DS division, praised the GH project. Accordingly, an invitation was received from the Divisional Secretariat to the good hands to organise programmes at a few more villages. Appreciating the good response to the project, a few coconut seedlings were distributed to be grown on the Secretariat premises.