In the latter half of 2022, Minuwangoda Regional Secretariat and Dewalapola Agricultural Service Center applied for a program from the good hands project in their area. At the end of the preliminary stage, discussions we conducted with Regional Secretary, Mrs. Tanuja Rajakaruna, Minuwangoda and Dewalapola Regional Agricultural Development Officer, Mr. Sujeeva Kalugampitiya, led to a school-related programme.
Among the schools of the Minuwangoda Education Division, Balabowa Junior College, which is prominent in terms of educational activities and extracurricular activities, is located in the area called Dewalapola and slightly outside the Minuwangoda city area. Nearly 300 students study here, most of whom belong to families of average economic level. We implemented this programme in the last week of February 2023 to the school’s students, teachers, members of the rural farming association and the villagers.
Balaboa Junior School
Minuwangoda Regional Secretary, Minuwangoda Coconut Development Officer, Area Agricultural Research Officer, Dewalapola Farmers Union President, Principal, teachers and parents, as well as students studying in grades 8-9-10-11 of the school, participated in our programme with the invitation we gave. First of all, good hands project officers gave a series of awareness on “Coconut Cultivation and the Future of the Country” to the gathering. Information on the damage and remedies of the coconut white fly, which is spreading rapidly around coconuts in Sri Lanka, was especially updated here.
Then we gave practical exercises to students about the activities from a coconut seed to planting a coconut tree and assigned them. Here we could build a seed nursery of about 100 coconut seeds for the school students by their own hands. At the end of that session, we implemented a “Kapruka” planting programme on the school premises with the support of all those present.
We presented the “Good Hands Coconut Cultivation Manual” to the library to further study students and distributed it to all those involved in the programme. In the end, coconut seeds for nursery and coconut seedlings for planting were distributed to the farmer society members, village parents and school teachers who participated in the programme in appreciation of their interest in the concept of good hands and their contribution to the programme.
Sri Sunandarama ancient Temple
Sri Sunandarama ancient temple is located in the centre of Balabowa village and is different from the usual temples. The reason is that the prelates of that temple are engaged in the agricultural activities of the premises, not second to the religious activities. Chief prelate Kande Kumbure Nandasara Thero showed great respect for our project and contributed to the programme implemented in the school from the beginning. At the end of the project, we donated coconut seedlings and seeds for planting in the temple premises as a mark of respect to that Chief prelate.