In an effort to cultivate a sense of environmental responsibility and advance sustainable development among young minds, Gamini Dissanayake Model School in Pallewaththa, in collaboration with the Divisional Sectarian Office, has embarked on a transformative program in conjunction with the Good Hands Initiative. The initiative focuses on an inspiring school-based environmental project centered around the cultivation of coconut trees.
This forward-thinking project was initiated through the invitation of Mr. Aruna Jayathilaka, Officer of the Social Service Department in Hasalaka. His association with the Good Hands Project paved the way for a meaningful collaboration with educational institutions in Hasalaka, starting with Gamini Dissanayake Model School located in the Pallewaththa GN division. Since October 2023, the dedicated officers of the Good Hands Project, working in tandem with Principal Mr. Saman, have been diligently crafting a tailored program for the school. Their steadfast commitment and efforts garnered the endorsement and support of the Principal and the Hasalaka Divisional Education Office after fruitful discussions in October 2023.
Gamini Dissanayake Model School, situated in the remote and isolated area of Hasalaka, serves as a high school catering to students from grades 01 to 11. Notably, a considerable number of these students actively engage in sports and athletics, showcasing remarkable talents despite the absence of a dedicated sports teacher. Their prowess is evident not only in academic pursuits but also in extracurricular activities, a fact highlighted through their participation in the Good Hands program.
During the final week of October 2023, the Good Hands team commenced their project activities within the school premises, receiving an overwhelming response. Teachers, parents, and a majority of students in grades 6 and 7 eagerly participated. The project began with guest speakers addressing prevalent agricultural challenges, potential solutions, and strategies, emphasizing coconut cultivation. The Good Hands team took center stage, delivering insightful lectures, conducting Q&A sessions, and presenting on the initiation and proper management practices of coconut cultivation, including effective pest and disease management.
A pivotal moment of the day was the active involvement of students who, under the guidance of the Good Hands team and dedicated teachers, participated in planting coconuts. To reinforce this learning experience, a Coconut seed nursery was established, filled with coconut seeds ready for cultivation by eager hands. As a lasting resource, the “Good Hands Coconut Cultivation Handbook” was presented to the Principal for the school library and distributed to all participants. Simultaneously, a quiz competition was organized for grade 6 students, with winners receiving school stationery as gifts from the GHI. In appreciation of their unwavering commitment and interest in the program, participating parents were gifted coconut seedlings as tangible reminders of their dedication to sustainable development.