COLOMBO – More than one thousand school children from forty different schools in northern Sri Lanka have today received US$ 35,000 worth of sporting equipment thanks to the generous donation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to the United Nations World Food Programme.
The donation from the IOC – the first of its kind to WFP in Sri Lanka - includes footballs, tennis kits, badminton racquets, table tennis bats, volleyballs and sports
t-shirts and caps. The items will be distributed amongst pupils in schools where WFP’s School Meals Programme is implemented, many of whom come from resettled/returnee households. These schools had either been badly damaged or destroyed during the conflict, and have re-opened in the past few years.
Speaking at a handover ceremony at Kilinochchi Central College, WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Sri Lanka, Azeb Asrat, welcomed the donation from the IOC, noting that taking part in sporting activities, not only helps maintain a healthy life, but also contributes to improving the cognitive capacities of growing children. Sports also foster peace and reconciliation in post-conflict settings.
“This being an Olympic year, perhaps these sports kits will also help and inspire some children to realize their dreams of taking part in future Olympic Games, representing Sri Lanka,” Ms. Azeb also remarked.
Also attending today’s ceremony were the Minister of Sports. Honourable Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, other senior government officials, and Kapila Jeewantha, Executive Committee Member of the Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee. Principals from beneficiary schools and their students also participated in the ceremony, during which traditional dances and songs were performed.
Under its School Meals Programme, WFP is currently providing a mid-morning meal to 160,000 school children in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.
For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org):
Paulette Jones, WFP/Sri Lanka, Tel. +94 11 4 740350/1/3, Cell + 94 0 7729 10076
Diluka Piyasena, WFP/ Sri Lanka, Tel. +94 11 4 740350/1/3, Cell + 94 07731 78244