From Sri Lanka: Delivering Books to War & Disaster Ravaged Areas
September 5, 2007
Nearly three years have passed since a Tsunami devastated Sri Lanka’s eastern, southern, and northern coasts. In addition to supporting other recovery activities, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program has helped to rebuild destroyed school and public libraries by providing 100,000 new, high-quality textbooks and children’s books.
Operating in Sri Lanka since 1956, Books for Asia has made a significant contribution to growth in literacy, expansion of English Language skills in Sri Lanka, and improved education. English has been re-introduced as a subject in Sri Lankan schools, and the books have encouraged students and teachers alike to improve their reading skills. English text books often provide more advanced instruction than books that are available in the vernacular languages, and students use the books to complement their government-recommended reading lists, as well as for more in-depth research. School and university teachers ” even ones who teach in the vernacular — often rely on these texts to prepare their lecture notes. Children’s picture books are coveted by children, parents, and teachers alike and are useful for teaching youngsters English.
After the Tsunami, Books for Asia worked with local partners to help identify and distribute books to all affected areas. Working alongside The Asia Foundation’s other tsunami recovery programs, Books for Asia distributed 100,000 books to local schools and libraries in tsunami-affected Eastern, Southern, and Northern Provinces of the island, to help rebuild those facilities. Specifically, along the southern coast, more than a thousand books were provided to libraries built by the NGO Sarvodaya in Tsunami-affected villages. In the southern towns of Hambantota, Hikkaduwa, and Galle, libraries were refurbished with hundreds of books, as was a new library reconstructed in the Vadamarachchi area of the Jaffna peninsula in the north.
More recently, Books for Asia identified 28 schools in the east affected by both the Tsunami and the resurgence of civil conflict to receive books. This commitment to provide tools for increased literacy and knowledge to areas ravaged by war and disaster continues. It is not just the schools, universities, and libraries that are benefiting from the thousands of donated books. Soon, mobile libraries in the form of retrofitted buses stocked with Asia Foundation books will be launched to help tsunami- and conflict-affected areas where English books are scarce and libraries are often run-down, thus ensuring that more Sri Lankans can advance their education, no matter where they live.
About our blog, In AsiaIn Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia's development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.
In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].
ContactFor questions about In Asia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].
The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
PO Box 193223
San Francisco, CA 94119-3223
THE LATEST ACROSS ASIA
Tackling South Asia’s Water Crisis: Can Civil Society Help?
September 21, 2016
Laos: Reaping the Benefits of a New Era of International Cooperation
September 21, 2016
Asia Foundation Trustee Kathleen Stephens to Receive Distinguished Friend of Korea Award
September 20, 2016
Asia Foundation Launches Let’s Read! E-Books for Cambodian Children
September 19, 2016