The Hemas Outreach Foundation (HOF) launched a coffee table book in celebration of 20 years of its flagship project, Piyawara, a national initiative focusing on Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in Sri Lanka by nurturing young children with good care, in order to provide a solid foundation for a lifelong journey. The coffee table book, which charts the Piyawara journey from its inception to its status as an indelible presence in Sri Lanka’s charitable landscape of today, is designed to highlight the heart of the Piyawara mission exemplified through 20 stories in 20 years and detail its support of the nation’s most vulnerable children through two decades, demonstrating the strength of a truly successful Government-private sector partnership that has addressed a national issue.
The Piyawara story began in 2002, when the Hemas Group launched the initiative in partnership with the Children’s Secretariat of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs with the aim of nurturing underprivileged children and providing them a solid foundation in life.
Signifying the initial steps taken by a child at the beginning of the journey through life, Piyawara to date has constructed 62 pre schools across the country, which have been handed over to the Local Government authorities, through which qualified teachers are appointed. With these Local Government authorities handling general maintenance of schools, Piyawara conducts annual residential teacher training programmes in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to ensure that high-quality early learning is provided to the children attending the school. In addition, annual parental awareness programs are conducted in the Piyawara preschools to educate parents on the importance of ECCD.
Piyawara embodies United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 whereby providing inclusive and equitable quality education for all, considered fundamental to creating a peaceful and prosperous world.
As Piyawara continues its core mission of enriching the lives of underprivileged children through creating child friendly preschools across the country, it stands today as a valuable initiative with deep community roots.
Speaking on this move to mark 20 years of Piyawara, Shiromi Masakorala, Executive Director of Hemas Outreach Foundation said, “As Piyawara marks two decades in service, the publication of this coffee table book will serve as a commemoration of all that the initiative has achieved. This book encapsulates the legacy of Piyawara as it exhaustively details the journey, major accomplishments, and key successes of the initiative. The Piyawara dream is to bring imagination, excitement, and curiosity to learning, while imparting knowledge and life-skills to thousands of children including those in marginalized rural communities, who pass through the doors of our 62 child friendly Preschools.”
Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group CEO of Hemas Holdings PLC said, “For 20 years, the Hemas Outreach Foundation has contributed to eliminating inequality by setting up an eco-system across the island that allows access to education to children in vulnerable and marginalized communities. As we continue our journey in empowering and equipping our children to aspire for more to live a better tomorrow, we are committed to building an inclusive society where no child is left behind. We owe the success of this initiative to the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and its many partners who gave us the necessary tools to sustain a project of this magnitude.
Under the guiding arm of Hemas Outreach Foundation, Piyawara has served the nation’s children in a project that has empowered communities to address the pressing national issue of the education of children. It now stands as a testament to the power of a concentrated effort in uplifting the nation’s children to impact their lives from the foundations.