In celebration of their 60th anniversary, Atlas Axillia Co. has launched the SipSavi scholarship programme for underprivileged children in partnership with the Department of Probation and Child Care Services of the Ministry of Women & Child Affairs and Social Security. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to initiate this partnership was recently signed by Asitha Samaraweera, Managing Director of Atlas Axillia Co. and Chandima Sigera, Commissioner of the Department of Probation and Child Care Services – Ministry of Women & Child Affairs and Social Security.
Addressing the issue of absenteeism from schools and its impact, Commissioner Sigera said, “Ensuring that all children in Sri Lanka receive an uninterrupted secondary education is vital for the progress of our nation and our ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations. However, as per the Activity Survey conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics, more than 22,000 children between the ages of 5 to 17 dropped out from school in 2016 alone. Financial difficulties and being from an underprivileged background were cited as major reasons for this drop-out rate. Hence, several programmes have been initiated by the Government to address this matter, and public-private partnerships such as this are invaluable to support and complement these national efforts.”
The SipSavi initiative will financially assist 200 children in Grades 7 to 11, who are at a high-risk level of dropping out from school due to extreme hardships such as being orphaned or belonging to a single-parent household. The scholarships will continue to support these 200 children until they sit for the G.C.E. Ordinary Level examinations and will be awarded up to a period of five years.
Speaking about the new scholarship programme, Asitha Samaraweera, Managing Director of Atlas Axillia Co. said, “As we celebrate 60 years of working to support the education and growth of our children, we felt a sincere need to contribute towards addressing a national issue that is affecting them, and thereby the future of our country. The SipSavi Scholarship Programme will ease the financial burden on children that need it the most, thereby enabling them to continue their secondary education. This initiative is the most recent in our efforts to support the education and development of our children, which range from teacher trainings, experiential learning events and workshops, and a 16-year long collaboration with the Ridi Viharaya in Ridigama to provide stationary supplies for over five thousand children every year.”
The 200 recipients of the SipSavi scholarships will be selected through a committee comprising of representatives from the Ministry of Women & Child Affairs and Social Security, the Department of Probation and Child Care Services and Atlas Axillia. Selection will be based on the data and information compiled by the Department, with priority being given to students more vulnerable to dropping out of school due to the loss of one or both parents. The progress of each of the scholarship recipients will be monitored through Child Right Promoting Officers of the Divisional Secretariats to ensure consistency in attendance and transparency.
In aligning with the Atlas 60th anniversary, the company will contribute 60 cents from every Atlas 160-page book sold as a donation to support the SipSavi initiative.
Atlas Axillia Co. (Private) Limited, formerly known as Ceylon Pencil Company (Private) Limited, was founded in 1959 and has since grown to become Sri Lanka’s market leader in school stationary. Fuelled by a passion for providing school children with essential tools for success, “Atlas” has created a strong connection with Sri Lankan consumers, being voted Sri Lanka’s most loved brand in 2017 and winning the prestigious National Quality Award in 2019 along with Asia Pacific Global Performance Excellence – Best in Class Awards 2019.