In celebration of its 60th anniversary, Atlas Axillia Co. has launched the SipSavi scholarship program for underprivileged children in partnership with the Department of Probation and Child Care Services of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Security.
The program is expected to facilitate underprivileged children who do not have means to continue education. The initiative will provide the education opportunity for 200 students for a period of five years.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Atlas Axillia Co. and Commissioner of the Department of Probation and Child Care Services recently. Additional Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Security, Nilmini Herath was also present.
Atlas Axillia’s SipSavi scholarships will infuse fresh hope for children in need. As the statistics show, the number of school drop-outs continues to increase over the years and lack of funds has been identified as the key reason in this regard, Commissioner Chandima 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 programs 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,” she said.
The SipSavi initiative will financially assist 200 children in Grades 7-11, 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 GCE Ordinary Level examinations and will be awarded up to a period of five years.
Managing Director of Atlas Axillia Co. Asitha Samaraweera said, “The scholarship program 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 training, 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,” he said.
The 200 recipients of the SipSavi scholarships will be selected through a committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Women and 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 alignment with its 60th anniversary, the company will contribute 60 cents from every Atlas 160-page book sold as a donation to support the SipSavi initiative.