February 14, Batticaloa and Trincomalee: Building educational opportunities for the children of the Eastern Province, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) renovated two schools in Nintavur and Soodaikkudah. Anthony Renzulli, the U.S. Embassy’s Head of Political Affairs, presided over the official ribbon cutting ceremony in Nintavur on February 12 while Public Affairs Officer David McGuire inaugurated the school in Soodaikkudah on February 14. Also participating were Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, State Minister of Health, Nutrition, and Indigenous Medicine Faizal Cassim, Eastern Province Education Ministry Secretary I.K.G. Muthubanda, Provincial Director of Education for Eastern Province M. T. A. Nizam, and Zonal Director of Education and Principal of the Soodaikkudah Barathi School Sivasubramaniam Kirupathas.
INDOPACOM invested more than 190 million Sri Lankan Rupees in these construction projects that directly benefit rural and under-served communities and engaged local school administration officials as partners in the construction, supporting local development and contributing to the education and future of Sri Lankan youth in Eastern Province.
The INDOPACOM construction project at the Al Mazhar Girls High School added 12 classrooms, a 35,000-liter rainwater harvesting system, and 17 additional bathroom stalls. The Al Mazhar Girls High School serves 1170 students. “This school represents a chance for Sri Lanka’s youth to learn, to examine, to challenge. It is especially important to offer these opportunities to young women and girls,” said Mr. Renzulli. “I’m pleased we can provide this assistance to the future female leaders of Sri Lanka.”
At the Soodaikkudah school, INDOPACOM funded the construction of five new classrooms and a 35,000-liter rainwater harvesting system. The classroom building incorporates an emergency shelter on the top floor, providing a safe location for local families in the event of a natural disaster. This project also created a new handicap-accessible toilet block with ten stalls.
“These school construction projects symbolize the commitment of the United States to building long term, sustainable partnerships with the people of Sri Lanka,” stated Mr. McGuire. “Empowering young Sri Lankans by improving their access to safe, quality spaces in which to learn is just one example of how we stand with the Sri Lankan government as it works to ensure equal rights and opportunity for all. The leaders of tomorrow are learning here today, and our hope is that they see how much more we can achieve when we work together as partners.”
These renovations illustrate the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Sri Lanka and represent the commitment of the United States to continuing a close relationship with Sri Lanka in the future.