Help mitigate suffering of downtrodden

By Mohamed Haniff

Concerned over the controversial school uniform voucher system introduced by the government and the agony of down-trodden parents trying to make ends meet, community leaders appeal to the corporate sector, NGOs and affluent members of the public to make donations during Christmas for the benefit of needy children.

Former North-East Chief Minister Varatharajah Perumal told The Island that the government could not do everything and, therefore, the wealthy must come forward to help the less privileged.

"All NGOs, corporate bodies and wealthy individuals should come forward and help the down-trodden, especially the poor schoolchildren," Perumal said.

"And Christmas is a great time to be involved in meritorious acts like this," he said.

Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, Udaya Gammanpilla said that he, too, was against the uniform voucher system and understood the pain and agony of thousands of poor parents.

"I appeal to all who care for the poor schoolchildren to contribute whatever possible for them to purchase their uniforms and school books," he said.

Gammanpilla said Christmas and New Year were the ideal periods to get involved in charity.

Chief Trustee of the Davatagaha Mosque, Riyaz Salley told The Island that he would donate his December salary to needy students of schools in Colombo and urged others to follow suit.

"I will persuade all community leaders I know to make donations towards students’ welfare.

He said the Education Minister’s decision to provide vouchers, instead of school uniform material, had put the poorest of the poor in a difficult situation and that it was the duty of the rich to help the poor.

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