The Government of Sri Lanka concluded a successful week of Women’s Day Celebration Island wide. The Early Childhood Development Project is honored to have not only have worked with progressive women, but to have supported them in their endeavors within the ECD sector in the past 5 years.

Here we share two stories from the Early Childhood Development Officers of Nuwera Eliya District and Mannar District.

 

Mrs. J. S. Mark - Early Childhood Development Officer in Nanattan Division at Mannar District. She is one of the 439 Master Trainers the ECD Project has trained through its Training of Trainers Programme (Master Trainers) on Early Childhood Development that were conducted island wide.

 

 

“With a special degree in Sociology from the University of Jaffna, I chose the post of Early Child Development Officer because of its importance for the development of a child’s early years and my desire to help develop the future for our Children.

The villages in our Divisional Secretariat are those that were resettled after the civil war. This created the need for development in many areas and those of Early Childhood Sector. Preschools were necessary and demand for these resources were high. We also needed to raise awareness programme about Early Childhood Development.

There was a need to build pre-schools for children in our area and at the same time raise awareness on educating children and making them a better person, physically and mentally, to produce healthy offspring.

The Early Childhood Development Project supported us throughout these years. The training carried out by the Project for preschool teachers helped them to better understand how to raise healthy children.

The ECD Project, initiated island wide, trained all the ECD officers working in the early childhood sector. I too took part in this training program. The training given to us was very helpful in preparing us to train the pre-school teachers in our areas, the parents of the preschool children and all the people who work in connection with these preschools.

The project conducted Parental Awareness programs to the parents of the preschool children on how best to understand the children and for happy family life. These programs from the ECD Project strengthened the sector. The physical development of preschools in the village has grown tremendously since the launch of the Early Childhood Development Project.

The ECD Project provided the preschools with all the facilities required for a pre-school to function properly:

Preschool building repairs

Toilet facility

Water facility

Electrical facility

Appropriate learning materials and play materials as well as furniture for preschool children

 

I’m am happy to say that Early Childhood Development Project has helped 19 pre-schools in our area to better carry out pre-school development work.” 

 

Mrs. K. P. S. Deshani – Early Childhood Development Officer in Ambagamuwa Korale, Nuwera Eliya District. She has taken part in Parental Awareness programs carried out by ECD Project.

 

“The early childhood development is a complete investment for a wonderful future. I believe these few words is an apt description for this complex concept that we call early childhood development.

First and foremost, I am a woman, daughter, wife, mother, friend and a female officer. As a female officer I see that the preschool teachers that work with me are mostly female as well.

Modern women have shown us that the glass ceilings set up by the society for women can be broken and women can reach greater heights.

The Early Childhood Development Project has played a massive role throughout these years in empowering me and the women around me to break these glass ceilings and achieve our career goals.

Through facility improvement grants, training and awareness programs conducted by the ECD Project, emergency relief initiatives for our safety, the ECD project helped improve preschools and developed our knowledge base. I cannot measure the immense support given to us by the ECD Project, it is such a worthy cause.

In the year 2021, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, women around the country are given the opportunity to celebrate all of their achievements fully.

‘Rataki, Dayaki, Lowaki Aya’ ~ She is the country, is the nation, is the world’.”

To Celebrate International Women’s Day today, 8th March 2021, The Early Childhood Development Project is pleased to highlight some of the female stakeholders who have worked with the ECD Project and those who have benefited through the ECD project activities, by sharing their personal statements.

Working in rural underprivileged areas, facing difficulties in their personal and professional lives, these women have overcome many obstacles to not only achieve their own goals, but to help other women in the ECD Sector develop careers while helping to educate children in their early years. 

The ECD Project is honored to have supported these women in their careers and will continue to support them and many more women in the ECD sector through the ECD Project activities in the coming year.

                                                        

 

Mrs. Iresha Sanjeevani Suranjika - Early Childhood Development Officer - Uhana Division - Ampara

“I joined the Early Childhood Development sector while working as a Productivity Officer in my Divisional Secretariat.  As a government officer I experienced work satisfaction once I began working in the ECD Sector. Also as a woman and a mother I was eager to learn how best to raise children and how to work with them in their early years. In my capacity as an ECD Officer I work with women and children in 54 Grama Niladari Divisions which holds 70 preschools. In a rural underprivileged area such as Ampara, where many services, including the ECD services, are very limited or not developed at all, we encounter all kinds of issues faced by women within these Divisions and I find working with them and fulfilling these services successfully on their behalf, especially as a woman, a great privilege.

The Early Childhood Development Project has worked with Uhana Division since 2016. There were many under developed preschools here and the ECD project supported them in improving all ECD services, thus providing the children in my division a happy early childhood.

Furthermore, as I express my heartfelt gratitude to the continued support of the ECD project, I must say the ECD project has been a huge strength to me personally in helping me to carry out my duties in this sector and as a woman it has given me a lifetime worth of experiences in the service the ECD project delivered to our Division and supported me throughout these years. ”

                                                     

 Mrs. Madhushi Lakmali – District Coordinator – Kalutara

“These days most people put great effort into their careers but are constantly working under stress. However I must say as a woman I am happy to have selected this filed to work in. The early childhood development sector covers the time period from a mother’s pregnancy to the early years of her child. It helps to educates society on nutrition for the mother, nutrition for children, child protection, family development, and so much more that is essential for the betterment of family life and society.

The ECD support from the National Secretariat for Early Childhood Development and the Early Childhood Development Project provides us with not only the theoretical knowledge required for us to raise children well in their early years, but also gives us very practical information on our children’s nutrition, education, development and protection. Personally this has helped me in my own life.

Unlike other fields, this sector provides us with information to develop our own life, the lives of our own children and improve family life. In Sri Lanka, as a woman, I feel this is a very valuable area to work in and I find myself happy and fulfilled working in the ECD sector.”

 

Mrs. Damayanthi Perera – Preschool teacher – Singithi Kakula Preschool – Horana – Kalutara District

“In 2009 I opened my own preschool with just 9 children. As the years went by the number of children increased and I successfully continued to run my preschool.

Children who attend our preschools at the start are those who are not able even hold a pencil properly. But, after 2 years of education, when they leave our preschools, they have gained the ability to draw, play and take care of themselves properly. This is my most fulfilling achievement, to see children developing in their early years.

The Early Childhood Development project came to the aid of my preschool when we required more space to accommodate the increased amount of children that had joined the preschool. Through the parent committee I received the funds from the ECD Project to develop the school. We also received play materials and educational materials for the education of children. Furthermore, our underprivileged children were selected for the fee waiver scholarships program so that they can access ECD services and it has greatly improved the ECD services in our village. This further increased the number of children in my preschool and I am now able to say that I am the head teacher of a sizeable preschool in our village.

The ECD project also conducted in service short term teacher training program which I took part in. This was a great service for us. Through this program we received training to better understand how to raise children in their early years, new skills and methods to work with young children. After completing this training I was happy to come back to my preschool and apply my learning. These new methods taught us that there are greater educational distances that children can reach to when well trained teachers join the education field.”

 

 

 

 

In honor of International Women’s Day that falls on 8th March 2021, The Early Childhood Development Project will highlight some of the female stakeholders who have worked with the ECD Project and those who have benefited through the ECD project activities by sharing their personal statements.

The aim of these statements is to highlights the challenge these women have experienced as working mothers and as women officers/preschool teachers in the ECD sector and how the ECD Project have supported them in overcoming their challenges to achieve their career and life goals.

 

Here we have Mrs. Nayomi Madushika, Mrs. Abthul Majeed Ayesha and Mrs. Sandaruwani Samarakoon, three Early Childhood Development Officers who share their experiences working in the ECD sector. They are three of the 439 Master Trainers the ECD Project has trained through its Training of Trainers Programme (Master Trainers) on Early Childhood Development that were conducted island wide.

 

 

Mrs. Nayomi Madushika – Early Childhood Development Officer – Passara – Badula 

“As a working woman, like other working women, I too face many obstacles in my private and public life. Taking care of children, handling household work, supporting the husband and family, while maintaining a successful fulfilling career is a huge challenge for all women.

When I commenced work in this sector I was not fully qualified in Early Childhood Development services and it was a further obstacle for me working in this field. But through the Training of Trainers (Master Trainers on ECD) program conducted by the Early Childhood Development Project, I was able to improve my knowledge on ECD Services and overcome my own challenges to provide a value added service to the greater society.

Coming in to this sector I had a dream of developing preschools in my area, beautifying them, helping to train teachers and educating happy children. The reality however is another story. There are many difficulties to overcome in develop this sector and these obstacles can get you down. However, the support from the Early Childhood Development Project came at an ideal time and helped me fulfil my duties and gain self-respect.

The majority of the working crowd in preschools are women. I feel that as a woman I am able to better understand their personal and professional issues and am proud to say that I have been able to help and support them to the best of my ability.”

  

  

 

Mrs. Abthul Majeed Ayesha – Sainthamaradu Division Early Childhood Development Officer - Ampara

“I joined the Early Childhood Development sector to better myself as a person and a government officer. Working in the ECD sector provides me with an opportunity to serve the greater society and fulfil my desire to be of value to the people. I joined the ECD sector as a degree holder, but over the years I have gained more knowledge and skills through the training programs that I received working in the ECD sector and as a woman this has helped me improve myself further and be effective in my work. The ECD sector has also provided me further training and opportunities to be a Resource Person who can educate women, mothers and society on the early years of child development.

Thanks to the continued support of the Early Childhood Development Project by World Bank, the preschools in my Division are now well established preschools with all facilities and well trained teachers. Furthermore, the ECD project has supported my Division with Fee Waiver facility that has helped more children in my Division to have access to ECD services.

As a woman, I have great self-respect and regard from the society for having worked within this field. The ECD Project has helped me, as a woman, to achieve these goals and I thank them for this opportunity."

 

  

Mrs. Sandaruwani Samarakoon, Early Childhood Development Officer, Balangoda, Rathnapura District (Sinhala)

“ ‘Rataki Dayaki Lowaki Aya’ is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. As a woman I am happy to take part in this celebration of women’s contribution to the society, nation and the world.

Today it is impossible to imagine the finance of a family without the contribution a woman brings. A woman also plays a huge role in contribution to the society through social services. As an Early Childhood Development Officer attached to the National Secretariat for Early Childhood Development under the Ministry of Women and Child ….. I too contribute to this social endeavor by supporting the education of children in the country and supporting the preschool teachers who work in the ECD centers. As a woman and a mother I have had the opportunity to support the education of children and resolve their issues by working closely with them. Thanks to this post I have also been able to work closely with preschool teachers in ECD centers and help them resolve issues they face in their day to day life. I am happy to be able to be of service to my country in this manner.

I must thank the Early Childhood Development Project for the support it has given me as a woman to develop my career. The ECD Project develops ECD centers, improves the education of preschool children by providing education play materials and reading materials to centers around the country. The ECD Project works with ECD Officers around the country to carry out their activities and I too am glad to be part of this endeavor.

Furthermore, the preschool teachers around the country are mostly women and the ECD project trains these preschool teachers on how best to work with young children and work with parents on parental awareness programs that cover early childhood development. As a woman I have the opportunity to gain work experience of this caliber thanks to the activities carried out by the ECD Project.

Therefore I feel, while supporting to strengthen my family finances, this career has helped me to give a value added services to the greater society and for this I am ever grateful.”