Young Sachin Tendulkar, photo by Amantha Perera/Perambara
Amantha Perera has a great report from Vavuniya, in the north. “After two-and-a-half decades of bloodshed that tore Sri Lanka apart, children like Tendulkar who dream of becoming teachers, or whatever else they want to be, can now chase those dreams without fear of death” (IPS).
When I first went to Vavuniya it was during the war. Then, the hospital was full of casualties. Civilians, women and children. Civilian blood was definitely shed. The people there and in nearby Menik Farm had been displaced not one but many times over 30 years of war. I went there over the next few months and everybody I talked to was relieved that the war had finally ended.
Amantha is the TIME correspondent in SL and, IMHO, the best reporter working in Sri Lanka. His story covers Vavuniya now, and focuses on a particular school, and a child named after Sachin Tendulkar.
Changes are visible in the lives of students like Tendulkar. They now come to school regularly, attend classes, and take part in extracurricular activities. The Vipulananda School now looks more like an educational institution than it had at any time in the past decade.
“Students are coming to school regularly. We have hardly had any long breaks in the last year or so,” Subramanium Vivekanandan, the principal for the primary section, told IPS. During the war, there was never any guarantee that students could come to school.
Before militancy took over in the early 1980s, the northern youth had looked to education as the best means to achieve social equality.
It’s a great report. If I may add my two cents, these people from the war zone are focused on what matters – education, social equality and giving their kids a better life. That’s not race based, it’s simply human. These are issues that I think all Sri Lankans care about – we all want to send our kids to school. It’s important to remember that the people in the north have gone through a lot, but are fundamentally like you and me.