HIP presents new wing to Tissapura Junior School
The Tissapura Junior school situated in Andalla, Weerawila got a face lift with the Hambantota International Port officially handing over a new two-story building and completely restored outer buildings for the use of 300 students and a teaching staff of twenty-four.
At the handing over ceremony, Chief Guest, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan, said that it was encouraging to see Chinese companies not only being involved in major development in Sri Lanka, but also engaging with adjacent communities. “The friendship between Sri Lanka and China has stood the test of time. Today, seeing this school built by HIPG, with the aid of China Merchant Group is proof of that friendship. China’s development success is something other nations of the world should also have, and that is why the Belt and Road initiative was proposed by President Xi Jinping. Through this initiative, China will continue to support countries like Sri Lanka because it is important that we jointly reap the benefits of BRI. China is committed to world peace and development, therefore, we want to build nations. Supporting nations to develop through their own efforts, as was the case with this school, is very much in line with our vision,” he said.
The school which is about 30 years old had previously been in a rundown state and after an appeal from the principal to the Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG), work began with an initial grant of USD 200,000 by China Merchants Charitable Foundation (CMCF), the primary CSR arm of China Merchants Group, HIPG’s main partner.
Whilst the complete restoration of the Tissapura Junior School is one of many CSR activities initiated by the port, it was a community service project HIPG undertook during the first phase of their port operations. The school had become derelict and was in urgent need of new usable space as well as repairs to existing infrastructure. HIPG provided them with a new two-story building equipped with all modern amenities to support learning. A complete overhaul of the old buildings including the installation of drinking water tanks with filtered water pipes, eight new classrooms, staff rooms, a science laboratory, library and a playground were also done, along with the supply of a new roof.
Ray Ren, CEO of HIPG speaking at the ceremony said that the Company was committed towards uplifting adjacent communities and the reason they selected the school as their first project was to provide better opportunities for young people in the Hambantota district. “This is a very important and memorable project for us. Both HIPG and HIPS are Sri Lankan companies, which is why developing our local communities is important to us. When Principal Weerakeerthi approached us for support we were glad to work with him because we believe education is a very important part of a country’s development. Secretary of the Southern Province Education Ministry, Y. Wickramasiri readily approved and his help was invaluable in making this project a success, in fact we hope he will work towards gaining ‘high school’ status for the school in the coming year. Apart from that we have a number of other projects lined up that will improve the quality of life in Hambantota. We want to develop our environment because it is important for us to be a part of this country, this community and to have more connectivity.”
Principal A.H. Weerakeerthi addressing the gathering expressed his thanks to all HIPG officials, not only for the grant to build the school but their support and willingness to help in all relevant matters throughout the construction. “HIPG had pledged Rs. 3.5 Million for the restoration and the provision of a new two-story building. Their faith in me to see this project through, has today benefitted so many students, most of who come from very poor families. Although the school is 30 years in operation, it is only this year that 4 of our students passed the scholarship exam. The facilities we have received has inspired us to step up our education standards and we intend to make everyone at HIP proud of our future successes.”