The Care of Children 30 – Initiatives in the North for the young

Amidst a number of meetings of Divisional Secretariat Reconciliation Committees in the North last week, I also had a number of interactions with children, and with persons working with children. Two instances were serendipitous, but I was privileged to participate actively – and indeed exhaustingly – on one occasion. This was when I conducted, in a small school near Nedunkerni, one of the games that the former combatants had delighted in, during my first visit to the Rehabilitation Centre for girls in Vavuniya three and a half years ago.

Cultural event by students

The laughter of the girls on that occasion still illuminates in presentations of the Rehabilitation Bureau, as I saw last month at the Officer Career Development Centre Seminar at Buttala. In Nedunkerni the children were younger, and even less inhibited.

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National principles must address local problems

Garbage dump polluting the air & destroying the scenic beauty

I have been confronted with many problems during meetings of Divisional Secretariat Reconciliation Committee meetings, but perhaps the most unusual was the question of garbage which came up at Kattankudy. I was told that garbage was being piled up at the edges of the area coming under the Secretariat, though I should hasten to add that this was not the fault of what seemed an efficient and responsive administration under the Divisional Secretary – yet another of the bright youngsters I keep coming across, who should be given greater responsibilities, with commensurate reporting obligations to the people they serve.

Waste disposal comes under local government institutions, and it seems that this Urban Council gets rid of garbage by depositing it near the sea on one side of the town, and near the lagoon on the other. What I was told seemed so bizarre that I decided I had to check this out for myself, so after the meeting I went on a tour of inspection, complicated by the fact that Kattankudy has very narrow roads, and it was Friday afternoon, which meant that they were blocked by thousands of motor-bikes as the faithful gathered for prayers.

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