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Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, child-friendly schools transform communities

By Sivatheepan Kajanika

Ten-year-old Sivatheepan Kajanika reports on her child-friendly school in Sri Lanka. UNICEF supports child-friendly schools, which provide trained teachers and quality learning materials in a safe, inclusive environment. These schools improve learning and attendance while promoting the fullest realization of a child’s rights and potential.

TRINCOMALEE, Sri Lanka, 21 May 2012 – My name is Sivatheepan Kajanika. I study in Grade 5 at Nilaveli Tamil Mixed School in Trincomalee District. I wake up early each morning happy because I know I’m going to school.

VIDEO: UNICEF reports on child-friendly schools in Sri Lanka.  Watch in RealPlayer


In 2008, I didn’t like to go to school. I wasn’t happy with the way of teaching. The teachers weren’t friendly. Because of this, I hated studying.

Since 2010, it’s been much better because I like the principal and the teachers. I like the way they teach, and this is what I expect from them.

I am happy to study now.

A healthy learning environment

It’s fun at school. We have dance classes and physical instruction. If someone doesn’t bring food from home, we all share. The school environment is friendly. We all like each other and play together.

© UNICEF Sri Lanka/2012/Madhok
Sivatheepan Kajanika and her siblings set off to a child-friendly school in Sri Lanka.

I like this school. The walls have been beautifully painted. There’s a lovely garden in the school with nice-smelling flowers. There are positive messages on the walls. There’s a timetable on whose turn it is to clean the school. I want to continue my studies here.  

The toilets are clean. There are separate ones for boys and girls, and the toilets are separate from the school building.

A supportive community

Vedushana is my best friend. If I ask her she will always help me, and if I need to go somewhere she comes with me. She is definitely my best friend.

I say to other children that if you don’t go to school you should do. Your parents are working hard so you should study hard, too.

I want to become a teacher and teach poor children. Poor children can then become teachers and help other poor children.



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