Jamiya's grandfather Mohamed Haneefa Mohamed Sali (2)

Out of reach education – Jamiya’s story

30 years of civil unrest coupled with the destruction caused by the 2004 tsunami has left many areas of Sri Lanka devastated, with the smaller, more remote areas being hit the worst. In Sengamam, a village in the Ampara district, more than 90% of families are classed as poor, with a daily income of 700 LKR or less (USD 4.80).

Districts like Ampara and Batticaloa are so isolated that they don’t even have their own healthcare or education facilities.

With no public transport or money to pay for a taxi or a bicycle, Jamiya would spend up to three hours each day walking to and from school. In order to get to there on time, she had to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning.

“I get very scared walking alone. My parents are always scared for me from the moment I leave for school until I return home,” Jamiya told us.

Jamiya lives with her grandparents. Her grandfather, Haneefa, is a self-employed labourer in a paddy field, but work opportunities are rare. When he does get work, the money he earns has to stretch across buying food and paying bills. Because of this, Jamiya’s school equipment and uniform necessities often remain unmet.

In 2015, Islamic Relief Waqf supported the education of 1,250 school children by providing them with school shoes, bags and stationary items that are vital for their continued learning. We also gave 150 children, like Askar, their own bike, to make their journey to school less tiring. With the extra energy and time, the children will be able to focus more on their studies. They’ll also be able to support their family when collecting water and food from the market.

When Jamiya received her bike, her family felt as though a weight had been lifted. Having just joined a new school 7km away, the bike was vital for her to stay in education. Without it, she would have had to drop out and sacrifice her dream of becoming a doctor. Now, Jamiya can even attend evening classes with her friends.

“Jamiya is so happy to have received her bike and school material. I saw the delight on her face. She is one of the best students in her class. Alhamdulillah, now she can continue to study. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart,” said Haneefa.

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