Nov 10, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has stressed the need for a collective effort of the whole nation to make Sri Lanka a safe place for children.
He said that it is a collective responsibility of all relevant stakeholders to build a country to protect the children who are the future generation of the nation.
Addressing a ceremony held at the Polonnaruwa Royal College today to launch the national child protection program for Polonnaruwa district, the President reiterated that the government is committed to establish a better environment ensuring security and safety of the children and a good education for them.
The program implemented under the theme of "Lets protect the children" will be carried out for three years and Rs 5.2 billion has been allocated for the program.
Under the project a group of lawyers conducted an awareness campaign on the laws related to child protection in all urban and rural levels.
Speaking at the occasion further, the President requested the adults not to make decisions regarding children by considering external factors only. He requested all Sri Lankans to join hands with this project and assume a leadership role to safeguard the country's future generation.
Pointing out some recent situations of violent acts against children such as the assassination of the school girl Vidya in Jaffna, the President said the drug menace is a threat to the younger generation. He requested the adults to refrain from using drugs and alcohol to set examples for children.
He charged that the tobacco companies are attempting to regain their revenues lost due to the government's measures to curb smoking by targeting school boys to re-popularize smoking.
He said the home and religious places as well as the whole society should be safe places for children.
The President said the elders and the guardians have a greater role to play to discipline children and direct them to the right path. He added that they should also find out the problems faced by the children. The root causes for these problems should be identified at early stage and effective measures should be taken to solve these problems, he stressed.
A Special booklet on child protection published by the Women's and Child Affairs Ministry was presented to the President at the occasion.
Financial aid was provided to renovate and modernize five orphanages and water purification units were distributed among 10 schools in the Polonnaruwa District.
A grant of 50,000 rupees each was provided to 380 schools under the Sustainable Schools program and financial aid was provided to 45 pre-schools aimed to develop early childhood activities as well as facilities for differently-abled children.