Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the national telecommunication service provider in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) organized an awareness programme on Child Protection for school principals in the Anuradhapura District recently. The full day awareness programme was conducted at the Ceybank Rest, Anuradhapura with the participation of principals from over 200 schools in the Anuradhapura district. The Chairperson of the NCPA – Mrs. Anoma Dissanayake, the Chief Secretary of the North Central Province – Mr. R. B. Herath, the Government Agent (Anuradhapura District) – Mr. Mahinda Senivirathna, the CEO of SLT Publications and SLT Visioncom (subsidiaries of Sri Lanka Telecom) – Mr. Malraj Balapitiya, the DIG of Police Mr. Nimal Padmasiri, and the Deputy Director Educational and Counseling Mr. D. K. Lakshman were amongst those who graced this occasion.
Mr. Malraj Balapitiya - CEO of SLT Publications and SLT Visioncom, Mr. Mahinda Senivirathna - Government Agent of Anuradhapura District), Mrs. Anoma Dissanayake - The Chairperson of the NCPA, Mr. D. K. Lakshman – Deputy Director Educational and Counseling, Mr. K. Abesundara - Zonal Education Director and Mr. Ranga Jayawardana - SLT Regional Manager (Anuradhapura) at the head table .
Child abuse has been increasingly on the rise with the North Central Province recording the highest number of cases of child abuse last year. Therefore, SLT has embarked on its latest Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative starting at Anuradhapura to help the cause of child protection by partnering the NCPA. As the initial step in this project, the company will be carrying out a series of awareness sessions in schools around the island to educate principals, teachers as well as students on different forms of child abuse, how it can be identified or recognized and its prevention in an attempt to curb the increasing incidence of child abuse being reported. Effective education and awareness of children, parents, principals as well as teachers can be seen as the major initiative towards preventing child abuse and protecting our children in Sri Lanka.
Through this project, SLT aims to bring about a safe, secure and healthy environment where children are protected from all forms of abuse, help children to help themselves by avoiding unethical influences as well as emphasize on the community’s responsibility towards protecting their children from abuse of all kinds.
Addressing the gathering Mr. Malraj Balapitiya, CEO of SLT Publications and SLT VisionCom, mentioned, “Child abuse is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. Our children are our future. It is our responsibility to look after them and ensure that they are brought up in a safe and secure environment. Many times, children are victimized since they cannot voice their feelings. As a responsible corporate citizen, SLT intends to introduce technologically developed products such as Sisu connect, web filtering, parental controlling and many other services, that will enable offering a secure environment with guided tools to prevent various social routes that may cause child abuse. All employees at SLT got together as one family island wide to build awareness for the prevention of child abuse in the country. Employees at all levels including the top management participated in the child protection drive right from the start and the project is spearheaded by all employees of SLT on behalf of national telecommunication provider, with the objective of achieving a secure and safe environment for our younger generation”.
Mrs. Anoma Dissanayake, the Chairperson of the NCPA commented, “We are very happy to partner SLT to raise our voice against violence on children and I greatly appreciate the initiatives taken by SLT to raise awareness among principals, teachers and students. Child Protection is a multi-sectorial responsibility and everybody in the society should get together to protect our children from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. As our Hon. President Mahinda Rajapaksha always points out, unless we protect our children today we will not be able to live in a violence free country tomorrow. They have understood the national requirement and I would like to invite other corporates also to join us to protect our children who are our future”.
In October 2013, Sri Lanka Telecom carried out a large island-wide awareness campaign covering 300 locations in Sri Lanka, with the active participation of all SLT employees. This initiative was further strengthened by the positive feedback we received from all communities in our country and Sri Lanka Telecom will continue to support educating our younger generation on this social evil and to protecting their future for the betterment of our nation.