The incident reported in the national newspapers and social media about a student consuming coconut kernel for lunch due to poverty, was found to be unfounded, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.
However, a special program is initiated on the directives of the President to assist any child / family facing such a situation. For assistance call the hotline 011-4354647, PMD added.
Full press release by the President’s Media Division:
The President’s Office has focused its attention to the news in the national newspapers and social media about an incident in which a student had consumed coconut kernel for lunch due to poverty.
Accordingly, the Minuwangoda Regional Director Vajira Ranaraja and Gampaha District Secretary W.S. Satyananda had called for information regarding this incident from the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary, Director of Divulapitiya Education Division of the Minuwangoda Education Zone and Principal of the Kongodamulla St. Anthony’s Junior College and the Grama Niladhari Officer and Development Officer where the student resides, and it was confirmed that such an incident has not been reported.
However, in view of the current economic situation in the country, if any child, person or family is in this situation anywhere in the country, a special program has already been implemented for them at the Divisional Secretariat level and District Secretariats.
On the special instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, a Food Security Program Unit has been established at the President’s Office and information can be provided by contacting the unit on their hotlines 0114354647 or 0114354354 and extension number 5705/5707.
Samurdhi recipient families with more than 05 members, families with disabled and people with chronic illnesses, poverty-stricken families with children below 05 years, families without a husband or wife, families with pregnant and lactating mothers and poverty stricken families who have not even received primary education who are facing severe food insecurity have been identified as criteria for providing assistance under the World Food Programme.
Accordingly, it is possible to provide Rs.15,000 monthly under the World Food Program for such families through Grama Niladhari Officers and Divisional Secretaries. This money will be provided to them for the first 03 months and a food program will be implemented for another 06 months.
In addition to this, the government has taken steps to provide a monthly allowance of Rs. 10,000, to 61,000 poverty-stricken families for a period of six months.
If there are families who are not included in any of these programs and are suffering from lack of food, there is a possibility of providing food for them on short-term basis and they should make a request through the Grama Niladhari Officers, Divisional Secretaries or the Food Security Program Unit of the Presidential Secretariat.
In addition, if there are families with malnourished children, a study will be conducted and food aid programs will be implemented for such families through programs such as the parental guardian system implemented by the government.
Further, school teachers can also intervene and forward information about families suffering from lack of food to the Food Security Program, and those who are willing and able to help such families also have the opportunity to get involved and contribute.
Apart from that, Grama Niladhari Officers and Divisional Secretaries have the opportunity to contact the Food Security Program and coordinate the implementation of these programs.