The President’s Office has directed attention to a news item in newspapers and social media pertaining to an incident in which a student consumed coconut kernel for lunch due to poverty.
Accordingly, the Minuwangoda Regional Director Vajira Ranaraja and Gampaha District Secretary W.S. Satyananda had obtained information regarding this incident from the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary, Director of the 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.
The President’s Media Division said in view of the current economic situation, if any child, individual, or family is in such a situation, a special programme has already been implemented at Divisional Secretariat level and District Secretariats.
Accordingly, on the instructions of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, a Food Security Programme Unit has been established at the President’s Office and information can be provided by contacting the unit on the hotlines 0114354647 or 0114354354 and extension number 5705/5707.
Samurdhi recipient families with more than five members, families with disabled and individuals with chronic illnesses, poverty-stricken families with children below five 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, Rs.15,000 will be provided monthly under the World Food Programme for such families through Grama Niladhari Officers and Divisional Secretaries.
The money will be provided to them for the first three months and a food programme will be implemented for another six months.
In addition, 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.
In the event there are families who are not included in any of these programmes and are suffering from lack of food, there is a possibility of providing food on a short-term basis and a request should be made through the Grama Niladhari Officers, Divisional Secretaries or the Food Security Programme Unit of the Presidential Secretariat.
In addition, if there are families with malnourished children, a study will be conducted and food aid programmes will be implemented for such families through programmes 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.