‘No birth certificate, no school’

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The story of a girl who was unable to attend school, because she did not have a birth certificate, was reported from Wewalawewa, Dambulla. She is the eldest of three children and the family does not have a permanent home.

Meanwhile, the principal of a primary school in the Arawula Division in Dambulla, has taken steps to school the child.

The children’s father A. Nadaraja said despite attempts to enroll the child in a school in the area they were unsuccessful and she was forced to stay at home without schooling for many years, due to the lack of a birth certificate. P. Annapoornam, a Matale resident, is the child’s mother.

They claim that after many years of marriage, they moved to Dambulla for work and that now they work in various estates and live on rent. They are also parents to two school-going boys. Presently, they were living in a small store room on an estate in Wewalawewa, Dambulla and their only hope is to obtain birth certificates necessary for their children’s education.

The couple lamented that they had requested assistance from government officials to obtain a birth certificate for their daughter but their efforts proved futile. They said it would be an immense help if they could find a permanent home to educate their children.

“In an age when young children are dying prematurely, talking about their grief after their future is ruined is pointless. Many people believe that it is a social responsibility to improve the lives of children whose education and future are jeopardised by the lack of a birth certificate and to help them obtain birth certificates as soon as possible,” Nadaraja said.

When the Dambulla Divisional Secretary Piyal Jayasuriya was contacted, he said it is not correct to disrupt a child’s education due to the lack of a birth certificate. According to the Divisional Secretary, there are provisions in the law to address such issues as soon as it is reported to the principal.

Jayasuriya said he would notify the Grama Niladhari of the relevant division to expedite the process. They could be contacted on 071 73 80 750.

BY K. K. Ariyadasa – Dambulla