As the current class of 2016-17 gets ready to finish the last few weeks of their course, we can bring you some great news about expansion plans for the bakery school.
Volunteer Sri Lanka, our project partners, are making plans to start two new streams of students in the bakery school: girls with special needs; and girls from impoverished households (with low-income parents). The first part of the expansion will involve special needs students.
In this area of Sri Lanka, only two schools cater for special needs students: one for boys, the other for girls. Janaka (our project manager in Sri Lanka) is associated with the school catering for girls through his mother, who was a teacher there for many years.
In the last four years the school catering for special needs girls has increased its student numbers from 12 to 30. The girls are of all different age groups. The school was formerly run by the Sisters of Charity (a convent), but it now is a government school with little funding.
Examples of the special needs are down syndrome, autism and hearing impairment. The special needs girls who are about to finish school (16 to 17 years old) would be enrolled in the bakery school, attending three days a week.
This stream at the bakery school would involve less physical parts of baking and more of the artistic sides, such as cake decorating. A lot of the girls have creative talents and are quite artistic, despite their disabilities.
We will continue to bring updates of progress towards this expansion.