Credits: Molly Mueller
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Visit to Sri Rahula Vidyalaya School, Panadura, Sri Lanka
Learning English has emerged as a key element in efforts to overcome divisions and economic hardships, and to foster inclusive growth and stability in Sri Lanka, a country emerging from a bloody, 30-year civil war. More opportunities are available to those who speak English, now considered the language of business and commerce, in addition to the two official languages: Sinhala and Tamil. In the town of Panadura in the rural outskirts of the capital, poverty affects many, especially the children. Some families cannot even afford shoes for their children to wear to school, and supplementary materials, like books and writing tools, are even more of a luxury. The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program has donated more than 4 million books in Sri Lanka since 1954 and continues to serve under-resourced libraries like the one at Sri Rahula Vidyalaya, a secondary school in Panadura. These photos chronicle a visit to the school made by Sharmini Nagendran, our local program officer for Books for Asia, and Molly Mueller from our communications team.