New child-friendly schools bring new hope to communities in Sri Lanka

Thousands of schoolchildren in Ampara district, eastern Sri Lanka, recently cheered in a new era in education, with marching bands playing and UNICEF flags waving during official ceremonies in their villages.

Along with local community leaders, they were celebrating the opening of six new schools – the result of a UNICEF Sri Lanka investment totalling $3.8 million. Thousands of students will benefit from the UNICEF-funded schools.

But it was a solemn moment, too – a moment to remember the tsunami that destroyed their old schools and villages in December 2004. The scars of the tsunami are still scattered along the coastline here, tombstones and ruins from the time when the sea took the lives of more than 30,000 Sri Lankans.

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