Gopisha studies in Grade 4 at the Navatcholai Junior School in Trincomalee. She enjoys going to school – a privilege many children of her age do not have. To Gopisha, her school is her second home. The principal and teachers check on her wellbeing when she fails to attend school. They go the extra mile to ensure that children are safe both at school and at home. In fact, the school has been a stage for her to exhibit her talents and skills. Just as much as she enjoys drawing, Gopisha performs exceptionally well in her studies too. Gopisha is the Head Prefect at her school and this is one of the greatest achievements in her young life. However, she knows that there is more to achieve.
The school is a haven not only to Gopisha but to many other children too. The year 2012 is a truly memorable year for all those who have been a part of this little school. It was during this year that LEADS, through its Child Centred Community Development project, laid the foundation to open the school, renewing the hopes of many children for a brighter future. Presently it has 85 children and six teachers and has also facilitated the children with the ‘Smart Classroom’ concept.
Expressing her gratitude for the many opportunities she has received through her Alma Mater, Gopisha recalls the very first time she gained awareness on child abuse, a subject she had never heard of before. LEADS displayed child protection messages and artwork on the school walls that helped her understand what she should when confronted with any harassment or abuse. “I am grateful to LEADS for giving us this knowledge on child protection. I now know that if face any harassment, I inform an elderly person I trust.”
Gopisha who is an active child, is also a member of the Navatcholai Children’s Club, which was also formed as part of a LEADS’ intervention. Through the club, she is able to acquire new skills and gain exposure to education, games and activities that enhance knowledge and leadership skills. Making new friends and learning from each other are the things she looks forward to the most. She also finds the instructions on health and hygiene extremely useful since it has helped her in taking precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gopisha is ever grateful to her school and parents for being an invaluable system of support in her journey so far.