Hambantota Educational Support Improvement Project
IRD worked in the Hambantota district of Sri Lanka in 2004–08 to distribute 12,000 sachets daily of UHT milk to young children in 37 schools, work with communities and parent-teacher associations to improve school infrastructure, and promote improved health and hygiene among students.
Healthy children are better able to succeed in their studies. The Hambantota Educational Support Improvement Project (HESIP), funded by the US Department of Agriculture, targeted students living in rural areas to enhance their educational environment. The daily distribution of 200 ml sachets of milk improved their ability to concentrate while in class, reduced the incidence of fainting, and provided an incentive for parents to continue sending their children to school during the harvest season. As many of the schools lacked sufficient water and sanitation facilities, or had crumbling walls and roofs, IRD worked with school staff, parent-teacher associations, and community members to identify the most urgent needs and provided the resources necessary to make repairs. HESIP also included testing and treatment for parasitic infections to help kids stay healthy and remain in school. Following the tsunami, IRD provided 12,000 school kits and other supplies through the support and donations of North West Medical Teams and American schools.