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The LBW Trust and CandleAid's Impact on Sri Lankan Education in 2023


In the wake of political and economic upheavals, The LBW Trust's partnership with CandleAid in Sri Lanka stands as a beacon of hope for disadvantaged students pursuing tertiary education. The Annual Report reveals the resilience and determination of students facing unprecedented challenges.


1. A History of Support


Since 2012, The LBW Trust has collaborated with CandleAid to sponsor 557 students, ensuring that they can pursue higher education without being a burden on their families. The commitment to education remains unwavering despite the turbulent times that Sri Lanka has faced in the past two years.


2. Navigating Challenges in 2023


The year 2023 brought its share of challenges, including a severe economic downturn, political unrest, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Despite these adversities, Candle Aid continued its mission, with The LBW Trust contributing $20,000 to support 170 undergraduates from low-income families. The devaluation of the Sri Lankan Rupee and disruptions in CandleAid's planned projects led to a more significant impact on the ground.


3. Educational Resilience Amidst Setbacks


The Sri Lankan education sector faced setbacks, with examinations postponed and universities intermittently closed. However, The LBW Trust's sponsorship ensured that 50 new students were enrolled between January and November 2023, replacing those who had completed their studies.

With support from The LBW Trust, CandleAid's proactive approach, extended sponsorships for students facing difficulties due to disruptions.


4. Exceptional Results and Project Outcomes


In the face of adversity, the sponsored students showcased remarkable achievements. CandleAid's survey revealed success stories, including a Gold Medal awardee, first-class degree holders, and students excelling in various fields such as medicine, law, and language studies. The LBW Trust's impact extended beyond academics, empowering students to intern, find employment, or pursue further courses to enhance their skills.


5. Future Commitments and Challenges


Looking ahead to 2024, Candle Aid seeks a commitment of LKR 4,885,000 (approximately AUD 23,150) to support 170 students. The LBW Trust's ongoing support is crucial, given the economic challenges and uncertainties students face. CandleAid's detailed reporting and respect for The LBW Trust's contribution ensure transparency and accountability.


6. A Plea for Continued Support


Dil Jayawardena, Executive Director of CandleAid, sheds light on the harsh realities in Sri Lanka. Despite superficial changes, economic challenges persist, with millions requiring humanitarian assistance. Public uprisings and detentions of students have disrupted academic calendars, making The LBW Trust's support even more critical. CandleAid's new initiatives, such as the English-speaking program, demonstrate their commitment to empowering students beyond financial assistance.


Conclusion


As we reflect on 2023, the collective efforts of LBW Trust and CandleAid shine brightly. The challenges faced by Sri Lanka are immense, but the commitment to education and the transformative impact on students' lives is undeniable. The success stories emerging from this partnership underscore the importance of sustained support in the face of adversity. As we look toward 2024, the call to action is clear – continued support can change lives, empower dreams, and contribute to rebuilding a resilient and educated Sri Lanka.


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