Plant Nursery Project
Mahanuwara Lamarakshaka Bauddha Samithiya (MLBS) is a non-governmental childcare society in Kandy established in 1977 to care for disadvantaged children in the Central Province. It is registered with the state Probation and Child Care department. The society is a charitable organization with the government of Sri Lanka under section 9a of the Income Tax Act No,28 of 1979. The society has established the Singithi Sevana children's home.
This home is residence to around 35 children, both boys and girls of the ages 3- 12 years and also retains some of the girls over 12 years to enable them to complete their education. The intake and giving out of children is entirely through the state department.
The overall management of the 'Singithi Sevana' is by the Executive Committee (21 members) and the day-to-day management is overseen by a Home Committee of 11 members. Members to these committees are elected annually by the general body of the MLBS. The Treasurer is responsible for the financial management and the society accounts are audited annually by an external auditing firm approved at the Annual General Meeting.
The institute is maintained by funds and material gifted by the public and a small annual maintenance grant by the government. The paid staff managing the Home comprises a Matron, 4-5 dormitory assistants, a cook, a caretaker, non-resident office assistant and two preschool teachers. Labourers are employed on a casual basis.
The children attend state schools but many of these children are not academically inclined towards pursuing higher education. Hence need to be given vocational training skills to enable them to become financially independent. The proposed Project is one such attempt.
The objective of this project is to offer training in home gardening as an income generating life skill for school leavers, initially to those girls resident in the home and later to extend training for youth in the neighbourhood. Such a project will also create an interest in agriculture and home gardening amongst the young children in the home from an early age. Further, home garden produce would supplement their food.
DESCRIPTION OF THE LAND
'Singithi Sevana' is located on a land belonging to the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) taken on long- lease by the Society. The land has a low- lying area which has been cultivated previously, partly with paddy and other crops in an ad hoc manner. However, such cultivation was not profitable largely due to the fact that the land is marshy. In 2016 with the extension of the lease the society was asked to develop the low lying area. The society sought advice from the National Resource Management Centre (NRMC) of the Department of Agriculture on utilization of this land. The NRMC recommended cutting gradient drains for storm water drainage in order to make the land usable for agriculture and advised against building or filling as it was ecologically an important storm water drainage area. Technical advice on construction of the Rain Shelter was obtained from the Department of Agriculture.
The land earmarked for the project is about 0.274 acres or 11, 953 sq feet in extent bordering Dharmasoka Mawatha and Pitakanda road. This land is situated below the buildings of 'Singithi Sevana' (Figure 1). Home receives town supply of chlorinated piped water for household use and also has tapped a spring in the premises, which yields approx. 1000L/24 h). There is also a well with a pump in the land.
Recurrent expenditure for maintenance / Year
A sub committee comprising society members with agricultural expertise with officers nominated from the Department of agriculture will be appointed to oversee and implement activities on project. The Manager Home, who is an office bearer of the society, would be in overall charge and report at the monthly executive Committee meeting. The project profits will be credited to a savings fund to generate interest for sustenance of the cultivation project to make it eventually a self financing activity.