Hatton National Bank, when it embarked on a project to provide a hundred libraries for some most deserving schools in remote areas, considered the venture more than just another CSR initiative. The completion of the Nena Pubuduwa project saw over 50,000 children living in some of the most rural areas of Sri Lanka being given the opportunity to derive the simple pleasure of exploring the world through books.
A discussion with Mr. Rienzie Wijethilake, the Chairman of HNB, revealed in detail the wheels that set this benevolent mission in progress. “We started out with the intention of making a difference; we didn’t want it to be a one-off thing but one that would make a lasting impression and a long-term difference in the lives of the beneficiaries. That is why we decided to identify a hundred of the most needy schools, with almost no library facilities and work on fulfilling the need. The Bank mapped out the colossal project, made the financial commitment and even inspired the staff to lend a hand towards this groundbreaking venture that would change the lives of children around Sri Lanka. Staff members willingly volunteered to donate their own books while the Bank shopped for books on a diverse range of topics. Each Principal was asked for a list of books the schools needed.”
“The books were collected, sorted and stocked in the new libraries, with the Bank also paying attention to the furniture requirements of each library. It was truly satisfying to see the eager faces of the youngsters, and many schools even had small ceremonies on the day that the books were provided, in order to show their appreciation,” he said.
The new libraries were gifted to schools in 100 different areas, from Pollonnaruwa to Kadawatha, Galle to Trincomalee, Monaragala to Tissamaharama, and more.
“A hundred libraries have been provided to a hundred needy schools, but we don’t consider the project as completed yet. This was merely an initial step. In time, we have plans to upgrade them further “Because of this venture, over 50,000 children in this country will be growing up with an attachment to the Bank.”
Hatton National Bank, as Sri Lanka’s largest private commercial bank with a history of over 118 years, invests in highly ambitious and wide-ranging CSR programmes, ranging from projects to aid the differently-abled, rebuilding of fishing villages etc. The school libraries programme takes HNB’s CSR initiatives to a new dimension.