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From casual conversations among the Sri Lankans living in North America we realized there are several who are assisting young children in Sri Lanka in their education. However, a main obstacle for their efforts was that they found it difficult to coordinate the details in Sri Lanka. Moreover, given the fluidity and financial capacity of most of them being graduate students, we realized it is worthwhile to plan for a longer time span as a group. Initially we attempted to go through established sponsor programs but were not satisfied with their responses. As a result, Sri Lankan Society (SLS) at Urbana-Champaign ventured out with its own Scholarship Project. From the initial search, SLS identified two candidates from the list of dependents maintained by the Prison Welfare Committee at Bogambara prison. In December 2002 Ishika Lokuge (2002/03 President of SLS) met with the Superintendent of Prisons, Asst. Superintendent and welfare officer at Bogambara Prison, and with the fathers (inmates) of the students. Arrangements were made for the welfare officer to provide some monitoring of the students with input from the respective school officials.

The response from the Sri Lankan community spread throughout Northern America was very heartening and we were able to charter five more chapters in Arizona, Toronto-Canada, West-United State, Sri Lanka, and San Francisco. With generous donations we receive from our donors, by September 2007 the total number of sponsored students has risen to 136. Students ranging from Grade 2 to undergraduate level are currently assisted through Pahansila.