Loyola Campus, Mannar site construction and preparation started in November 2014. This is the first JRS-JC:HEM site in the country providing tertiary education to war-affected youth and professionals in northern Sri Lanka. The educational center offers four-month certificate courses in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and Computer Applications: Graphic Design for Desktop Publishing. The first batch of students started in February 2015 and the response of students in subsequent batches has been progressing. 40 students have graduated from Loyola Campus, Mannar to date, most of which have gone on to pursue a degree course at a university or have succeeded at getting a job. 80 students have recently completed their course work in January and will graduate this coming month. In Mannar’s latest batch, there are 120 students enrolled in English and 95 students enrolled in Computer Applications. The premise is located at the JRS Office, on the Thalaimannar Road. The building provides two classrooms, each equipped with 20 computers.
“For the volunteers, who often come from other countries alongside the local volunteers, this is a great opportunity for their own human, social and professional growth. They are transformed. As they encounter the people coming from these war-affected families, it makes a lot of difference to them in their personal lives. There is a very unique spiritual growth we find in our volunteers.” –Father Joe Victor, JRS Sri Lanka Acting Country Director
The staff at Loyola Campus, Mannar aims to create a welcoming atmosphere for the students where they feel comfortable enough to interact with their peers as well as the staff who are always open to helping them. Students are encouraged to improve their communication skills by reading, writing, listening and, most importantly, speaking in English. The influx of foreign volunteers, who cannot speak the local language, helps fully immerse the students in the language. The course not only focuses on theoretical aspects, but also a practical aspect that involves students teaching what they have learned in the classroom to others in their local community. Loyola Campus emphasizes more of a community-based approach, giving students the opportunity to impart the knowledge and values gained at the center.
Loyola Campus has also commenced training programs in which selected students– whom have received a certificate in either EFL (intermediate level) or Computer Applications–are taught the skills and given the on-site practical experience to become future track facilitators. After a sufficient amount of professional training and evaluation, these individuals are provided not only employment, but also an opportunity to serve the very community they live in.