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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Teaching the poor in Sri Lanka: an interdisciplinary approach

Teaching the poor presents challenges everywhere. But no challenge has been too large for Brother Emman uel Nicholas (Ed.D., International Educational Development, 1997) who has dedicated his career to assisting the impoverished in Sri Lanka.
When Brother Emmanuel arrived in Sri Lanka 25 years ago, it was a nation of diverse cultures and religious beliefs that was moving from colonial times. It was also a country without a national education system.

So, as a member of the De La Salle Brothers Roman Catholic order, Brother Emmanuel established Lasallian Community Education Services in Sri Lanka’s largest city, Colombo.

With the assistance of other education professionals, Brother Emmanuel has been addressing the severe dropout rate prevalent in the city’s slums by creating interdisciplinary programs.

In addition to teaching academics, he advocates job training, health and nutrition advising and environmental awareness. These services are available for men and women of all ages and promote racial and religious harmony in keeping with the order, which was founded more than 300 years ago by the French priest St. John Baptiste de La Salle. Today, the order operates schools in more than 82 countries.

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