Sri Lankan Father Sees Protests As Education for His Children

Sri Lankan Father Sees Protests As Education for His Children

For more than two years, Mohammad Imran’s two children have been unable to attend school regularly in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. First it was the pandemic. Now, it’s the economic crisis, where fuel has become scarce and the cost of everything from food to transportation has skyrocketed on the island nation.

The latest blow has forced the government to close public schools to preserve scant fuel. And Mr. Imran, an insurance manager, says his salary barely covers the basics. He’s cutting back on luxuries, like the family’s weekly dinner at a restaurant.

“They’ve been opening and closing the schools now for years,” said Mr. Imran. “My children are not able to learn anything this way.”

On Sunday, he wanted to show his children some fun in celebration of Eid al-Adha, one of the most important holidays for Muslims. He borrowed some gasoline to fuel up his motorcyle and drove Barerah, 11, and Thameem, 5, to the presidential residence, which protesters overran the day before. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled and his allies have said he has agreed to resign. But he hasn’t made a public statement since the protests.

Visiting a symbol of the protest’s success is a fitting Eid celebration, Mr. Imran said. “I’m happy that he left,” he said, referring to the president. “Change is good.”

As he took in the majestic grounds and a swimming pool that protesters have availed themselves of since breaking in, he added: “To see the kind of lifestyle he had, I feel it’s good for their education.”

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