The Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF) was established in 1998, as a result of the determination and vision of Nanda Wanninayaka, a young English teacher from the village of Mahawilachchiya. It all started when he began a handwritten English language newspaper with the students in the public school he taught at. The United States Embassy in Colombo read a copy of the newspaper and was so impressed they donated the first computer to Mahawilachchiya so the paper could continue.
Soon after, Mr. Wanninayaka had to leave his position at the school, but it wasn’t long before his former students came knocking at his door, asking him to teach them privately. And thus began the Horizon Lanka Foundation, an after-school club providing children with further education in English and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
A Sri Lankan couple named Mr. and Mrs. Gaminitilleke helped the Foundation in its early days by providing a lot of initial help and support. Since then, HLF has been an educational anchor for many children of the village and they have continually reaped the rewards of attending our establishment over the years. As well as providing a comprehensive education to the village children at Horizon Lanka Academy, we have introduced them to the “Information Age.”
Horizon Lanka’s innovative ways of teaching English have resulted in scores of students getting A’s and B’s for the English language portion of the national level exam, sometimes even higher than their grades in their mother tongue! A group of students have also gone on to study at national universities and other higher educational institutions.
Sadly in 2006, after the departure of Mr. Wanninayaka from the village of Mahawilachchiya, the HLF underwent some management and financial problems. After struggling for five years, in February 2011, the HLF had to close its doors. For the next three and a half years the children of the village were left without the extra educational resources the HLF provided that helped them reach their full academic potential.
To the delight of many in Mahawilachchiya, Nanda Wanninayaka returned in July 2014 and reopened Horizon Lanka with the determination to return the school to its former glory. Currently the Foundation serves the entire community with its computer lab and other facilities.
Digital Butterflies – Project that brought around 300 used PCs to the homes of the villagers of Mahawilachchiya.
Digital Ambassadors – Educational project that led to the acquisition of a dozen laptops for students .
Horizonlanka.org – in 2001, the children of Horizon Lanka Academy created the foundation’s website, opening a new window to the outside world.
Internet Access – in 2004, Horizon Lanka acquires 24/7 internet access thanks to RLL technology. Mahawichchiya becomes the first Sri Lankan rural community to get such a facility. At the this time, telephone access is still not available in the village.
New Facility – In 2006, Horizon Lanka moves to a two story building facility through the generosity of Mr and Mrs Charles, a family of Sri Lankan roots. The new facility is well equipped with the USAID-Geneva Global joint venture.
Mesh Internet Network – In November 2006, Horizon Lanka Foundation secures a grant from UNDP to build Sri Lanka’s first mesh internet network connecting 28 students’ houses and 2 public schools with Internet.
Phone Coverage – By the end of 2006, Horizon Lanka is able to get Sri Lanka’s biggest mobile operator, Dialog, to cover the village with a mobile telephony network, putting Mahawilachchiya once again ahead of other rural Sri Lankans towns of that time.
E-Village Replication Project – In the summer of 2008, the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka got interested in Horizon Lanka’s initiative and it was decided to replicate its educational model in all 9 provinces of the country with the assistance of Horizon Lanka’s founder, Nanda Wanninayaka. 100 million LKR ($~700,000 USD) were allocated to the project, and by 2010, 50 rural areas of Sri Lanka were invested with the educational program started by Nanda 7 years prior.