The students of Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka held a Mini Concert, the first of its kind for 2017, on July 13, 2017 at the Academy to say goodbye to four of our foreign volunteers, namely, Diana Wong Yuen Samand Eagle Man Ho Tin from Hong Kong and Sona Forstlova and Monika Salfická from the Czech Republic. They volunteered in July, 2017 and did a lot to educate the students both at Horizon Academy and Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya.
All the volunteers also took part in the concert by performing along with the students of Horizon Academy and Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya.
See the pictures and videos of the concert items below.
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot, a young volunteer from France arrived in Mahawilachchiya last week. She will be here for two months to teach the students. I wish she extends her stay though. She is a smart woman who loves teaching and has a born talent for it. In her own words, she describes her passion for teaching thus. “Teaching has always been a goal for me, especially to children and women (for women empowerment).” I am glad that we have her at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya at the right time. I have not been in Mahawilachchiya regularly and the students’ education was disrupted as a result. This affected the number of regular students too. But now, I am relieved a lot because Miss Zabot has already been able to attract the students who left the institution and some new students too. She is very kind towards the kids (but not so towards me 😊 because I haven’t been able to do things on time due to the bike accident I met with last September. It kept my movements restricted as I was not able to repair it as yet. But now that this young teacher is at Horizon Academy, I can entrust her my role and I am sure she is confident in doing it a lot better than I did.
Miss Zabot has already decided to make the classroom better by painting the walls and letting the students to write, draw things related to her lessons. She has already prepared a list of things to buy from the city and she appreciates if you could send Horizon Academy some English books for the students to read. She is so caring towards the students, especially the primary students. She lives at our teenage student Prabodha Kalotuwawa’s house. Prabodha has been hosting quite a number of volunteers and her English too is improving as a result.
Apart from volunteering at Horizon Academy, Miss Zabot also teaches free of charge at the Seevali Primary School, a public school in the village. She enjoys it very much and dedicates more hours than we expected her to do. It is not an easy task to work extra hours due to the hot temperature in Anuradhapura district during these days.
I am sure all our other volunteers are also doing the same in other Horizon Academies but I just did not have the time to be with them during lessons to see their good work. I have planned to repair my bike this weekend and travel to all five Horizon Academies at least once a week and oversee the affairs. It is so heartening to see how our volunteers dedicate their time and knowledge towards the students in these rural villages despite the lack of facilities and harsh weather conditions these days. Horizon Lanka survived its bad times due to our brave volunteers. Right now, we have 9 volunteers from different European countries.
Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder and the Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation
A workshop on IoT (Internet of Things) for the staff and students of Horizon Academies was held at Horizon Academy, Anuradhapura by Coderdojo Sri Lanka on February 24, 2018. Mr. Prabhath Mannapperuma, the Founder/Secretary of Micro:bit SLUG coordinated the workshop and Mr. Shameera Prajapriya, Mr. Yasintha Perera and Mr. Dilupa Jayanatha Peiris joined Mr. Mannapperuma to hold the workshop.
The workshop was meant for the staff of the 5 Horizon Academies, ie. Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya, Horizon Academy – Tantirimale, Horizon Academy – Anuradhapura, Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila and Horizon Academy –Ralapanawa. Since the students also were very enthusiastic, they also joined the workshop.
The workshop covered a vast area of IoT (Internet of Things) related areas such as micro:bit based programming, Arduino, etc. and basic HTML.
Coderdojo Sri Lanka is part of the Coderjojoglobal initiative and does its activities on volunteer basis. The initiative helps encourage students from a very young age to coding and programming.
“CoderDojo Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan network of “CoderDojo” – an international open source social education movement oriented around the running of fun, free and social coding clubs (Dojos) for young people aged 7-17 (Ninjas).
Dojos are run by coordinators (Champions) at businesses, schools, libraries, universities, councils and community centres. Dojos provide fun, free and social open learning environments where young people can meet others with similar interests, develop 21st century skills and build creative projects of their own choice using digital technology.
A Dojo is NOT a class or workshop. There is no curriculum. Instead, Dojos offer open, free and unstructured club settings in which young people can follow their own interests, meet like-minded people and develop self-directed learning habits with the support of Champions and Mentors.” – from CoderDojo Sri Lanka website.
The Horizon Lanka Foundation thanks CoderDojo Sri Lanka for partnering with the Foundation and the Foundation hopes to go a long journey with CoderDojo Sri Lanka by educating the future generation through the Foundation’s network of Horizon Academies.
Mr. Feizal Samath is a singer and a guitarist. His passion is country music. He organizes a “Country Roads Concert for Children” annually through the Country Music Foundation he founded 30 years ago. Last year’s concert was the 29th version of his untiring efforts. The concert was held on March 19, 2017 at Mount Lavinia Hotel with the participation of both local and overseas country musicians before a big crowd of country music fans.
The Country Music Foundation donates the proceeds of the show to charitable organizations and public schools in Sri Lanka. On the request of the parents and the children of Horizon Lanka Foundation, Mr. Samath donated oriental musical instruments that cost over 160,000 LKR (1,030 USD) to the Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya. The instruments were donated on February 05, 2018 at a simple ceremony in the school.
The students, teachers and the Principal Mr. Pathmasiri Wanninayaka appreciated the donation a lot. The dancing teacher has already started creating a school band and the school is waiting for a music teacher too to join the school soon. The main reason for the donation was the principal’s dedication and commitment to improve the quality of education in this small school.
Tali Motzkin from Israel volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in January, 2018.
“My Volunteering at Horizon Academy – Anuradhapura
I would like to tell you about my volunteering experience. I arrived at the Horizon Academy at Thursday evening, straight to Ramanee and Udaya’s school, close to the Anuradhapura city. When I was at the bus station I called Ramanee and she sent her husband, Udaya to pick me with a tuk-tuk driver so I didn’t have any problems to find the place. At this day the students had a goodbye party for the formal volunteer (Susannah Horowitz) so it was very nice to see how they danced, laughed and shared respect for her and also for welcoming me. They prepared us a “queens feast” with a lot of fresh fruits and showed us a dance concert. Then, after this great welcome, my host family came to take me. There, I met my new sister: Hashini, her brother: Gihan, and my new parents: Anura and Kumari. At first it was so strange to walk into other people’s house but they made me feel like I am at my own house. They cook amazing food for me every day and treat me so nicely. During my stay, every day I have learned something new about them and about their traditions, they also took me to some really cool places like the washing reservoir, temple and the local market. Now, after one week with them I really feel like home and they are my new family.
In the matter of the Horizon Academy, I didn’t have much time with them because I arrived to the weekend and only for a one week, but with the time I had it was nice to see how Ramanee and Udaya teach the students with a lot of passion in all kinds of ways like through books, notebooks, movies, games, dance, etc. I was joining to Ramanee’s teaching class. At the class I was talking with the students, check their homework, teach them computer work and at breaks, I was playing and teaching them field games. At the beginning it was hard for me to let them know what I mean in my explanation (I don’t speak Sinhala), but then I found some ways to explain like with signs and drawings. Also, it takes time to get to know the students and how to approach them, but when I did and felt like I did teach them something new, it was a really good feeling. I also translated Horizon Lanka website into Hebrew as requested by Nanda, but I wished to contribute more with the kids like maybe teach them new dance moves and art, things which require a longer stay. Therefore, I think if someone want to volunteer here and really make some difference, at least stay one week and even more here as it is necessary for getting know the program, students and family.
For conclusion, I had a great time (my best Sri Lankan experience so far!!) and I want to thank to all people who welcomed me, I hope I will see you again soon.