STORY OF A DYNAMIC TEACHER
WILPATTU JUNGLE GETS A COMPUTER TEACHER
Monday, May 6, 2002
May 06, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura: It is an incredible and amazing story. But it is true.
Thanks to Dialog (a cellular phone company in Sri Lanka) and individual donors, the children of farmers in Maha Wilachchiya in the western borders of the once LTTE threatened village will gain access to the Internet in the future. Kids are creating websites and posting their stories.
This village, bordering the historic Tantrimale temple, is 40 kilometres from Anuradhapura and had been the scene of many massacres by the LTTE until recently.
But nothing had deterred a young schoolmaster to take information technology to the kids who had never seen a computer.
The school is called Horizon School and their website is ‘http://www.horizonlanka.org‘.
The dedicated young man behind this effort is Nandasiri Wanninayaka. He is the sole guide and hope of these children, whose parents make a living from their meager agricultural products.
Wanni has effected a drastic change in the life of these children and a new horizon is before them.
He started to work with the children with one computer and now has several computers given to the children with the help of donors.
He has become the pioneer in taking the Internet to a jungle village in Sri Lanka.
“The world is now open to them and they could reach it from their humble houses,” said Wanninayaka.
Mr. Donald Gaminithilake, an image technologist, and his wife Bhadra, who earlier lived in Japan, gave him a helping hand in web designing.
A businessman who had an insight about Wanni’s computer capabilities and his devotion to poor children offered a job at the Slimline factory in the Northwest.
Wanni works five days for his employer and makes a beeline to Mahawilachchiya during the weekend to supervise the kids.
The unique feature of the website created by him is the abundance of greenery – a very soothing effect for the eye.
It gives a taste of that part of the neglected and arid area, nestling among the vast tract of jungle teeming with wild elephants, leopards, sambur, wild boar and many other animals and birds.
The students now write their essays in English thanks to Wanni, who earlier was an English teacher.
Wanni hopes to get a couple computers for his kids and train them in computer assembly and troubleshooting. In addition he teaches these kids singing, dancing and music.
He has achieved the impossible and can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.