MAHAWILACHCHIYA KIDS FIGHT AGAINST ALL ODDS
Sunanda Deshapriya Karunarathna May 14, 2002
“Mahawilachchiya is one of the most rural areas in the Anuradhapura district. There are forty kilometers to our village from Anuradhapura. From time to time the Tigers (LTTE) attack our village. We hide in the jungle when they attack “. That was how a child in Mahawilachchiya, described his village.
They had never seen a computer before. Most of the times their school suffers from the absence of an English teacher.
The new teachers get transferred to better schools as soon as they are appointed to village school.
The students are very good at performing dances and singing. But those seedlings of skills never had a chance to grow into fully-grown trees.
Nandasiri Wanninayaka is a young English teacher who was born in Mahawilachchiya, studied in the same area and appointed to work in the same area. Students called him “Mr. Wanni”.
Wanni thought of a way to help these sweet wild flowers destined to wither without a chance to bloom. The result was starting the Horizon School to improve their English and computer knowledge. The school did not have buildings. The students learned under the shades of a tree. They liked it very much. They gradually gained English knowledge and sprang up in the shape of a hand written magazine “The Horizon”. After seeing this magazine The US embassy of Sri Lanka, presented them a computer. They began to work even more enthusiastically. Then the Slimline Company donated them a few more computers.
While these things happening, a journalist who visited Mahawilachchiya published an article on the web. Mr. Donald and Bhadra Gaminitillake came across the article and as a result, the Horizon School received a helping hand from them and their friends.
Mr. Donald is an expert in website designing. Wanni learned website designing from him. And the end result was the beautiful website www.horizonlanka.org. All the English articles in this site had been written by the Horizon kids. Now they can use a computer very well. They are good at English too. Then Mr. Wanni bought an electric organ with his hard saved money. It was meant to improve the singing, dancing and performing abilities of the Horizon kids.
Mahawilachchiya is still deprived of the facilities, which are common to the Colombo kids. But recently I had a chance to see how far they have improved their talents in singing and dancing. We went to see them on the New Year day.The horizon kids performed an excellent show for us. We really enjoyed their songs and dances. These kids are living examples for all of us. You may lack facilities to develop but the effort and determination can lead you to the top. Before I take my leave Mr. Wanni told me, “We must have a goal. And we should believe that we can reach that goal and we also must have a firm determination to break all the barriers on the road of achieving our goal. If you have all these qualities nothing can stop your success.”
If you can keep this piece of advice in your mind and learn something from the story of the Horizon kids your life too will be a successful one.