IMPRESSIVE PROGRESS AT “HORIZON SCHOOL”
By Gamini Gunaratna, USA. , July 03, 2002
Last month on June 8th my family and I had the opportunity to see a musical concert staged by a group of kids in rural Mahawilachchiya, a village bordering Wilpaththu National Park, 40 km away from Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. This is a village that had been subjected to numerous unfortunate incidents in the past due to the “ethnic conflict” in Sri Lanka. The village survived and recovered. Thanks to the parents, most of whom are farmers, all the kids had a healthy smile. These talented kids are from the Horizon School of Mahawilachchiya, founded by the selfless effort of Mr. Nandasiri Wanninayaka.
We met “Wanni” before the concert and he showed us the New Computer Room he is building with the money (US$ 1500) he had received from Mr. Kumara Badhuge from Qatar. We were quite impressed with his efforts and efficiency in handling the funds and getting things done. We did not see any waste of resources. Unexpectedly, the Horizon kids have received another donation from Mr. Badhuge (a total of US$ 3,000) and a new computer from Mrs. Vayomi from the USA. You can see all the donations on the Horizon’s website.
Wanni explained his future plans for the Horizon kids in this rural part of Sri Lanka. It seems to me that he needs a great deal of support to achieve his goals. It is obvious that Horizon needs more financial help. Wanni also believes that moral and professional support from all expatriates is equally important. He said, “When they are in Sri Lanka to see their families, they can come and see our kids. That will give our kids the motivation to excel, knowing that somebody cares. Depending on their professional experience they can educate our Horizon kids. Give a one-hour seminar or talk about health. It may take one day of their vacation but I think it is worth a million to these kids.” His final goal is to send a few bright kids to MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US. With our help these kids can do just that. They can have the same future as any city kid.
We really enjoyed our visit to Mahawilachchiya. The villagers treated us with a lunch and dinner with all the traditional food and “Sri Lankan traditional hospitality”. The Horizon kids entertained us into the night under the stars, performing beautiful dances and songs in their “Musical Concert 2002”, which they put on for their community.
As Wanni has requested, we are trying to form an advisory committee for Horizon. The goal of this committee is to raise funds and seek professional help from expatriate Sri Lankans or others worldwide. We can help to bring out the talents hidden in these youngsters so that they can step into the world and have a bright future. It would especially be nice to have a medical doctor as a member of the advisory committee to provide some advice for these kids. You can send your comments and ideas to Wanni.
As of today Wanni left his regular job with no pay leave for one year to help the kids. Wanni works for the “Slimline” garment factory, and I personally appreciate the understanding they have to give him leave for one year.
It is admirable to see one dedicated volunteer trying to brighten the future for these village kids and to see many other Sri Lankans helping him in his struggle.