8. Sherilyn Sibanda – The United Kingdom

Sherilyn Sibanda

Miss Sherilyn Sibanda

Miss Sherilyn Sibanda of United Kingdom taught 3 months in Horizon Lanka Academy, Mahawilachchiya from March to June, 2006. She was the first volunteer to come to Horizon Lanka under Global Vision International‘s volunteer scheme to Horizon Lanka.

“Despite her civil status; yet a Miss, motherly qualities were oozing in her character. She was liked by students more than any other volunteer that has so far visited Horizon Lanka. She was the favourite of the little kids. It was heart whelming to see her carrying her alms crying students. Her teaching talents were marvelous. She had the marvelous knack to combining games with language teaching and planned her lessons to suit the students well in advance. We could see modern methodologies being applied in her language teaching. Students liked her. Authorities liked her. Non-academic staff liked her. Villagers liked her. Almost everybody that associated with her, despite the language barrier, liked her is what can be said of her in summary.” – Ranjith Pushpakumara, Former Head Master, Horizon Lanka Academy

Sherilyn Sibanda’s Report

My time at Horizon Lanka has been such a memorable experience. The people of Mahawilachchiya are extremely friendly and welcoming, they make you feel totally at ease and comfortable in the new surroundings. The village its self possess so much beauty, the greenery, lakes, animals and the sunset, its utterly amazing.

I stayed with a local family. They welcomed me wholeheartedly into their home and family, they included me in all their celebrations and day to day activities, they basically treated me as if I was part of the family. Essentially, that is the character of all the people in the village.

From where I resided, it was about a 1.5km cycle ride to the Academy, I enjoyed the ride because it gave me the opportunity of meeting the villagers and interacting with them, I always felt very safe in my journey to and from the academy. The academy gives the kids a chance of being taught ICT and English lessons, subjects that they would not necessarily get in government school. The kids computer skills is very proficient, their English is quite basic so having native English speakers has been quite advantageous for them. The academy also acts as an after school club where kids can come in to the academy to do some work on the computer, hang out with their friends, play games etc.

The staff team are absolutely amazing, they are very witty and they quickly make you feel part of the team. It is also evident in the work they do and their interaction with the children that they are extremely dedicated to the academy and the well-being of the children.

Teaching English to the Kids was the most enjoyable time. I’ve never had any prior teaching experience, so some of my teaching methods where not very orthodox, but it fitted in with the academy’s motto in that they wanted education to be fun, for the kids to learn in a non regimented manner. Their policy works successfully, the kids are very bright, enthusiastic, energetic and very charismatic. Teaching them was always a joyful time. I made very positive attachments with all of them. The kids are quite shy, but once they get to know you that soon disappears.

Horizon Lanka is a positive place for all the kids of Mahawilachchiya, the kids are eager to educate themselves and to build a brighter future for themselves, their family and their village.

I advice anyone who is looking for a memorable experience to volunteer at Horizon Lanka, I certainly had an unforgettable time. I shall definitely be returning to the academy to do more work with the children.

In a stream in the village with my hosts
In a stream in the village with my hosts
Ready for Karate
Ready for Karate
In the beach , with the kids
In the beach , with the kids
In the country's biggest zoo in Dehiwala
In the country’s biggest zoo in Dehiwala
With my hosts
With my hosts
Happy moments
Happy moments
With the Head Master, at a parents' Meeting
With the Head Master, at a parents’ Meeting
Sunny beaches
Sunny beaches