Horizon Lanka Foundation has been maintaining a healthy relationship with AIESEC Sri Lanka Chapter for a long time. We have got foreign undergraduates from various countries to teach English and ICT at Horizon Lanka from July 20, 2009 with the arrival of our first AIESEC volunteer Miss Xin Li from China.
Yan Hao (Harry,) a male university undergraduate from China volunteered at Horizon Lanka in February, 2015 and stayed in Mahawilachchiya village for a month. He taught English to the students of Thakshila School, a public school in the village, during morning sessions and at Horizon Lanka Foundation after school. Since he came during the sports season of the public schools, we could not get as many students as we used to for after school classes in the evenings but he was kept fully occupied in the morning sessions at the public school. Yan Hao rendered an admirable service to the students in both Horizon Lanka and Thakshila School. We thank him and AEISEC for making this possible.
We invite both local and foreign volunteers to visit us and teach English and ICT to the students. We can provide food and lodging for you totally free of charge during your full stay in the village. If university undergraduates want to come through AEISEC, you can contact them and other volunteers can directly contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Miss Klára Gebhartová from the Czech Republic volunteered at Horizon Lanka from July 18 to August 17, 2015. She is a medical student and came to Mahawilachchiya when Horizon Lanka was strugling to make an impact on the village children after it was closed for 3 years. She was too smart in getting the kids back into the right track and rekindling their urge for education. She was a blessing to Horizon Lanka.
Klára Gebhartová’s Report
Dear Horizon Lanka,
My Experiences at Horizon Lanka, Mahawilachchiya, Sri Lanka
Spending almost five weeks in an environment where time flows without stress and where you can feel how living in the present moment is the right essence of life is an experience absolutely priceless.
Horizon Lanka was founded by Wanni. A son of parents that worked very hard to give him and his siblings the very important thing in these days, education. English and computers are for Wanni, very important to get connected with other people in the world and how to get an opportunity of a better job in this village. His effort is to give this opportunity also to others. So that is what Wanni offers to children in Mahawilachchiya. The same as he got. And I am very honoured that I could be a part of it. A lot of people are still trying to find there sense of life. Wanni can be a beautiful and simple inspiration for everyone.
Children are the same all over the world. They like games, some of them are keen to learn, some of them prefer fun. As Wanni said, Horizon is not one of Hitler’s torture chambers (concentration camps) and Horizon Lanka does not impose curfew on its volunteers. You don’t have to be stressed that your English is not excellent and you are not a professional teacher. The only important thing is to teach with enthusiasm. Firstly I was a bit stressed, I did not have an exact timetable and the entire program was just on me. But in few days I realized that here is no one that would judge you. That I am here, that I am not perfect but I can do my best to give the children what I know. After I realized this everything and stayed open I started to get ideas and creativity naturally.
Life in Mahawilachchiya
I stayed in the house with Wanni, Amma (Wanni’s mother) and Jeewani (Wanni’s niece). After my stay I felt that I am leaving my home. I don’t think there is anything else to say.
I often went to the shop to buy cookies. Especially, Munchee Hawaiian Cookies biscuits (a popular type of biscuits here with some added coconut pieces). I walked barefoot and explained to the people I met that I like to walk like that when they started giving me their slippers. I went bathing to the canal almost every day with Jeewani, taking my clothes sometimes to wash them. I traveled by bus to the fair every Thursday, went to the Buddhist temple with Jeewani, I played cricket with the boys from the village, trained and played volleyball. We went watching stars falling down during the Perseid meteor shower and more and more.
Thank you Wanni, that you founded Horizon Lanka. Because of you I could meet all of you. Thank you, that you showed me importance of education.
Thank you Jeewani, that you took me everywhere, cooked delicious meals, showed me how you enjoy life even with a lot of work. (Still keeping our shower in the rain in mind :))
Sthuthiyi Amma (Thank you mother) for our tea time teaching me, that even without telling a word much can be told.
Thank you children that you came and spent time with me. Thank you for the idea of bathing in the canal. Great thanks to Sewwandi, Rashmi, Malshi, Kanchana and Samanali. You were a great feedback for my teaching.
Thank you my friends Bhathiya, Jeewan and Sisira being interested in my life so we could share our experience and find a conclusion that it is probably the same all over the world. 😀 Thanks for Tantirimale and all other trips.
Thank you villagers taking me with open hearts and a smile.
Thank you Ramani and Udaya, inspiring me how can a relationship based on giving space to each other look like. Thank you Udaya for our talks about living in the moment.
Thank you my Anuradhapura family (Dr. Susil Premarathna’s family) for showing me how quickly a person can open heart for others and for the meditation at Jethavanaramaya, Anuradhapura sacred city.
Thank you Janaka for the help during my first days and being so generous.
Thank you Mahesh and family showing us how person can run his business giving importance to a guest’s satisfaction.
Traveling in Sri Lanka
When we (my boyfriend Lubosh who joined with me for the last leg of the tour in Sri Lanka – going sightseeing -) started traveling it was little difficult for me, because I realized that when you become a tourist in Sri Lanka you look like someone who is rich (because he can afford to travel) so a lot of local people see you as a resource of money. When this happens there is not much space left to opening hearts to each other. That is why we did as much as we could to stay on the same line. Traveling in a rented motorbike, traveling in a government bus, eating in the canteens with local people, staying overnight in cheap guesthouses also a lot of times with families. I feel this is essential. I think that was a reason why we could meet also a lot of great people during our traveling. My favourite place was Pidurangala – a beautiful calm rock. Traveling in the mountains by train was awesome as well with many amazing views. An opportunity to try surfing was making my dream come true. I like snowboarding but in surfing the awesome thing is that you have to connect with the sea to know when the right time to ride is.
People in the Czech Republic prefer more private, do not smile so much and spend a lot of time thinking and planning. I am happy that I could see smiles, hospitality and people living in the presence.
Klára Gebhartová, is a final year medical student at the Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic
Klára Gebhartová wth Lubosh
Read Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka’s report on Miss Klara.