ONG em área rural do Sri Lanka usa tecnologia para oferecer aulas extracurriculares – Provir, May 31, 2016

ONG em área rural do Sri Lanka usa tecnologia para oferecer aulas extracurriculares – Provir, May 31, 2016

Escola-Rural-Sri-Lanka-Tecnologia2Read ONG em área rural do Sri Lanka usa tecnologia para oferecer aulas extracurriculares Use Google translator to see this in your language.

Fundação criada por professor de inglês tem programa para voluntários estrangeiros ensinarem em diferentes áreas

por Marina Morena Costa 31 de maio de 2016

Há quase 20 anos, a Fundação Horizon Lanka leva conectividade e ensino inovador para uma pequena cidade rural do Sri Lanka, o vilarejo de Mahawilachchiya. Com o uso de computadores e TV via satélite, a ONG oferece aulas de inglês, ciências, matemática, dança, canto, desenho e esportes, buscando oferecer uma complementação educacional que ajude as crianças da região a se equiparar às que estudam em áreas urbanas do país.

A Fundação foi criada em 1998, quando Nanda Wanninayaka, um professor de inglês do vilarejo, começou a escrever um jornal – feito a mão! – em inglês com seus alunos. A iniciativa chamou a atenção da embaixada dos Estados Unidos em Colombo, capital do Sri Lanka, que doou um computador para que o trabalho continuasse.

Pouco depois, Wanninayaka deixou a escola e começou a receber os alunos em sua casa, no contraturno. O professor lembra que dava aulas de inglês e orientava sobre o uso das Tecnologias da Comunicação e Informação (TICs) sob a sombra de uma mangueira enorme em seu jardim, por falta de outro espaço adequado. Ensinava sobre computadores, sem computadores, apenas desenhando em um quadro negro.

Ao longo dos anos, a instituição conquistou importantes avanços em inclusão tecnológica no vilarejo. Conduziu projetos para aquisição de computadores e laptops (para a ONG e para os moradores), garantiu acesso ininterrupto à internet, em 2004, quando nem telefone fixo estava disponível na aldeia, construiu uma rede de computadores, conectando 28 casas de estudantes e duas escolas públicas com internet, em 2006 (segunda a fundação, essa foi a primeira rede de malha de internet do Sri Lanka).

Entre 2007 e 2010, o projeto de Wanninayaka foi replicado pelo Ministério da Educação em 50 escolas de áreas rurais das nove províncias do Sri Lanka. Cerca de 100 milhões de rúpias cingalesas (US$ 700.000) foram alocados para o projeto. “Fui contratado como consultor, mas o governo não forneceu um centavo sequer ao projeto principal [a Fundação Horizon Lanka]”, conta o professor em entrevista ao Porvir.

Com a saída de Wanninayaka para trabalhar no projeto de expansão, a Horizon Lanka enfrentou dificuldades financeiras. Segundo o fundador, a mídia divulgou que a Fundação receberia parte dos 100 milhões de rúpias, e as doações pararam. “A maioria dos nossos doadores desviou o seu apoio a outros projetos, com o entendimento de que o governo cuidaria da Horizon Lanka. Quando o financiamento não veio para nós, pedi a um funcionário do gabinete do presidente se poderia publicar um artigo em nosso site dizendo que o governo não estava nos ajudando com o financiamento prometido, mas o funcionário me disse que se eu fizesse isso, o governo tomaria como descrédito. Com este tipo de ameaça indireta eu me calei e o projeto sofreu severamente. Tivemos que fechá-lo durante três anos e meio”, relata.

Wanninayaka voltou em julho de 2014 e tem lutado para conseguir mais fundos para a organização. Atualmente, a instituição realiza uma campanha de financiamento coletivo para arrecadar US$ 5.000. A verba irá ajudar a Fundação em vários aspectos, será destinada ao conserto de computadores, compra de material para salas de aula, manutenção das instalações, alojamento para voluntários e treinamentos. Após essa campanha, o professor pretende realizar outras, com objetivos específicos.

Um programa que tem dado resultados positivos é o de professores voluntários estrangeiros. A fundação recebe pessoas do mundo inteiro que desejam ensinar para as crianças do vilarejo. Em troca, oferece moradia e alimentação. Atualmente, há vagas para professores de inglês, TICs, esportes, artes (dança, canto, fotografia, etc.), marketing e angariação de fundos.

Klára Gebhartová, estudante de Medicina de Praga, na República Checa, passou cinco semanas na Horizon Lanka, em meados de outubro de 2015. “Você não precisa se estressar porque seu inglês não é excelente e você não é um professor profissional. A única coisa importante é ensinar com entusiasmo. No começo eu estava um pouco estressada, eu não tinha um cronograma exato e todo o programa estava comigo. Mas em poucos dias percebi que aqui não há ninguém que vá te julgar. Estou aqui, não sou perfeita, mas posso fazer o meu melhor para ensinar às crianças o que eu sei. Depois que percebi isso e fiquei mais aberta, comecei a ter ideias e criar naturalmente”, relatou para o site da fundação.

Hoje são atendidos cerca de 100 alunos, mas em 2005, nos tempos áureos, a instituição chegou a atender 500 crianças, segundo o seu fundador. A fundação tornou-se “uma porta de entrada para o ensino superior” para as crianças do vilarejo, nas palavras de Wanninayaka. Segundo o professor, a Horizon Lanka produziu professores qualificados de inglês, engenheiros de software, médicos, engenheiros, contadores, advogados e graduados em outras especialidades.

“A Horizon Lanka dá confiança aos estudantes em suas habilidades e se esforça para garantir às crianças na zona rural Sri Lanka as mesmas oportunidades que os seus pares na cidade sem ter que viajar por horas a cada dia”, resume.

Horizon Lanka Received a Brand New Sub-woofer Sound System

Ran Pokunen Dance Practice

Ran Pokunen Dance Practice

Our old subwoofer sound system became unusable after it was struck by a lightning during a rainy night. We were practicing a dance when this happened and luckily no one was hurt. So, we were desperate to find another sound system as we wanted to continue practice dance items, listen to songs and watch movies. But we did not have the money needed to buy a new one. So, we published a post asking for a new subwoofer in our Facebook page. We did not expect a speedy answer for our request.

But an ex employee of Horizon Lanka sent a message saying he was going to transfer money immediately for us to buy a new subwoofer sound system. He kept the promise and donated us 5,000 LKR (33.99 USD) to Horizon Lanka and we bought a brand new sound system the same day. We thankthis donor for helping us to continue our lessons and entertainment. We are very happy to use the new sound system. These are some pictures of the dance practices we did with the sound system. You can also see a dance practice we did with the subwoofer in the YouTube video below. This is just a practice session. We trained the junior girls to dance with us.

Prabodha Sandeepani Kalotuwawa prabodha@horizonlanka.org Grade 8, Horizon Lanka

Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.
Horizon Lanka students practicing a dance item.

Horizon Lanka Received a New Multimedia Screen

Multimedia Screen

Multimedia Screen

We wanted a new multimedia screen for Horizon Lanka as our old one was broken and beyond repair. So, as usual, we posted a request on our Facebook page to that effect. Within a few hours we got a message from Mr. Sunimal Weerasooriya, a good friend and a well-wisher of Horizon Lanka since 2002, saying he is ready to fund the whole amount, 14,500 LKR (100.56 USD) needed for us to purchase the multimedia screen we needed. As promised, he transferred money to our organization’s account and we bought the multimedia screen.

This multimedia screen is much bigger (8’ X 6’) than our old screen and we use it for public events at Horizon Lanka such as presentations, concerts, etc. We also use it for our dance practices, watching movies, using Internet, doing demonstration lessons, etc. This is very useful for us. These days we are creating a new dance item to cheer our sports team with the combination of New Zealand rugby team’s Haka dance and some other dances.

We thank Mr. Weerasooriya, the Senior Vice President – Technology, Productivity & Innovation for the Transnational Group in Singapore.

for this personal donation he made to our organization. (Mr. Weerasooriya offered a valuable free ICT course training opportunity for one of our staff members in 2002 on the request of Mr. Prabhath Rajakaruna of the USA.)

Nimanditha Thathsarani Disanayaka nimanditha@horizonlanka.org Grade 8, Horizon Lanka

Mr. Sunimal Weerasooriya
Mr. Sunimal Weerasooriya with Mr. Nanda Wannnayaka during the former’s visit to Horizon Lanka in July, 2015
Practicing an Arabic dance item
Practicing an Arabic dance item
Watching the Hollywood movie Beyond Borders with English subtitles
Watching the Hollywood movie Beyond Borders with English subtitles
Reading about Beyond Borders movie in Wikipedia
Reading about Beyond Borders movie in Wikipedia
Watching the images from the movie Beyond Borders
Watching the images from the movie Beyond Borders
Looking at our Facebook Page
Looking at our Facebook Page

Please Help Pay Our Internet Bill This Year

Facebook Chat

Facebook Chat

Zachary Grenzowski (Zach) was the first foreign volunteer to visit Horizon Lanka this year. He volunteered at Horizon Lanka from January to February over here. He taught us English, computers and American football. We loved his teaching as he was very kind and effective teacher for us.

While we were doing a night English class with Mr. Nanda few days ago (on May 12, 2016), Mr. Nanda said, “Zach is online. Would you like to talk to him?” We were overjoyed to hear our beloved teacher Mr. Zach’s voice. But Facebook offered us more than the voice. We saw him on our big multimedia screen through  live video chat too. It was an exciting moment for us. We talked to him for a long time and he promised to talk to us on every Thursday. From that day we were in love with Facebook. We started creating each of us a Facebook account. We love to use Facebook for good things. People say Facebook is bad but our teachers help us using it under their supervision. Each of us has an email ID too and we communicate with our friends, former volunteers, donors, etc. through emails. It helps improve our English and communication skills.

The problem we have here is that there is only two internet dongles and two smart phones we can log on to Internet only with one PC at a time. We already pay around 14,500 LKR (100 USD) per month as our Internet bill to use our emails, update our website, update our individual  Facebook pages, update our Flickr stream and YouTube stream and all our other needs. Our annual expense on the Internet is 180,000 LKR (1230 USD.) It would be great if someone who reads this post can donate that amount for our organization so that we can learn more English by using Internet more. If we have Internet constantly, we can talk to our former volunteers and the other people our staff introduce us. You can donate to us through https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/empowering-children-in-rural-sri-lanka.

Mr. Nanda said that each of us can have our own webpage, blog and a lot more if we have a sponsor for our Internet bill. We love to use Internet more. When we use Internet, we can learn English and computers fast. So, we hope you would help us.

Aruni Apsara Wewalage, aruni@horizonlanka.org Grade 08, Horizon Lanka

Zachary Grenzowski
Zachary Grenzowski on multimedia screen at Horizon Lanka

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Help Repair the Horizon Lanka Washroom I හොරයිසන් ලංකා නාන කාමරය අලුත්වැඩියා කිරීම

Help Repair the Horizon Lanka Washroom I හොරයිසන් ලංකා නාන කාමරය අලුත්වැඩියා කිරීම

british-volunteers2

At Horizon Lanka, all the students, the staff and the visitors use the washroom that was built in 2002. It needed some repairs and replacing the bathroom utensils. Since a lot of foreign volunteers started coming to Horizon Lanka, we repaired it in a hurry last February with getting the hardware and labor cost on credit from the nearby building material store, Mashi Hardware. We have not been able to pay them for the last three months. It would be great if you could donate 38,195 LKR (261.65 USD) for this purpose so that we could pay the creditor and win their confidence back to get similar help in future. Please contact info@horizonlanka.org if you can help us.

හොරයිසන් ලංකා ආයතනයේ නාන කාමරය 2002 තරම් ඈත කාලයේ ඉදිකරන ලදි. එය සිසු සිසුවියන්, කාර්යමණ්ඩලය සහ අමුත්තන් පොදුවේ භාවිතා කරති. මේ වසර මුලදී නිරතුරුවම විදේශීය ස්වෙච්ඡාසේවක සේවිකාවන් අප ආයතනයට පැමිණි බැවින් අප විසින් ණය පදනම මත භාණ්ඩ සහ ශ්‍රමය ලබාගෙන නාන කාමරය පසුගිය පෙබරවාරියේදී අලුත්වැඩියා කළෙමු. එම භාණ්ඩ සහ සේවාවන් අපට ණය පදනම මත ලබාදුන්නේ අසල මාෂි හාර්ඩ්වෙයාර් ගොඩනැගිලි ද්‍රව්‍ය වෙළඳසලෙනි. එම සම්පූර්ණ ණය මුදල රුපියල් 38,195 (ඇමරිකානු ඩොලර් 261.65කි.) තුන් මසක් ගතවීත් අපට එය ගෙවා දැමීමට නොහැකි වී ඇත. ඔබට හැකිනම් එම මුදල හොරයිසන් ලංකා ආයතනයට පරිත්‍යාග කරන මෙන් කරුණාවෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමු. මේ සඳහා පහත ඊමේල් ලිපිනය භාවිතා කරන්න. info@horizonlanka.org

38. Benjamin Pages – France

38. Benjamin Pages – France

Benjamin Pages from France volunteered at Horizon Lanka during April, May, 2016. Read his tour report below.

“I step off the airplane. My heart is pounding. What did I get myself into? Here I am, standing exhausted after 20 hours of travel from Houston, TX in the arrival hall of Bandaranaike International Airport, 20kg of luggage strapped onto my back. Each additional step I make towards the sliding exit doors of the terminal fills me up with more excitement, as I am getting ready to enter a brand new world.

One more step and here I am… Sri Lanka! The marvellous State of Ceylon! The sun is warmer than anything I’ve felt before. Rickshaws, motorbikes and cars are swarming in all directions and blasting their horns at each other. It’s loud, it’s hot and it’s grandiose. Just like I imagined it the past several months.

A few hours later, after a bumpy and jam-packed bus ride, I reach Mahawilachchiya and embark on one of the memorable experiences I’ve been blessed to live to this day.

I am not a teacher, neither am I an educator. I emphasise this point for all of you reading this article thinking you may not have what it takes to stand in front these children and contribute to their development.
A few hours per day, I was entrusted with running English lessons in one of the four public schools in the area. Now, imagine yourself standing in front thirty restless children who don’t understand a thing you say, and having to teach them the English alphabet.. or colours.. or the weather. Since again, I had no pedagogic training, every day was a new challenge.

But, I’ll tell you what. When you witness from your own eyes the enthusiasm and whole-heartedness of these children, you only want one thing and that is to share with them everything you have. You want to show up and give 100% of yourself every day you spend with them.

What I have seen during my time at Horizon Lanka is brilliant children who just happen to lack the resources to express their full potential. And this is where we, volunteers, come in to provide them with the tools that will enable them to design a life beyond the limitations their environment might have imposed on them.

I always tell my friends that I thought I was going to Sri Lanka on a heroic mission to contribute to people’s lives, and that in fact, I ended up receiving a lot more than I could ever give. People in Mahawilachchiya do not have much, but they share it all! Their generosity and selflessness is nothing like anything I had witnessed before…

I could go and on about Horizon Lanka, the children, the incredible wildlife, the local traditions, the food, and much more that could possibly be encompassed in this essay…

I encourage anybody looking to rediscover themselves, revive their sense of appreciation for the little things in life and experience an authentic culture preserved from the misdeeds of tourism to take the leap.

Whoever you are, there are things you know the children of Sri Lanka are eager to learn and grow from – so take action.” – Benjamin Pages

Ben Pages signing a Sri Lankan song.