Mahawilachchiya is a remote village with lack of proper means of transportation. The only public transport available here is the local bus with just a few trips a day (2-3 trips). Villagers depend mainly on their personal vehicles like three wheels, motorbikes, and bicycles for commuting.
This means we have to rely on the fluctuation of the public transport whenever we want to go to big cities or we have to have our own vehicle.
Unfortunately, we don’t have one now while our operation requires more long distance commute than an average villager. We have to go to Anuradhapura around 10 times a month to purchase school facilities and essentials which mostly are not available in the village. Sometimes, we travel as far as Colombo to pick up guests and volunteers. We also take volunteers around the country for sightseeing by bike. In addition to this, Horizon Lanka is starting three franchises in Vakarai (Eastern Sri Lanka,) Nuwara Eliya (Central Sri Lanka) and in Kilinochchi (Nothern Sri Lanka.) We need to travel to those locations. The distances to those three places from Horizon Lanka are 208 km, 250 km and 145 km respectively. Till now we travel by rented vans or privately owned motorbikes – which eat up our time and capital.
The transportation problem has not been addressed for a long time. We know that we cannot afford a car (obviously!). Motorbike seems like a reasonable choice for both short and long distance trips. Still, it is also over our budget.
That’s why we need your help to purchase a multipurpose motorbike for Horizon Lanka.
This new motorbike will help us be more flexible and productive in our operation by saving a lot of time and money on commuting. Also, our guests can now enjoy the peak of traveling by personal transport rather than hustling in public bus. The money we save can go into other uses which will benefits the whole Foundation. That we will deeply appreciate.
This is the bike model we want to buy. This costs 419,000 LKR (2888 USD / 2550 EUR.) We know this is expensive. But we cannot use a smaller bike for the needs we have. Hope our donors and well-wishers will understand this. You can donate in full or part. Contact us to send you bank details or you can simply donate us through our secure crowdfunding page at https://www.betterplace.org/en/projects/46068-help-give-students-in-mahawilachchiya-the-education-they-deserve.
Ms. Sumana Wijeratne, a Sri Lankan Canadian from Canada met our Founder Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka some time ago. She had introduced him to a new group of youth from Canada who are planning to start a not for profit organization to help the children in Naththandiya and elsewhere in the island. As a result, Mr. Shakya Wijesinghe, Mr. Kevin Rigney and Miss Karen Christina from The Bliss Project, Canada visited Horizon Lanka today and spent a day with our students and the students. They hope to set up an organization in Sri Lanka to support educational initiations in Sri Lanka. They visited Horizon Lanka mainly to learn from its 18 years of rich experiences. They will also support Horizon Lanka once their organization is set up.
They watched video presentations of the past students of Horizon Lanka, the new students’ presentations and also the now defunct mesh internet network. The team visited Dhananjaya’s (now an agricultural student of Rajarata University) and Gayani’s (now a medical student of Rajaraya University) to see the mesh towers erected in their gardens. After that they saw the Horizon Lanka students’ dancing talents for good 30 minutes’ time.
Then they visited Pramodya’s house to have lunch. Her mother had prepared a lavish authentic Sri Lankan village lunch which everybody enjoyed.
We hope they set up their organization fast to enhance educational opportunities of Sri Lankan students.
Gayani Sandamali Koswaththa was a cute little public speaker since she was a kid. The confidence, the style and the verbiage of the 10 year old Gayani used to make public speeches could not be expected even from a high school student. I didn’t know much about her till she did this speech at a morning meeting at Horizon Lanka on a routine Saturday morning meeting. I was mesmerized with the ease and the eloquence of this little girl’s speech.
I used to be absent or leave the school early pretending I was ill whenever I was forcibly included in the school literary association to make a speech. I was that scared and lacked confidence in doing a speech in front of a crowd at such events. I was extremely successful in this (avoiding such a disaster) till I ended up high school. I wish if I had the guts like the pintsized Gayani had.
Yesterday I saw in Facebook that Gayani was graduated as a lawyer and I am very happy for her. Her success was largely based on her own talents as Horizon Lanka could not do much for her betterment. She had to be just content with the average attention she got at Horizon Lanka as a result of me having to leave Horizon Lanka for 10 years just after I recognized her talents. If I stayed further with her, we should have given enormous opportunities for her just like we did with her seniors. But that was not to be for Gayani.
But I am very happy now that she speaks very good English (much better than I do) and now a qualified lawyer. I would have loved to take her to the Board of Horizon Lanka as a Director and a legal advisor for our affairs but her plans to stay in Colombo would not let us have such a privilege. I am not an enthusiast of going through our legal affairs as it is not my cup of tea. Let’s hope that Gayani will join us some day.
We at Horizon Lanka wish her success in all her future endeavors.
Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka
Milinda Arambewela Suresh Madushan, two undergraduates of the Faculty of the Applied Sciences in Rajarata University did a very useful workshop today (August 17, 2016) on Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) at Horizon Lanka Foundation on the advice of Mr. Danishka Navin, a Linux enthusiast and a Fedora contributor. He also contributes to LibreOffice and Mozilla/Firefox projects.
This is the 4th such workshop to be held at Horizon Lanka since July, 2016. The workshop covered the areas of HTML basics. This is the first lesson on web designing to the current Horizon Lanka students. In the past Horizon Lanka students were so good in graphic and web designing that they did overseas projects on the said areas and earned money while studying. Hope the current set of students also will have the same or more advanced opportunities in the near future. We thank Danishka, Milinda and Suresh for conducting this very important workshop for our students.
Mr. Nuwan Samaranayaka from Houston, Texas, the USA has helped Horizon Lanka enormously. He encouraged Chathura Sidath and Kavindu Dharmakeerthi from Lak Daruwo Network to do a workshop on robotics and ICT for us. They visited Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya to do an ICT workshop to us on August 12, 2016. They first introduced themselves and their journey at Lak Daruwo during past few years. They focused on how to develop our English communication skills and attitude. They also talked about the initiations they made by starting a robotics club at Lak Daruwo Center in Attanagalla. This session motivated and inspired us and gave us courage to believe that regardless of whatever challenges we have, we can overcome and continue.
Kavindu and Chathura did a session on Scratch programming. They installed Scratch in our computers and got us to start programming. They used the starter pack that comes with scratch too. At the end of this session we learnt how to continue without much outside help. So, now we can teach others also the basics of Scratch.
The next step was to assemble Pi-Bot with an introduction to robotics and what we can do with it. They got a computer configured with software to operate pi-bot. This was a challenge as we did not have any programming experience. But at least we learnt how some very simple programs to move the robot.
Thereafter they showed us the MindWave headset to measure brainwaves. This session was quite complicated. But they introduced new technologies and new possibilities. But we became fascinated by these technologies so we would try to explore them with effort with more help.
During and after the workshops we played some sports, dancing and had fun. This was one of the most exciting workshops we ever had at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya. We hope Kavindu and Chathura would visit us once again. We thank Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake for arranging this great event.
The Horizon Lanka Foundation is situated in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. So, most of the children here haven’t been to Nuwara Eliya a.k.a. the Little England which is situated in the Central Hills of Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate that these kids cannot see the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka due to the cost involved in it. After hearing this, a donor donated 150 USD a half of the transport cost of the trip of three days to Nuwara Eliya. (The full cost is 45,000 LKR – 310 USD/ 280 EUR.) We need someone else to match the rest 150 USD so that the children can make it to Nuwara Eliya during the long weekend in November . So, those who can, please do your donation through https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/empowering-children-in-rural-sri-lanka or directly depositing money in our account. Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get our bank details.
All the photos with the courtesy of internet.
My three weeks’ volunteering life in Horizon Lanka was an important experience in my life. This time I went to Horizon Lanka with my boyfriend Colin. He is good at teaching, so he helped me a lot about teaching kids.
My host was a 13 years old girl. Her name is Prabodha. She was really nice. Everything I needed there, she always said “come, come.” She kept looking at me. I can feel how much she likes me. Her innocent smile at the first night I met her, I will remember forever.
When I saw Horizon Lanka, it was small but so meaningful to local students. Students study English, computers, sports, dancing. Everything they learn there is really useful to their future. So when I taught there, that was a real challenge for me. Because I didn’t teach these many kids before. For the first class I wasn’t fully prepared. And I was told that I need to teach immediately. I was nervous, but I tried to use my entire mind to think how to teach, what to teach them. The things became clearer while i was teaching. That was not bad. The students listened to me. At least they learned some. At school, I taught English and computers to them. Dancing with them with the local music and dances are really awesome. Many students like dancing. I learned 2 songs and danced at the farewell party. That was really meaningful to me. Playing sports at the natural green playground when the sun was going down, which was a really happy time with them. Nanda always took us to some places to visit, ancient temples, ancient legend places, Wilpattu National Park. Unforgettable tree house place. Life there was colorful.
Every class I need to organize by myself. This was a good thing to me. I learned how to manage time and manage my class, I mean all ideas came from my own mind. That was a challenge and interesting. After that, i know how to think things by my own. That things I didn’t learn in China. Mostly do as what u have been told in China.
So here I want to say students are smart and talented. Some students learned computers a lot, So I suggest the volunteers who wanna come, you would better prepare more skilled English books, like how to do Photoshop, how to make videos, how to use MS Excel (more difficult.) About English teaching, Students know many English words, but they don’t know how to say in one sentence and their grammar is not too good. So i suggest that volunteers can bring some English learning tools, like pictures, games things. Students like reading, so can bring many small very simple English story books.
I was really glad I could live with the local people there, that’s what I look for while I travel, experienced local life, local culture, local people. The people there always smiled with us. The family i lived with was a woman who lived alone, Probadha’s aunt. Her husband died at civil war when their son was very young, and her son is at boxing school. Her family was affected by the war, she cried a lot every time she talked about her parents, husband. But she is so strong. She always showed me her family’s picture, her son when he was at school, her working pictures. She likes pictures. And she was really happy to teach me local language. I hope she can always smile. I can’t forget how sad she was when we left, she and Probodha’s mother cried a lot, they are really kind. The kind of feeling of love was priceless.
About living environment there, I think I can get used to. I think since we have come, let us stay and enjoy it, but remember to bring more toilet paper for yourself, haha. No worry, there are a lot fresh and cheap tropical fruits for you to eat.
I really love my life there. I learned a lot. I will better cherish the life I have now.
Zhang Yinyin (Naomi) – China
At first I didn’t know what to expect from staying in Mahawilachchiya even though I had a lot of information from Nanda (the founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation] and Kristina who was there at the beginning of this year. It’s still totally different culture so I was very curious about everything. I was glad that I could see the life of Sri Lankan during traveling before staying in Horizon Lanka so I could see how nice Sri Lankan people are and I learned a lot about Sri Lankan daily routines.
I am very pleased that I could stay with a Sri Lankan family and experience their common lifestyle. They accepted me like a new member of their family. They were so helpful all the time and I liked their smiles. My family was very poor but I didn’t miss anything. They can´t speak English at all (only the youngest daughter Aruni could speak a little English from the school) but even though we spent a lot of time talking about differences between the Czech Republic and Sri Lanka. They taught me Sinhala and I could at least help their daughter Aruni with improving her English.
But I came to Mahawilachchiya mainly because of volunteering in Horizon Lanka Foundation. Horizon Lanka is a very good idea because I am afraid that the children would do almost nothing in their free time after school. I was shocked that common hobby is sleeping here or the children just sit at home, don’t play any games or help parents. In the organization they can evolve their English, IT knowledge to do different other activities (dancing, singing, etc.) and spend meaningfully their free time with others. I had also a chance to teach English at a public school and I think that children from Horizon Lanka were always better in comparison to other pupils.
The only thing which I couldn’t get used to was no ordering of time and planning in Sri Lanka. But after a few days we didn’t get worried because we knew that it´s normal to wait. The time goes here differently than in Europe.
In conclusion I have to say that I am very happy that I decided to go to Mahawilachchiya. It was very interesting experience. I believe that many children could succeed and live their dreams in the future thanks to Horizon Lanka. I hope that a lot of other volunteers will come to Horizon Lanka to support the children and Nanda in his great idea.
Kamila Krunčíková – The Czech Republic