Cristina Medina is our first Spanish volunteer. She volunteered at Horizon Lanka in February, 2017. Read Cristina’s story below.
“This project is located in Mahawilachchiya, a privileged place away from the noise of the city so you can breathe a lot of peace that together with the hospitality of the local people make it a special place.
I was surprised by the work that Horizon Lanka is doing in this village, given the opportunity for children to learn English, information and communication technology and important life skills. But also it is a place to share and have fun together staff, children and volunteer in a great atmosphere.
I’m very happy to be part of this project and to be able to teach English and dance classes in my short time here.
They get you involved in the daily life of the village and show you place around. I went to bathe in nearby lake and visit a temple (Tantirimale Rock Temple) where the locals go on Sundays to pray, was very interesting.
The best thing of all was to live with Tharani’s family, a smart and charming girl of 14 years old with whom I shared many good moments and laughter. The family made me feels like at home and thanks to them I learnt about culture and customs of Sri Lanka because they are happy to share their daily life with me and make me part of the family.
I came to Horizon Lanka alone and here I found a family.”
We received a Microbit unit for coding and programming from two university students from University of Rajarta on March 07, 2017. Milinda Arambawela and Prageeth Rukmal De Silva bought it to us and did a very good lesson about it to us. The unit was donated to us from Microbit Sri Lanka User Group http://www.microbitslug.org
Prabhath Mannapperuma, Milinda and Prageeth are volunteers of MicrobitSLUG. They work hard to spread knowledge about Microbit and Donate Microbit Devices.
We want Milinda and Prageeth to come again and do another workshop on micro:bit as it will help us further. I love to learn about this type of gadgets. I already have an electronic kit sent by Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake from Houston, the USA. Below is an introduction about micro:bit from www.microbit.org website.
“This will be your hub for all things micro:bit, from writing code to sharing your creations. We’re working hard to make your experience as smooth and fun as possible, so if you have any feedback for us it’d be brilliant to hear it. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can use your BBC micro:bit for all sorts of cool creations, from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless. This little device has an awful lot of features, like 25 red LED lights that can flash messages. There are two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. Your BBC micro:bit can detect motion and tell you which direction you’re heading in, and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet – clever!
Have a look at our hardware page the micro:bit is an open development board that allows you to run code on it and have access to all of the hardware. We have enabled debugging so that you can really interrogate the system – the more you know about all the bits and pieces that your BBC micro:bit is made of, the more you can hack it and create with it.
Now onto the website, where you will write the scripts that can make all your BBC micro:bit dreams come true. Anyone can have a go, write code, and see how it would play back on the BBC micro:bit online simulator. You can get to the editors on a PC, tablet or mobile, at school or on the go.
Do you use a mobile phone or tablet? There is a micro:bit mobile app that lets you send your code to your micro:bit over Bluetooth (without using a USB cable) and more. The mobile page will tell you all about it.
So what are you waiting for? Watch some short videos to get started with your BBC micro:bit, find out about the different code editors and explore our tutorials and projects.
Be a tech pro of the future with the BBC micro:bit. The digital world is your oyster.”
I am very excited to be here as the 63rd volunteer at Horizon Lanka. Volunteering in Sri Lanka has always been a goal of mine since it’s my neighbor country and I have been longing for many years to travel to Sri Lanka. Even though I have traveled to many countries for work or sightseeing purposes, this is my first trip to Sri Lanka. Volunteering in Sri Lanka fills me with a sense of purpose and I will do everything I can for the Sri Lankan people.
Volunteering in Sri Lanka so far has been a wonderful experience and I am hoping to continue my volunteer work here in Horizon Lanka beyond my original plan of one month for a longer term. It’s an honor to meet Nanda Wanninayaka, the founder and CEO of Horizon Lanka. He is a friendly and easy going person that gives all volunteers many opportunities to teach English to the students, ages ranging from 7-16 years of age. The students are more eager to learn English and computers from the volunteers who come from around the world to teach them. It is a wonderful opportunity for the students to meet different nationalities and practice communicating in English.
I teach English and Tamil in Gamini Vidyalaya public school mornings from Monday to Friday. In the afternoon I teach English to the students in Horizon. On Saturday and half of Sunday I also teach. I have a great time with the Gamini School students because they are very eager to learn English and Tamil from me. I see that the Gamini School students show great respect to the teacher by kneeling down at the feet of the teachers, worshipping the teachers like they worship god or the Buddha. This is respect to the teachers is shown by students all over Sri Lanka. (In Sri Lanka, teachers are treated just next to gods.) This was a new experience for me and to see their humbleness and respect to the teachers made me feel good.
It’s nice for me to spend time with lots of volunteers from all over the world and share valuable experiences with them here. It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with Wasantha, a consultant for Horizon Lanka. When I first arrived, I stayed with Nanda for a while until I got a homestay with a host family. I stayed with them for many days and then moved back into Nanda’s house. I hope to get another host family soon.
In my opinion this is a worthwhile experience and anyone who is longing to teach English to students in any part of Asia is most welcome in Sri Lanka. Volunteering here is an unforgettable experience that greatly benefits the students’ knowledge of English as well their intercultural awareness. While I am here in Horizon Lanka, have visited some of the fascinating places nearby with the other volunteers and had great fun. I met a lot of great people like Nagy from Egypt, Costi from Italy, Cristina from Spain, Lea from Switzerland and Irina from Russia. We hope to meet more volunteers in the coming days, too. Volunteering in Sri Lanka feels really good and the energy of the students gives me energy to continue to teach English. I don’t ever get tired of teaching them and at the end of the day I go to sleep thinking about the activities and lessons I want to impart tomorrow. These are just some of the reasons I have chosen to travel to Sri Lanka as my volunteer destination and I hope you too choose Sri Lanka as your volunteering destination.
So, this was my awesome and wonderful experience by volunteering in Sri Lanka. I hope you too can enjoy this privilege one day.