101. Jess Williamson – The United Kingdom

Jess Williams with his younger sonMr. Jess Williamson from The United Kingdom volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in December, 2017.

Volunteering at Horizon Sri Lanka

Myself and my husband volunteered at Horizon Academy, Ralapanawa in Sri Lanka for two weeks, with our two children, aged 2 and 4. It was the first time we had taught English to children so we when we found out we would be teaching alone, without any Horizon representative it was a little daunting at first, however, this worked really well as we were able to work together as a team and run the classes how we wanted. We used our experience as parents to teach the children, singing nursery rhymes, playing games, and talking with the children. It was great to have so much freedom to run the class. The children were all polite, bright and eager to learn, and it was great to see their confidence grow as they learned more. Our own children were able to join in the classes when they wanted, or play in the host’s house, which is why it was great that the class was run from the house we were staying in. The local children were very friendly towards our children. The experience teaching the children was incredibly rewarding for us and is an experience we will never forget.

It is great to see how much Nanda cares for the future of the children, you can see that he works incredibly hard for Horizon Lanka, and for the children, and that he wants them all to fulfil their potential.

Volunteering at a public school:

We did not volunteer at the public school during our visit as it was the end of term, however we were invited to see the end of term show and have lunch at the school which was very enjoyable, and a real privilege.

Life with our hosts:

We were very lucky to have incredibly friendly, generous, welcoming hosts who we now call friends. It was great that Nanda placed us with a family with young children. We were looked after so well, they provided us with everything we needed, we ate very well, and we were very comfortable in the house. We had a lot of fun with our hosts and our children had a great time too. They were the perfect hosts.

Life in the village:

We are from a city and had not stayed in a village like Ralapanawa before, so it was very different for us. It was lovely to see how close all the villagers are, and how they look after each other. The villagers were all so welcoming towards us, everyone smiled and waved when we passed them. Some of the parents sat and watched the classes and it was very nice to have them there. We were invited to lunch at the villagers’ houses, and they looked after us and helped us when we needed. It was great to stay in such a strong community.

Life in Sri Lanka:

We spent six weeks in Sri Lanka as part of our family’s one year-round the world trip, we had a fantastic time, we visited Kandy and Ella by train, spent a lot of time on the southern beaches, and visited Jaffna and the North. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, the scenery is stunning, the people are incredibly generous, friendly and welcoming, and hardworking, and the food is delicious.

Kind regards,

Georgina, Jess, Dylan & Arto

Jess Williamson teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa
Jess Williamson teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa
Jess William's two sons at Kudiramalai beach
Jess William’s two sons at Kudiramalai beach


Jess with the younger son
Jess with the younger son