From the inception that I became a teacher of the English language in 1997, I have used this book “Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy, with students from ages 11 to 19 years [Grade Six to High School (Advanced Level in Sri Lanka)]. This book is inexpensive in Sri Lanka, the cost of one copy being 375 LKR or 2.23 USD, 1.89 EUR. Yet, for the most of the students at Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka, even this is beyond their parents’ means as they do not have a regular source of income, most being day laborers.
Having heard of this situation, Mr. Nalaka Jayarathne, a former student of mine from Niwaththaka Chethiya High School in Anuradhapura, now a software engineer in Singapore, sent 4,000 LKR which enabled us to buy 10 Essential English Grammar books and also one English /Tamil dictionary which usually costs 750 LKR or 45 USD, 3.79 EUR. Ten copies of this book and one dictionary were purchased (with the discount the bookshop in Jaffna offered us for buying 10 books). We distributed these books amongst the senior students who are getting ready to sit the G. C. E. Ordinary Level (a national level examination held this December.) Grade 10, 11 and 12 students. The aim is to complete this book by December. This is mainly a self-study book with ample exercises on basic English grammar. Also, local and foreign volunteer teachers will help the students. The answers and very valuable appendixes are given at the end of the book.
Since Grade 6, 7, 8 and 9 students also wanted the book – they are smarter than the senior students in English – Mr. Lionel Balasuriya, a Sri Lankan American from California, USA, also immediately sent money, sufficient for 10 Essential English Grammar books. These 20 books would be adequate for the students for the present time.
There is also another an adult women’s English class at the Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, solely handled by the foreign volunteer teachers at the Academy and there are around 10 young and middle-aged women in this class. It would be ideal if anyone could please donate 4,000 LKR, [23.74 USD, 20.22 EUR] for us to buy another 10 Essential English Grammar books and one copy of the English to Simple English/Tamil dictionary too. Thank you
Miss Sihini Atalugama is a Sri Lankan American teenage girl living in Tampa, Florida, the United States of America. Her parents, Lalani and Asela Atalugama had been helping Horizon Lanka since 2002 by providing scholarships to the students of Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya.
Last June, Sihini visited Mahawilachchiya with her younger brother Thehan Atalugama and her parents on a week-long volunteering assignment. Since Horizon Academy in Mahawilachchiya was grooming Gamini Public School as a “sister school” by providing foreign volunteers, IT related equipment, musical instrument, etc. to this school, the Horizon Lanka Foundation directed Sihini to volunteer at this school which brought immense benefits to the school.
Sihini and her brother taught English to the students here. Sihini also initiated a program to provide financial scholarships to the students of this school by launching Bright Light Foundation on her own initiative with little guidance from her parents. Visit www.brightlightconnect.org and assist her in this boundless initiative. She hopes to raise funds for the scholarships program through her website and direct the funding to brighten the lives of the students in this small school in which around 200 students’ study.
On top of all these Sihini’s parents donated money to the school to buy a few dictionaries, sports jerseys and shorts for the school volleyball team and also some school supplies and USB pen drives to the school. They also brought reading glasses from the USA and distributed them among the villagers in Dunumandalawa, Mahawilachchiya.
Sihini also hopes to raise funds to provide an air conditioner to Gamini School’s computer lab in the future. There are a few other projects lined up for the school if the school authorities show that the funds are managed transparently and utilized effectively for the benefit of the students and the school.