Ms. Paula Sánchez González from Spain volunteered at Horizon Academy – Werapitiya, Kandy operated by Horizon Lanka Foundation in August 2019.
We volunteered about 2 weeks, from 16th August 2019 till the 2nd of September 2019, in a town near Kandy with an amazing host family teaching the kids near the town some English and some other practical skills.
About the town, it is near Werapitiya, Kandy. It’s an amazing place, so much nature and so much to visit there. The host family took us with their tuk tuk to waterfalls, rivers, mountains and everything surrounded by tea plantations. It’s a truly magical place.
The host family was also incredible; their warm welcome was really something. They cooked for us very different and delicious food, I think we gain 10 kilos in our 2 weeks there. They gave us a really nice room, always were on handy to make a trip with us, talk, play some card games at night, explain to us their culture, etc. It was wonderful.
The Horizon Academy was sadly closed, and nobody warned us about this, I think this was the main problem. Vajira organized our host family and our stay. He is a tour guide and knew a lot about Sri Lanka, spoke also Spanish, however, we just saw him once in 2 weeks. Sadly, the local school was closed at the time we arrived. Actually, Vajira knew very little about the school and the town, so the organization could be done better. With this problem, the family (and not Vajira) organized some teaching in their home or in the Buddhist temple with the kids, from 5 to 22 years old, from the town, but some days we didn’t know what to do. Because of the age difference and without any guidelines, it wasn’t quite easy to teach them. Despite this inconvenience, the kids really want to learn anything and are very curious about different cultures, so it was fun and enjoyable to teach/play with them.
After this time together, we had to say goodbye to all these great people, we traveled for two weeks in Sri Lanka. This was an amazing experience. Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country and, as said before, people are very kind and helpful. We can enjoy cultural and historical places, like mountains with tea plantations with nice landscapes and good hiking, as beautiful beaches to relax and swim!
To conclude, we would like to say we really recommend this experience, the people of Sri Lanka are really kind and the country has so much different nature and culture. Our volunteering experience was great, despite the school problem, the experience was great and we are really thankful.
Paula Sánchez and Daniel Burger
Explanation from Nanda Wanninayaka, the Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation.
Dear Dan and Paula,
I read your very interesting report. I am glad that you had mentioned both positive and negative remarks. I apologize for the negative aspects. In fact, it was my fault than Vajira’s. I was expected to visit the village and make the right connections with the public schools, Sunday schools in temples, etc. But I fell ill a couple of times last year and this prevented me from doing so. I have not visited this village at least once as of yet. So, I will visit this village next week with Vajira and then meet the students, school principals, teachers, villagers, etc. and then explain what we do through Horizon Academy.
Yes, it was the public school vacation while you were in Werapitiya but usually, in other Horizon Academies, more students come to us during vacations. If I visited the village earlier, I could have easily arranged that.