Sihini Brings New Dreams to Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Sihini Atalugama


Sihini Atalugama

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.

Pramodhya Gunarathna pramodhya.umayangani.gunarathna@horizonacademy.lk – Grade 10 – Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

Sihini Atalugama with the students of Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya
Sihini Atalugama with the students of Gamini Public School, Mahawilachchiya
Sihini Atalugama in the USA
Sihini Atalugama in the USA
Distribution of reading glasses to the villagers in Duunumandalawa, Mahawilachchiya
Distribution of reading glasses to the villagers in Duunumandalawa, Mahawilachchiya

Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa, Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura Needs Your Support

Ralapanawa Students

Horizon Lanka Foundation started its second Horizon Academy in Ralapanawa, Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka in December, 2017. Mr. Rohana Kumarasingha and Ms. Nadeeka Kumarasingha from Ralapanawa are running this academy. Nadeeka was an alumnus of Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya.  She is a dynamic young lady who does a lot for the students and the community at large in the village through her hard work.

Ralapanawa Students

The running cost of the Horizon Academy here per month is around 25,000 LKR | 156.68 USD | 133.90 EUR. This cannot be recovered from the students as their parents get a very low income or in some cases, no income at all. Hence the three-year-long drought disturbed the villagers’ main income, farming, they undergo a lot of hardships. So, we have decided to charge only a 100 LKR | 0.63 USD | 0.54 EUR fee per month from a student here. If we get 100 students per month, we would be able to get 10,000 LKR | 62.67 USD | 53.56 USD. This will cover part of the monthly expenses from of the academy.

Since we cannot afford to pay the teachers, we depend on local and foreign volunteers to teach English and ICT here. So far, 19 foreign volunteers have taught the children in this Academy. We expect more local and foreign volunteers to join us soon.

The foreign volunteers teach English free of charge in the public schools in the mornings and this is totally free of charge for all the students in those schools. The students come to Horizon Academy in the evenings. Foreign volunteers teach during the week days and local volunteers can help teach these students English, ICT, science, mathematics, fine arts and sports during weekends. For the local volunteers, the villagers will provide food and accommodation free of charge. (Foreign volunteers pay the host families for their food and accommodation.)

The students have to pay the above fee for attending Horizon Academy as there are some costs involved in the Academy such as electricity, internet, telephone, stationary, transport, entertaining guests, etc. So, if any of you could help us with these expenses, please email us on info@horizonlanka.org. (All contributions and expenses will be recorded, audited and shared with the donors and other stakeholders.)

Nanda Wanninayaka, The Founder and the Chairman of the Horizon Lanka Foundation

Mini Concert to Say Goodbye to Foreign Volunteers Diana, Eagle, Sona and Monika – July 13, 2017

Mini Concert to Say Goodbye to Foreign Volunteers Diana, Eagle, Sona and Monika – July 13, 2017

Horizon Lanka VolunteersThe students of Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka held a Mini Concert, the first of its kind for 2017, on July 13, 2017 at the Academy to say goodbye to four of our foreign volunteers, namely, Diana Wong Yuen Sam and Eagle Man Ho Tin from Hong Kong and Sona Forstlova and Monika Salfická from the Czech Republic. They volunteered in July, 2017 and did a lot to educate the students both at Horizon Academy and Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya.

All the volunteers also took part in the concert by performing along with the students of Horizon Academy and Gamini Public School in Mahawilachchiya.

See the pictures and videos of the concert items below.

Primary students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya
Primary students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya

Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing with volunteers
Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing with volunteers

Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing
Senior students at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya dancing

Man Ho Tin Eagle at the Concert
Man Ho Tin Eagle at the Concert

Horizon Lanka Volunteers after the concert
Horizon Lanka Volunteers after the concert

Diana Wong Yuen Sam with the kids after the concert
Diana Wong Yuen Sam with the kids after the concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horizon Lanka Foundation Launches Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa on December 01, 2017

Nadeeka Kumarasingha with a computer at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya.

Nadeeka Kumarasingha with a computer at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya.

Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF) starts its flagship academic institute, the fifth branch of Horizon Academy in Ralapanawa, Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura on December 01, 2017. The HLF started its first Horizon Academy in Mahawilachchiya in August 01, 1998 (19 years ago) and the second on May 01, 2017 in Tantirimale (5 ½ months ago) and the third on September 01, 2017 in Anuradhapura City (1 ½ months ago) and the fourth in Ranpathvila on November 01, 2017 (15 days ago) and getting prepared to start its 5th branch in Ralapanawa, Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura on December 01, 2017.

Even though there is a big school and a number of small schools in Nochchiyagama, students’ English and ICT knowledge are much to be desired. We were looking for a good location to start a Horizon Academy close to Nochchiyagama. Then I remembered that a former bright student of mine, Nadeeka Sajeewani is settled in Ralapanawa with her family. So, I sent a message to them to come and meet me. Nadeeka was one of the brightest and most dynamic students Horizon Lanka Foundation can boast of. She was a creative dancer, a terrific singer, an avid graphic and web designer, an aggressive sportswoman and an excellent presenter. So, I thought why not use her to start the new Horizon Academy in Nochchiyagama? So, I proposed my idea to Nadeeka and her husband Rohana  and they were over the moon to hear it. We can recruit Nadeeka to teach English (and ICT, dancing, etc.)

I visited their house which is being built but there is ample space in her house and the garden to start the Academy. So, we had an extensive discussion and then decided to start the Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa, Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura on December 01, 2017.

We are happy to say that already a regular Horizon Lanka donor, Ms. Vayomi Wijeratne has donated 21,000 LKR (136.71 USD) for Nadeeka to enroll for a Certificate Course in English at Rajarata University of Sri Lanka. We are looking for another donor to provide a similar training to another girl or boy to do the same course but she/he would mostly teach ICT. We need all our staff members to communicate in English fluently. Nadeeka’s husband, Rohana can be recruited as the manager of the Academy and these three positions would be sufficient for the Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa for the first year.

We keep getting qualified foreign volunteers to teach English and other languages and ICT in our academies and a couple from the United Kingdom has agreed to volunteer at the academy at Ralapanawa in December. We will get many more and we won’t have teacher shortages. By working with foreign volunteer teachers, the local staff also will improve their English and ICT knowledge faster.

Like in all our other Horizon Academies, the students and the youth in Nochchiyagama area will be able to learn English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese at Ralapanawa. They will also learn ICT, Robotics and IoT. In addition, they will do sports such as American football, rugby, soccer, cricket, volleyball and martial arts. To produce a balance student, we have also added aesthetic subject areas such as dancing, music, painting, etc. to break the monotony.

So, come and join us at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa. Ms. Georgina Williamson and Mr. Jess Williamson from the United Kingdom would be the first two foreign volunteer at the Academy.

So, we need your support for capital expenditure and recurrent costs at least for the first year. Our idea is to reach the breakeven stage within the first six months and then become sustainable within the first year. With the experiences of 19 years in the field of English and ICT supplementary education, I am sure we can achieve the goal we set up.

So, please help us. You an either contact me through mobile phone on 0094 7777 02678 or 0094 7185 08537 or nanda@horizonlanka.org or nanda.wanninayaka@gmail.com if you need our bank details. Or you can simply donate with your credit card through our crowdfunding campaign at https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/empowering-children-in-rural-sri-lanka. You can download our Annual Budget in Microsoft Excel here. HORIZON ACADEMY – RALAPANAWA – ANNUAL BUDGET You can sponsor any of the expenses in full or in portions. 

Please share this story with the students and the youth in the adjoining areas and tell them to join Horizon Academy at their earliest. The Academy starts officially on December 01, 2017 at 3.00 pm and the course fees for the first month (December) will be completely free and there will be a fee of 500 LKR per student from January for all the subjects mentioned above.

Contact Mr. Rohana Kumarasingha, the Manager of Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa at rohana@horizonlanka.org through email and on 071-3902542 on mobile or Ms. Nadeeka Kumarasingha, the English Teacher of the academy at nadeeka@horizonlanka.org and on 071-8705428.

So, see you at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa on December 01, 2017 at 3.00 pm.

Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder and the Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation

Nadeeka's house and the spacious garden. Horizon Academy will be held here.
Nadeeka’s house and the spacious garden. Horizon Academy will be held here.

Nadeeka Kumarasingha - aspiring to be an English teacher.
Nadeeka Kumarasingha – aspiring to be an English teacher.

Nadeeka and Rohana with the kids.
Nadeeka and Rohana with the kids.

With my former student Nadeeka Kumarasingha and her kids.
With my former student Nadeeka Kumarasingha and her kids.

Horizon Lanka Foundation Launches Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila on November 01, 2017

Students at Horizon Academy in Ranpathvila

Students at Horizon Academy in RanpathvilaHorizon Lanka Foundation (HLF) starts its flagship academic institute, the fourth branch of Horizon Academy in Ranpathvila, Kahatagasgidiliya, Anuradhapura tomorrow, November 01, 2017. The HLF started its first Horizon Academy in Mahawilachchiya in August 01, 1998 (19 years ago) and the second on May 01, 2017 in Tantirimale (5 months ago) and the third on September 01, 2017 in Anuradhapura City (one month ago) and have plans to start its 5th branch in Ralapanawa, Nochchiyagama, Anuradhapura on December 01, 2017.

The idea of starting a Horizon Academy in Ranpathvila is quite abrupt, unexpected and interesting. My eldest brother, Nayanasena Wanninayake who works as a civil engineer in the United Arab Emirates (and also a Sinhala lyrycyst) shared a story on Facebook about a young and energetic Sinhala teacher (Mr. Sugath Nayanananda) who contributed to a free nightly school classes program at Welusuamana Maha Vidyalaya, Thammannewa, Mihintale, Anuradhapura under the blessings of the then principal of the school Mrs. Lalana Dimuthu Wijayanganai. (She is the principal of Kahatagasdigiliya Central College now and continues the nightly school there too.) The subjects covered in this very productive program were Sinhala, English, science, mathematics, history, ICT and aesthetic subjects. The results of the program were amazing and the students’ pass rates at the national level exam GCE Ordinary Level usually taken by students during the final two years of Senior Secondary School [Grade 10 & 11 (usually ages 15–16)] improved significantly and both Welusuamana Maha Vidyalaya and Kahatagasdigiliya Central College successfully continue the program. I visited Welusuamana Maha Vidyalaya on my personal capacity a few weeks ago and met the staff and I am yet to visit Kahatagasdigiliya Central College.

Having shared the information about Sugath’s contribution to this exceptional program, my brother asked me if I could help them academically in any way possible. Since I have an “unending emotional bond” to the area and I saw this is a perfect program for Horizon Lanka to be of some service to the region, I had a couple of meetings with Sugath and we both decided to start a Horizon Academy branch in Ranpathvila where the students from Kahatagasdigiliya and Mihintale have easy access to since it is situated in the Anuradhapura – Trincomalee main road. There are around 10-15 smaller rural schools in the area and hopefully those students too could join Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila.

So, please share this story with the students and the youth in the adjoining areas and tell them to join Horizon Academy at their earliest. The Academy starts officially tomorrow (November 01, 2017) at 3.00 pm and the course fees for the first month (November) will be completely free of charge and there will be a fee of 500 LKR per student for a range of subjects from English to ICT to robotics to aesthetics subjects to sports.

So, come and join us at Horizon Academy, The First and Only Edutainment Academy of Sri Lanka. Miss Melissa Schmitt from France has joined the institute as the first foreign volunteer at the Academy.

Contact Mr. Sugath Nayanananda, the Manager of Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila at sugath@horizonlanka.org through email and on 077-4499924 or 071-4299924 on mobile or Mr. Namal Thissa, the English Teacher of the academy at namal@horizonlanka.org and on 077-4546484 or 071-9937398.

So, see you at Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila tomorrow at 3.00 pm.

Thanks to my brother Nayanasena Wanninayaka for making this connection which will in turn do a big difference in the education in the area. Let’s hope for the best.

Nanda Wanninayaka

Nanda, Madhu, Sugath, Melissa and Quentin at a meeting at Namal's house.
Nanda, Madhu, Sugath, Melissa and Quentin at a meeting at Namal’s house.

Sugath Nayanananda introducing the Horizon Academy program to students in Ranpathvila on September 26, 2017
Sugath Nayanananda introducing the Horizon Academy program to students in Ranpathvila on September 26, 2017

Nanda Wanninayaka introducing the Horizon Academy program to students in Ranpathvila on September 26, 2017
Nanda Wanninayaka introducing the Horizon Academy program to students in Ranpathvila on September 26, 2017

Students at the first awareness event at Ranpathvila on September 26, 2017
Students at the first awareness event at Ranpathvila on September 26, 2017

A statue of Gog Aiyanayaka, a regional god with an elephant head and trunk traditionally respected by villagers in Dry Zone of Sri Lanka
A statue of Gog Aiyanayaka, a regional god with an elephant head and trunk traditionally respected by villagers in Dry Zone of Sri Lanka

 

A Protest March and a Hunger Strike in Mahawilachchiya to Force the Government to Repair a Road in Mahawilachchiya

Anura Bandara in hunger strike
Anura Bandara in hunger strike

Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation, Mahawilachchiya.

The road from Anuradhapura to Mahawilachchiya was repaired well during the rule of the previous government. According to the sources from the Mahawilachchiya Divisional Secretariat, the previous government also had allocated money to extend the road repairs from Mahawilachchiya Tract 4 Junction up to Helambewa through Sooriyadamana. But after the change of the government in January this year the new government canceled the repairing of this very important road.

The road from Tract 4 junction to Buruthagas Handiya was not repaired well for a very long time. What they did was just flattening the road with an excavator from time to time. It wasn’t a lasting solution to the problem. The soil became a muddy road during the monsoon rains and most of the flattened soil was washed away with the rain and traveling became a nightmare. This part of the road wasn’t repaired after it was built before 1957. Mahawilachchiya settlement was handed over to the people in 1957.

Today, (November 10, 2015) there was a protest march led by Mr. Anura Bandara, a farmer in the village to force the government to repair this road from Tract 4 junction to Buruthagas Handiya (only 5 kilometers.) Mr. Bandara started a hunger strike after the protest march till the government promises to repair the road. A few years ago, he led another protest with a large number of villagers to force the then government to repair the road from Anuradhapura to Mahawilachchiya. He was even put in the remand prison for seven days as he defied the court order given to him ordering him not to block the road. However, after some time, the road was repaired and now it is in a good condition to travel. The road from Pemaduwa (the small town in Mahawilachchiya village) to Mannar junction was repaired and carpeted after former president Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa experienced how bad the road was when he travelled to Mannar Junction in a car to declare open cooperative rice storage. So he ordered the officials to repair and carpet that distance. Now that road is well repaired and carpeted. But there is nobody to repair this last 5 kilometers in the Left Bank of Mahawilachchiya. Hope Mr.  Bandara’s hunger strike ends with a positive response from the government. He represents everyone in the village.

Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest march
Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest march

 

Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest march
Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest march

Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest march
Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest march

Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest
Villagers led by Anura Bandara at the protest

A vociferous village woman talking to a TV camera
A vociferous village woman talking to a TV camera

 

A van finding it difficult to travel in the damaged road
A van finding it difficult to travel in the damaged road

A part of the damaged road
A part of the damaged road

A part of the damaged road
A part of the damaged road