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

Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna Needs Your Support

maniyanthoddam-girls

maniyanthoddam-girlsHorizon Lanka Foundation started its fifth Horizon Academy in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Nallur, Sri Lanka in June, 2018. Father S. M. Sebastian OMI, Parish Priest who is a dynamic priest who does a lot for the students and the community at large in the village through his hard work. He already had another academy called Eugene Academy and all we had to do was to use its premises and resources to establish Horizon Academy there.

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 salary or in most cases, no salary at all. Besides, this is a village that was reduced to rubble during the bitter civil war and people still face a lot of financial issues. So, we have decided not to charge a fee from the students here till the end of December here. After that, we will charge 100 LKR | 0.63 USD | 0.54 EUR per month from a student. If we get 100 students per month, we would be able to get only 10,000 LKR | 62.67 USD | 53.56 USD. This will cover part of the monthly expenses from January, 2019.

Since we cannot afford to pay the teachers, we depend on local and foreign volunteers to teach English and ICT here. So far, three foreign volunteers have taught the children in this Academy. They were Ms. Clara Charriere, Ms. Pauline Oswald and Ms. Laurie Kuhne from France and Ms. Ashwini Balan from Singapore. Ms. Emilie Østmo from Norway is the present volunteer here. 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 throughout 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 from January, 2019 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

Ms. Emilie Østmo, the Norwegian volunteer teaching the students of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna
Ms. Emilie Østmo, the Norwegian volunteer teaching the students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Jaffna

Ms. Emilie Østmo teaching the students of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
Ms. Emilie Østmo teaching the students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka

The students learning English at Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
The students learning English at Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka

The students of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka
The students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Nallur, Sri Lanka

Horizon Academy – Kirimetiya, Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya Needs Your Support

The students of Horizon Academy - Nanu Oya with the staff members

Horizon Lanka Foundation started its fourth Horizon Academy in Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka in May, 2018. 

The general belief of rest of the country is that the children here in tea estates in the Up Country are not ready to learn and they dropout from schools at a young age and directly join the work at tea estates or elsewhere. But, what I saw was totally different. The kids and the parents here pay a great attention to education and some kids even speak some basic English.

Since we cannot afford to pay the teachers, we depend on local and foreign volunteers to teach English and ICT here. So far, three foreign volunteers have taught the children in this area. They were Mr. Alain Horst and Ms. Laura Horst from Switzerland in May and Ms. Balbina Gramespacher from Germany in July. We expect more local and foreign volunteers to join us soon.

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 salary. One estate worker gets only an average salary of 650 LKR | 4.07 USD | 3.48 EUR per day. Still, if education is provided totally free of charge, they would not understand the value of it. So, we decided to charge 100 LKR | 0.63 USD | 0.54 EUR per month. If we get 100 students per month, we would be able to get only 10,000 LKR | 62.67 USD | 53.56 USD. We cannot expect that many students initially. Our aim is to attract that number of students by December, 2018.

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 throughout 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 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 – Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation

The students of Horizon Academy – Nanu Oya with the staff members

Students of Horizon Academy -Nanu Oya
Students of Horizon Academy -Nanu Oya

Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka with the students
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka with the students

Desford School, Nanu Oya
Desford School, Nanu Oya

Introducing Basketball to Horizon Academies

Children at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa playing basketball

Children at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa playing basketball

Horizon Lanka Foundation promotes 10 sports at its academies. They are cricket, volleyball, soccer, American football, handball, baseball, rugby, elle, basketball and martial arts. Students fell in love with basketball after watching the Hollywood movie “Coach Carter.”

Miss Clara Charrière from France brought a few basketballs and she also teaches the game to the students. Still we don’t have proper courts and hoops for the game. If any of you want to help us with them, please contact us.

Prabodha Kalotuwawa – Prabodha.sandeepani.kalotuwawa@horizonacademy.lk

Students playing basketball at Horizon Academy - Ralapanawa
Students playing basketball at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa

Coach Carter Poster
Coach Carter Poster

151. Alain Horst – Switzerland

Alain Horst – Switzerland

Alain Horst – Switzerland

Mr. Alain Horst from Switzerland volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in May, 2018.

TOUR REPORT 

“Dear Nanda

We thank you for the opportunity you gave us to teach English here in Sri Lanka. We learned a lot about the country and its people. We were astonished how greatly we had been welcomed in the village, especially in Segars house and how keen the children were to learn new things. Without knowing English and the western culture, Segars parents had been amazing hosts. Even though our stay had many positive aspects, we decided to leave earlier than planned, as the work was much more challenging and time consuming then described on workaway.info. We think that the Horizon Lanka Academy has a very good aim, but we also think that some points need to be improved for the next volunteers. Below we listed some points that may be improved.

Before Arrival

The communication before our arrival was very short, but as you referenced on your informative website, it was ok for us. The website has information about almost everything. As the website is only for the village Mahawilachchiya it was obvious for us that we will teach in Mahawilachchiya itself.

Our recommendation: As most of the volunteers do not teach in the village itself, it should be made clearly on the website that the academy is spread over whole Sri Lanka and many new branches are opening right now. The volunteers need to know, that the meeting point may not be in Mahawilachchiya.

Arrival

From Colombo we had a six hour bus drive to Anuradhapura, just to be informed that we could teach in Nanu Oya which was another six hour bus drive back to the south. We could have gone there directly from Colombo with comfortable two hours in the train.

Our recommendation: Plan and discuss already in advance where the volunteers should go and save a lot of time and energy of the volunteers. This time and energy should better be used for the work with the children.

New Guest Families

The culture of Sri Lanka and of the one from the western people is very different and we were happy to receive the code of ethics in advance. These rules are very good and very important. Unfortunately we had to learn that our guest family never received these rules. Also you told us that the family has no western toilet but you never mentioned that the family has no shower and the washing happens outside the house. Even though we had been very
surprised, it was no problem for us as we are used to this kind of washing trough our camping experiences.

Our recommendation: The code of ethics should be a high priority to new guest families and you should not just send it to them, but furthermore discuss it with them and make sure everything is well understood. We think it must also be clearly communicated how the situation with toilet and non existing bathroom is, as we are sure many volunteers will have some trouble with it.

Opening a New Branch

Organisation

When we arrived in Nanu Oya, the first day we had to visit the regional education director, the vice regional education director and as well the headmasters of the schools to explain them the organisation Horizon Lanka and what we are going to teach. We felt that neither the local administrator nor the school directors had been informed how Horizon Lanka works and what the volunteers are here for. We would have loved to know for ourselves what our
tasks here would be.

Our recommendation: If opening a new branch, make sure that all people involved know what the academy is about and what the volunteers are capable of and what not.

Working hours

On our arrival we had been asked to work five hours in the morning in four different public schools, four hours in the afternoon for the academy and the evening to improve the English of Segar. Also we had been asked to work on Saturday the whole day. The next day we discussed it again and lowered the working hours. But it was difficult for us to arrive and first have to say “no” to everything.

Our recommendation: Offer the volunteers the minimum amount of working hours and give them the possibility to teach more hours if they want. This gives them the chance to grow slowly in their work. Also we think it is much better if the volunteer work in the beginning just in one school to get to know the teachers, students and rules of the schools. More schools could be added, if the volunteer feels comfortable.

English Teaching Public School

From beginning it was expected of us to teach the classes without the help of a local English teacher. We explained clearly that this is not possible for us, as we didn’t know the level of the children nor how the school here works. Beside an English book (which did not fit to the level of the children), no teaching material was present. In the end, the English teacher did not show up the whole morning. Laura as an experienced teacher was able to teach the classes without school material for a whole morning. But it was extremely stressful for her. For volunteers without many years of teaching experience this would have been just impossible.

Our recommendation: As everyone can teach for Horizon Academy many inexperienced volunteers will come. We think teaching for them is just possible if they get the support of an experienced teacher, very small groups of children or at least good teaching material. If no English teacher and no material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lessons.

English Teaching Academy Afternoon

In the afternoon twenty very motivated children had been there. We decided to teach English as the school headmaster clearly expressed that he would prefer us to teach English than dancing lessons. As we did not have any teaching material, we also needed to prepare the lessons for the afternoon which was very time consuming.

Our recommendation: If no teaching material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lesson. It would be a good idea for the Horizon Lanka Academy to provide some material to the volunteers including for example ideas for games and songs.

IT Teaching

When we arrived in Nanu Oya we learned that no computers are available for the children and that I also should teach English. One school had computers but they were reserved for the teachers.

Our recommendation: If someone is sent to teach IT, make sure that some IT infrastructure is available.
If some of our mentioned recommendations could be put into practice, we are sure, that it could be an amazing experience for all involved parties. Thank you again for the great experience and all the best for the future!”

Explanation

Dear Laura and Alain,

Thanks for the valuable feedback. I understand that many things went disarray as Horizon Academy – Nanu Oya was not yet ready when I sent you two there. In fact, I had not decided to send volunteers there till I go there for a second time and ensure everything is in order. The rash decision to send you two there was based on the extremely hot weather prevailed in Anuradhapura during mornings. But, I should still have made better arrangements in Nanu Oya. I apologize and take responsibility for all these and thank you two a lot for doing a lot despite the unfavorable conditions you faced. – Nanda Wanninayaka (The Founder and Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation.)

Alain Horst from Switzerland teaching the students in Nanu Oya
Alain Horst from Switzerland teaching the students in Nanu Oya

150. Laura Horst – Switzerland

150. Laura Horst - Switzerland

150.	Laura Horst - SwitzerlandMs. Laura Horst from Switzerland volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in May, 2018.

TOUR REPORT 

“Dear Nanda

We thank you for the opportunity you gave us to teach English here in Sri Lanka. We learned a lot about the country and its people. We were astonished how greatly we had been welcomed in the village, especially in Segars house and how keen the children were to learn new things. Without knowing English and the western culture, Segars parents had been amazing hosts. Even though our stay had many positive aspects, we decided to leave earlier than planned, as the work was much more challenging and time consuming then described on workaway.info. We think that the Horizon Lanka Academy has a very good aim, but we also think that some points need to be improved for the next volunteers. Below we listed some points that may be improved.

Before Arrival

The communication before our arrival was very short, but as you referenced on your informative website, it was ok for us. The website has information about almost everything. As the website is only for the village Mahawilachchiya it was obvious for us that we will teach in Mahawilachchiya itself.

Our recommendation: As most of the volunteers do not teach in the village itself, it should be made clearly on the website that the academy is spread over whole Sri Lanka and many new branches are opening right now. The volunteers need to know, that the meeting point may not be in Mahawilachchiya.

Arrival

From Colombo we had a six hour bus drive to Anuradhapura, just to be informed that we could teach in Nanu Oya which was another six hour bus drive back to the south. We could have gone there directly from Colombo with comfortable two hours in the train.

Our recommendation: Plan and discuss already in advance where the volunteers should go and save a lot of time and energy of the volunteers. This time and energy should better be used for the work with the children.

New Guest Families

The culture of Sri Lanka and of the one from the western people is very different and we were happy to receive the code of ethics in advance. These rules are very good and very important. Unfortunately we had to learn that our guest family never received these rules. Also you told us that the family has no western toilet but you never mentioned that the family has no shower and the washing happens outside the house. Even though we had been very
surprised, it was no problem for us as we are used to this kind of washing trough our camping experiences.

Our recommendation: The code of ethics should be a high priority to new guest families and you should not just send it to them, but furthermore discuss it with them and make sure everything is well understood. We think it must also be clearly communicated how the situation with toilet and non existing bathroom is, as we are sure many volunteers will have some trouble with it.

Opening a New Branch

Organisation

When we arrived in Nanu Oya, the first day we had to visit the regional education director, the vice regional education director and as well the headmasters of the schools to explain them the organisation Horizon Lanka and what we are going to teach. We felt that neither the local administrator nor the school directors had been informed how Horizon Lanka works and what the volunteers are here for. We would have loved to know for ourselves what our
tasks here would be.

Our recommendation: If opening a new branch, make sure that all people involved know what the academy is about and what the volunteers are capable of and what not.

Working hours

On our arrival we had been asked to work five hours in the morning in four different public schools, four hours in the afternoon for the academy and the evening to improve the English of Segar. Also we had been asked to work on Saturday the whole day. The next day we discussed it again and lowered the working hours. But it was difficult for us to arrive and first have to say “no” to everything.

Our recommendation: Offer the volunteers the minimum amount of working hours and give them the possibility to teach more hours if they want. This gives them the chance to grow slowly in their work. Also we think it is much better if the volunteer work in the beginning just in one school to get to know the teachers, students and rules of the schools. More schools could be added, if the volunteer feels comfortable.

English Teaching Public School

From beginning it was expected of us to teach the classes without the help of a local English teacher. We explained clearly that this is not possible for us, as we didn’t know the level of the children nor how the school here works. Beside an English book (which did not fit to the level of the children), no teaching material was present. In the end, the English teacher did not show up the whole morning. Laura as an experienced teacher was able to teach the classes without school material for a whole morning. But it was extremely stressful for her. For volunteers without many years of teaching experience this would have been just impossible.

Our recommendation: As everyone can teach for Horizon Academy many inexperienced volunteers will come. We think teaching for them is just possible if they get the support of an experienced teacher, very small groups of children or at least good teaching material. If no English teacher and no material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lessons.

English Teaching Academy Afternoon

In the afternoon twenty very motivated children had been there. We decided to teach English as the school headmaster clearly expressed that he would prefer us to teach English than dancing lessons. As we did not have any teaching material, we also needed to prepare the lessons for the afternoon which was very time consuming.

Our recommendation: If no teaching material is available, the volunteers have to know this in advance so they can prepare themselves properly for the lesson. It would be a good idea for the Horizon Lanka Academy to provide some material to the volunteers including for example ideas for games and songs.

IT Teaching

When we arrived in Nanu Oya we learned that no computers are available for the children and that I also should teach English. One school had computers but they were reserved for the teachers.

Our recommendation: If someone is sent to teach IT, make sure that some IT infrastructure is available.
If some of our mentioned recommendations could be put into practice, we are sure, that it could be an amazing experience for all involved parties. Thank you again for the great experience and all the best for the future!”

Explanation

Dear Laura and Alain,

Thanks for the valuable feedback. I understand that many things went disarray as Horizon Academy – Nanu Oya was not yet ready when I sent you two there. In fact, I had not decided to send volunteers there till I go there for a second time and ensure everything is in order. The rash decision to send you two there was based on the extremely hot weather prevailed in Anuradhapura during mornings. But, I should still have made better arrangements in Nanu Oya. I apologize and take responsibility for all these and thank you two a lot for doing a lot despite the unfavorable conditions you faced. – Nanda Wanninayaka (The Founder and Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation.)

Ms. Laura Horst   from Switzerland teaching students in Nanu Oya.
Ms. Laura Horst from Switzerland teaching students in Nanu Oya.

135. Chiara Fürst – Germany

Chiara Fürst – Germany

Chiara Fürst – Germany Miss Chiara Fürst from Germany volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018.

Teresa and Chiara Fürst with the students
Teresa and Chiara Fürst with the students

Chiara Fürst in Ranpathvila
Chiara Fürst in Ranpathvila

Teresa and Chiara Fürst in Anuradhapura
Teresa and Chiara Fürst in Anuradhapura

Chiara Fürst and other volunteers interviewing students at Horizon Academy - Ranpathvila
Chiara Fürst and other volunteers interviewing students at Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila

Chiara Fürst with other volunteers in Tantirimale
Chiara Fürst with other volunteers in Tantirimale

Chiara and Teresa Fürst in saris with Namal Thissa
Chiara and Teresa Fürst in saris with Namal Thissa

Chiara Fürst iwith other volunteers and Namal Thissa
Chiara Fürst iwith other volunteers and Namal Thissa

134. Teresa Fürst – Germany

Teresa Fürst – Germany

Teresa Fürst – Germany

Miss Teresa Fürst from Germany volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018.

Teresa Fürst and Chiara Fürst with the students
Teresa Fürst and Chiara Fürst with the students

Teresa Fürst at a shop in Anuradhapura
Teresa Fürst at a shop in Anuradhapura

Teresa and Chiara Fürst at a shop in Anuradhapura
Teresa and Chiara Fürst at a shop in Anuradhapura

Teresa Fürst in Ranpathvila
Teresa Fürst in Ranpathvila

Teresa Fürst interviewing students with other volunteers
Teresa Fürst interviewing students with other volunteers

Chiara Fürst with other volunteers in Tantirimale, Sri Lanka
Chiara Fürst with other volunteers in Tantirimale, Sri Lanka

Teresa Fürst and Chiara Fürst with Namal Thissa
Teresa Fürst and Chiara Fürst with Namal Thissa

Teresa Fürst and other volunteers
Teresa Fürst and other volunteers

132. Sara Labbate – Italy

Sara Labbate – Italy

Sara Labbate – Italy

Sara Labbate from Italy volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018.

Miss Sara Labbate interviewing the students at Horizon Academy - Ranpathvila with other volunteers
Miss Sara Labbate interviewing the students at Horizon Academy – Ranpathvila with other volunteers

Mr. Stefan Jacobsen with other volunteers
Mr. Stefan Jacobsen with other volunteers

131. Johanna Carina Schönborn – Germany

Johanna Carina Schönborn – Germany

Johanna Carina Schönborn – Germany

Miss Johanna Carina Schönborn from Germany volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018

Johanna Carina Schönborn teaching the students of Horizon Academy - Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn teaching the students of Horizon Academy – Tantirimale

Johanna Carina Schönborn in Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn in Tantirimale

Johanna Carina Schönborn with her host family in Tantirimale
Johanna Carina Schönborn with her host family in Tantirimale

Johanna Carina Schönborn shopping with Manon Quintin in Anuradhapura
Johanna Carina Schönborn shopping with Manon Quintin in Anuradhapura