A Brief Summary of Horizon Lanka for 2019 and the Future Plan for 2020

A Brief Summary of Horizon Lanka for 2019 and the Future Plan for 2020

This is a brief summary of the Horizon Lanka Foundation for 2019 and the plan for 2020. Please read and share.

  • Multiple Horizon Academies

We have 7 Horizon Academies under Horizon Lanka Foundation in 5 districts now. The academies are in Tantirimale, Ralapanawa and Ukkulankulama (Anuradhapura,) Kirimetiya (Nuwara Eliya,) Werapitiya (Kandy,) Maniyanthoddam (Jaffna,) and Panama (Ampara.) We opened new Horizon Academies because of the large number of foreign volunteers we started getting since 2016. Opening academies in new villages did not cost us much money as the teaching was done by foreign volunteers free of charge.

  • Local, Foreign and Online Volunteers

This is our main positive point. More than 200 foreign Onsite Volunteers joined Horizon Lanka to teach since 2016 up to now. We have a few dozens foreign Online Volunteers too to help our students and the staff on specific subject areas. We can also reactivate the Local Volunteers program where the young men and women from universities, private sector companies, government institutions, non-governmental organizations, etc. come and teach the children free of charge during weekends.

  • Low-Cost Structure of Horizon Academies

With our experiences at Horizon Lanka for the last 21 years, we now adhere to a very low-cost model by collaborating with community centers, religious institutions, public schools, spacious houses, etc. in villages to operate the Horizon Academies rather than renting or building new building spaces structures. This way we have been able to run a Horizon Academy on a monthly budget of around 30 USD (5,000 LKR.)

  • Horizon Academy Plan for 2020

Our plan for Horizon Academies in 2020 is this. We will start 3 more Horizon Academies in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Trincomalee districts to extend our services to more Tamil and Muslim children. The minimum cost to run a Horizon Academy is 85 USD (15,000 LKR) per month. This includes a 55 USD (10,000 LKR) salary for the English and IT teacher who also works as the Coordinator of the Academy, and utility bills such as water, electricity, telephone, transport, stationary and internet bills 30 USD (5000 LKR.)

We expect the following help from you, your families or friends, or your workplace or community associations. You can contribute to one or multiple expenses given below.

  • A 30 USD (5000 LKR) per month Utility Bill Cost for a month/ 3 months/6 months/9 months or a year to run a Horizon Academy.
  • A 55 USD (10,000 LKR) per month Salary for a month/ 3 months/6 months/9 months or a year to pay an English/IT Teacher of a Horizon Academy.
  • A 55 USD (10,000 LKR) per month Salary to hire a Secretary/Volunteer Coordinator for the Horizon Lanka Foundation for a month/ 3 months/6 months/9 months or a year to ensure the organization runs with ease.
  • A 85 USD (15,000 LKR) per month salary for a Bookkeeper / Accountant for a month/ 3 months/6 months/9 months or a year so that all financial reports and audits would be done on time.

We have already been able to get a sponsorship for the monthly salary of 10,000 LKR per month from Mr. Manahara Mohotti from the UAE to Ms. Nadeeka Sajeewani, a former student of Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya who now teaches English and IT at Horizon Academy – Ralapanawa. Ms. Vayomi Wijeratne from the USA has already donated the necessary funds for Nadeeka to follow an English or IT Certificate Course at Rajarata University, Anuradhapura.) Mr. Vidhura Ralapanawa has committed to sponsoring the monthly utility bills for the year 2020 (5000 LKRX12=60,000 LKR.) We hope you also would chip in to sustain the other 9 Horizon Academies.

If any of you want to contribute to any of the above-mentioned expenses, you can do so through our online payment gateway https://www.givingway.com/donate/horizon-lanka-foundation with a credit card or any other payment method.

We also have a Sri Lankan bank account with the Bank of Ceylon.

Bank Details of the Horizon Lanka Foundation

Account Name: Horizon Lanka Foundation

Account: 76639179

SWIFT: BCEYLKLX

Branch Code: 152

Bank Code: 7010

Bank Address: Bank of Ceylon, Pemaduwa

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 – 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

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

130. Manon Charlotte Zabot – France

Manon Charlotte Zabot

Manon Charlotte Zabot

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot from France volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in March, 2018.

 

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Miss Manon Charlotte Zabot teaching the students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

Manon Charlotte Zabot and other volunteers at Tantirimale Rock Temple
Manon Charlotte Zabot and other volunteers at Tantirimale Rock Temple

 

129. Manon Quintin – France

Manon Quintin - France

Manon Quintin - France Miss Manon Quintin from France volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation from February to May, 2018.

Manon Quintin's students drawing
Manon Quintin’s students drawing

Manon-Quintin drinking king coconuts in Kalawewa
Manon-Quintin drinking king coconuts in Kalawewa

Manon Quintin with other volunteers at Tantirimale Rock Temple.
Manon Quintin with other volunteers at Tantirimale Rock Temple.

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