Mr. Chula Bandara, a Sri Lankan American from Aurora, Chicago, Illinois in the United States of America had helped Horizon Lanka long time ago. He donated 10,000 LKR (110.74 USD at the time of exchange rate – 2001) to one of the most talented students at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya, Isuru Senevirathna as a financial scholarship. Today he is a system administrator at prestigious conglomerate Hayleys Group Ltd. in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Bandara’s wife Ms. Champika Sumithraarachchi and their son Thimira Bandara from the United States of America visited Horizon Academy – Tantirimale in July, 2017 and volunteered to teach English and computers. They also donated 20,000 LKR (130.71 USD) to the Academy. Not only that, they also donated school supplies, stationery, USB pen drives, etc. to be distributed among the students. We thank the Bandara family for this kind gesture.
They also promised us that they will introduce our children to the Sri Lankan community in their town so that the children from both the countries can communicate with each other electronically to improve our children’s English.
Thimira Bandara from The United States of America volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in July, 2017.
“Being born in Sri Lanka but getting an education in America, I consider myself lucky because due to some sort of miracle I was given a good education with endless opportunities, but I believe there is no point of having the knowledge I gained from my studies if I wasn’t able to share it. When I was notified that I would be able to go to Sri Lanka for a research, I made it a priority that someway somehow I would be able to share my knowledge with those who do not have the same opportunities as me.
My experience with the Horizon Lanka Foundation was a wonderful one as I got to spend time teaching children some of the basics of Microsoft Office. I only stayed for two days, but in those two days I believe the kids at the Horizon Academy, Tantirimale enjoyed our stay and learned a lot. I strongly believe in giving back to one’s community and I am appreciative that Horizon Lanka made that possible.
For the most part, communicating with the students wasn’t too bad because I was able to speak a decent amount of Sinhalese, enough to keep a basic conversation going, but sometimes I did find myself having a hard time explaining certain things. Thankfully my cousin, who lives in Sri Lanka, had joined us and was able to translate the things I wasn’t able to communicate.
I wished I had planned a more constructive lesson plan because at times I noticed the kids were feeling a little bored. Part of this was because I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t know what the knowledge level the students have. For future references, maybe the classes can be organized better with a set schedule. Not only will this make it easier for volunteers but it will also teach the children about organization and time management. This is often implemented in western schools because it provides necessary skills needed in the workplace. However next time we come I will be sure to come more prepared and create a more impactful lesson plan that I believe will give the students maximum benefit.
Currently, I am planning on organizing a pen pal event with the kids at our local temple. They will be able to email the students at Tantirimale in English back and forth and create relationships with the students. Hopefully, I can get more Sri Lankan kids here in the US involved to help their fellow brothers and sisters.
Overall, our stay was wonderful; there were a plenty of activities to do in Tantirimale. My cousin especially liked bathing in the river while I thought the view from the top of the rock was breathtaking. Tantirimale is a very beautiful location and everyone there was very nice. This experience has been an eye-opener for me as it has taught me not to take what I have for granted and to always do what I can do for others. The goal is to get more of my Sri Lankan peers here in the United States to also get involved and also make a difference in these kids’ lives.”