Tali Motzkin from Israel volunteered at Horizon Lanka Foundation in January, 2018.
“My Volunteering at Horizon Academy – Anuradhapura
I would like to tell you about my volunteering experience. I arrived at the Horizon Academy at Thursday evening, straight to Ramanee and Udaya’s school, close to the Anuradhapura city. When I was at the bus station I called Ramanee and she sent her husband, Udaya to pick me with a tuk-tuk driver so I didn’t have any problems to find the place. At this day the students had a goodbye party for the formal volunteer (Susannah Horowitz) so it was very nice to see how they danced, laughed and shared respect for her and also for welcoming me. They prepared us a “queens feast” with a lot of fresh fruits and showed us a dance concert. Then, after this great welcome, my host family came to take me. There, I met my new sister: Hashini, her brother: Gihan, and my new parents: Anura and Kumari. At first it was so strange to walk into other people’s house but they made me feel like I am at my own house. They cook amazing food for me every day and treat me so nicely. During my stay, every day I have learned something new about them and about their traditions, they also took me to some really cool places like the washing reservoir, temple and the local market. Now, after one week with them I really feel like home and they are my new family.
In the matter of the Horizon Academy, I didn’t have much time with them because I arrived to the weekend and only for a one week, but with the time I had it was nice to see how Ramanee and Udaya teach the students with a lot of passion in all kinds of ways like through books, notebooks, movies, games, dance, etc. I was joining to Ramanee’s teaching class. At the class I was talking with the students, check their homework, teach them computer work and at breaks, I was playing and teaching them field games. At the beginning it was hard for me to let them know what I mean in my explanation (I don’t speak Sinhala), but then I found some ways to explain like with signs and drawings. Also, it takes time to get to know the students and how to approach them, but when I did and felt like I did teach them something new, it was a really good feeling. I also translated Horizon Lanka website into Hebrew as requested by Nanda, but I wished to contribute more with the kids like maybe teach them new dance moves and art, things which require a longer stay. Therefore, I think if someone want to volunteer here and really make some difference, at least stay one week and even more here as it is necessary for getting know the program, students and family.
For conclusion, I had a great time (my best Sri Lankan experience so far!!) and I want to thank to all people who welcomed me, I hope I will see you again soon.
Tali Motzkin, Israel”
Volunteering at Horizon Sri Lanka
Myself and my husband volunteered at Horizon Academy, Ralapanawa in Sri Lanka for two weeks, with our two children, aged 2 and 4. It was the first time we had taught English to children so we when we found out we would be teaching alone, without any Horizon representative it was a little daunting at first, however, this worked really well as we were able to work together as a team and run the classes how we wanted. We used our experience as parents to teach the children, singing nursery rhymes, playing games, and talking with the children. It was great to have so much freedom to run the class. The children were all polite, bright and eager to learn, and it was great to see their confidence grow as they learned more. Our own children were able to join in the classes when they wanted, or play in the host’s house, which is why it was great that the class was run from the house we were staying in. The local children were very friendly towards our children. The experience teaching the children was incredibly rewarding for us and is an experience we will never forget.
It is great to see how much Nanda cares for the future of the children, you can see that he works incredibly hard for Horizon Lanka, and for the children, and that he wants them all to fulfil their potential.
Volunteering at a public school:
We did not volunteer at the public school during our visit as it was the end of term, however we were invited to see the end of term show and have lunch at the school which was very enjoyable, and a real privilege.
Life with our hosts:
We were very lucky to have incredibly friendly, generous, welcoming hosts who we now call friends. It was great that Nanda placed us with a family with young children. We were looked after so well, they provided us with everything we needed, we ate very well, and we were very comfortable in the house. We had a lot of fun with our hosts and our children had a great time too. They were the perfect hosts.
Life in the village:
We are from a city and had not stayed in a village like Ralapanawa before, so it was very different for us. It was lovely to see how close all the villagers are, and how they look after each other. The villagers were all so welcoming towards us, everyone smiled and waved when we passed them. Some of the parents sat and watched the classes and it was very nice to have them there. We were invited to lunch at the villagers’ houses, and they looked after us and helped us when we needed. It was great to stay in such a strong community.
Life in Sri Lanka:
We spent six weeks in Sri Lanka as part of our family’s one year-round the world trip, we had a fantastic time, we visited Kandy and Ella by train, spent a lot of time on the southern beaches, and visited Jaffna and the North. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, the scenery is stunning, the people are incredibly generous, friendly and welcoming, and hardworking, and the food is delicious.
Georgina, Jess, Dylan & Arto