The rural areas of eastern and northern Sri Lanka have always been poor and lacking infrastructure. In the last 30 years, the civil war has destroyed much of what they did have. Children born in these regions of Sri Lanka have little chance of a decent education and of a future containing anything other than basic – very basic – subsistence. And those are the fortunate ones; many children have lost one or both parents through the conflict or the lack of healthcare and others are in families that cannot provide for them.
The government provides a basic education but more is needed to help children in these areas. Pre-school and after-school lessons can really boost their chances in life.
On 21st February 2012 we took part in a wonderful Hindu/Christian opening ceremony at the new 'evening school' facility in the Vellavali region of eastern Sri Lanka.
In 2014, 130 children participated in after-school lessons and other activities. There were 7 teachers in place to support the school.
It has been a fantastic experience - working with the local craftsmen (and children) to help in the building, sharing their homes for a short while and enjoying the frequent breaks for cricket and other games.
Now, there are just over 200 children coming to the school daily and we have 9 teachers. So, it is time to upgrade. We are going to be looking for some land and then find a way to build a new school and community centre for the area.
Placed against some of the amazing work that is being done in these traumatised regions, this is such a small facility .... but you should see the smiles on the faces. The desire to learn is tremendous and anything that can help is received with enormous gratitude.