31.01.2015 - 31.01.2015
When my British cousin Rob mentioned that his son donated money to a school in Sri Lanka through an organization called United Kingdom Friends of Galle (UKFG), I thought that would be a great project for us too. We could donate a few hundred dollars and in exchange, the boys would learn about fundraising, philanthropy and get to see a rural school in Sri Lanka country.
Taro (9 years) did a bake sale and Kiyoshi (7 years) made Christmas cards. Other major contributors were the Grades 1 and 2 classes at McKernan with special help from Mme. Lewis and Mme. Rosa. These two classrooms made over 150 creative and colourful cards and raised over $350 at the McKernan Christmas concert. Well done! Their contribution alone raised enough money to buy a pencil case filled with school supplies for each of the 160 students! In addition, with generous donations from our friends and family, we raised over $1000 to buy a new pair of shoes for each of the students. A later donation will be used to buy a printer, scanner, and USB stick.
To set the stage here, the rural schools in Sri Lanka operate with very little money. Thumbe school is a lovely and well maintained school, but the classrooms are not well resourced. The students who attend the school also have very little money. An $8 pair of shoes is a bargain to us but is very difficult to afford if you make less than $10/day. Can you imagine spending your day's income so one of your children could wear shoes to school?
Our small gift to Thumbe school paled in comparison to what the school gave to us. We simply hoped that we could see the classrooms and meet the students but what we got was so much more. We drove an hour outside of Matara city through lush green forest, palm trees, hills and streams to where all the students dressed in sparkly regalia awaited to parade us with a colourful Sri Lankan dance up the laneway to the school. This was followed by a Sri Lankan feast with too many delicious dishes to even count along with a sweet cup of ginger tea. This epic event was attended by Mr. Gamage the founder of UKFG, the principal, teachers, and even some local school directors.
After all this, the main event was still yet to come! Each of the classrooms performed entertaining dances and songs as you will see from the photos. This is a group of very very talented young people! We were completely overwhelmed with their warmth and kindness and the amount of work that went into our very special day. We got so much more than we ever could have expected.
This event would not have been possible without Devsiri and Mr. Gamage from UKFG. I'm sure we have no idea the countless hours of work that happened behind the scenes to organize all of this for us. The performance that the school put on was a very special gift. THANK YOU to the teachers and students for all of your hard work. You gave us so much more than our small gift to you.