Monthly Archives: January 2014

Harry Potter casts a spell on Tissa

Posted on by Jackie

“People will insist on giving me books”, Professor Dumbledore famously complained to Harry Potter one Christmas, adding that what he really wanted was a pair of socks.

For Sri Lankan children it’s always the other way round.

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Socks are not much use in such a hot climate, but Harry Potter sits right at the top of their wish list.

SRI started providing JK Rowling’s novels to local schools when Harry Potter and the Philosphers’s Stone was first translated into Sinhalese.

It instantly proved to be a great success as children outside the capital Colombo rarely get access to best-selling, modern novels.

Since then we have continued providing these kinds of novels on an ad-hoc basis.

But late last year it became apparent there were gaps – one of our scholarship children at Ilkkapalama School told us she was desperate to read the last two novels in the series, but her school library did not stock them.

This prompted us to do an audit of all 22 school we’ve provided library books to and subsequently supply them with the Harry Potter novels they were missing – about 100 books in total.

We also provided the whole series to three schools we have recently started working with – Vijajaba, Viddyartha and Tissa Central College.

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Visits to Sri Lanka usually prompt a flurry of school library book request lists and 2013 was no different. Mr Jayasinghe and I both followed up with trips to Colombo-based booksellers MD Gunasena and Sarasavi to try and source them.

While I was there, I found Sinhalese versions of The Hobbit and The Hunger Games, which have just been translated and threw them into the mix as well.

As a result of these trips we were able to provide books requested by the following schools: Kiula, Usbim, Muthiyammagama, Mulana, Debarawewa Central College, Tissa Central College, Vijayaba Central College, Ikkapalama and Viddyartha.

Finally, we would like to thank the Mullin family from England who visited Sri Lanka over the Christmas holidays and spent a day helping out with English lessons at Nadigamwila School.

Before they left, parents George and Clare presented the librarian with a box of about 100 books, which the school had requested and the Mullins very generously paid for.


Uda Mattala Computer Lab

Posted on by Mr Tharindu

It’s an unlucky number for some, but not for Uda Mattala, which has become the 13th school to open an SRI sponsored computer lab.

The project became possible after we received funding from Barclays Bank to upgrade all the computers at the Mahasenpura Community Computer Centre (MCCC), our main regional training centre.

These computers are old, but they still have some life left in them and we decided to maximise it by distributing them to other local schools with little equipment.

Uda Mattala is a very remote rural school and only had one serviceable computer sited in a completely empty and run down classroom.

Overseeing it is one of the area’s most qualified IT teachers, Mr Hasitha, who had given up his job as a software engineer in Colombo to return to his hometown.

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We were very keen to help him and Barclays very generously provided additional funds to renovate the classroom (installing a proper roof, windows, floor tiles) as well as funds for computer desks and chairs.

The classroom was repaired and refurbished during the Christmas Holiday, with parents from the school providing their labour for free.

Once the computers were delivered, Mr Nuwan came over from the MCCC to network them together.

We are also about to provide the new lab with six old UPS from the MCCC as well.

These are no longer able to store power during power cuts, but they can still perform a crucial job protecting the motherboards from power surges off the electricity grid.

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An opening  ceremony for the new lab was held on January 3rd, the second day of the new school term.

Guests of honour were the Mullin family from England whose time in Sri Lanka has inspired them to help us raise future funds.

Clare Mullin cut the ribbon to open the centre and her two daughters were keen participants in the school assembly to mark the occasion.

Emily, who is 10, made a short speech, while seven-year old Sassy read a poem.

Husband George is a talented amateur artist and afterwards put these skills to use by conducting an art class for Grade One students with his five-year old son Freddie.