Author Archives: mark

Leadership training

Posted on by Jaya

Debarawewa school -ledership training 2016Mr Jayadewa, the principal of Debarawewa Central College, asked us if we could sponsor a leadership programme he wanted to arrange for the school monitors.

Thanks to a donation from Naveet and Rob McMahon in Hong Kong we were able to do so.

The school paid for the accommodation, food and fees for 100 students to travel from Tissa to Embilipitiaya, which is about one hour away.

SRI paid for the transport.

The Principal wanted to teach his students that exams are important, but so is the way they conduct their life.

Debarawewa school -ledership training 2016 (6)He wants to create good citizens of Sri Lanka.

The course was conducted by the National Youth Service and helped the students by encouraging team work and leadership.

There were a number of seminars and lots of role playing games.

There was also a focus on how to be a good monitor and interact with teachers, parents and other students.

Debarawewa Central College is the top school in our area.

All the children who get good grade five passes attend it and there are currently 2,840 students in total from grades six to 13.

Special Needs Safari

Posted on by Jaya

Special need center-yala trip 2016.05.25DSCN2059 (10)Thanks to a generous donation from Naveet and Rob McMahon in Hong Kong, we were able to take the special needs children from our centre on their first safari.

It was also a great occasion to mark the eighth anniversary of the centre we established in 2008.

The centre currently has 24 students of whom twelve have Downs Syndrome, two are deaf, six have autism and four have a range of other disabilities.

They have one teacher, Mrs Isangika and one assistant, Mrs Chamila. The latter is also deaf and first came to our attention when she came to our computer centre at Mahasenpura School to learn computing.

She is now hoping to qualify as a teacher through an open university course and we are sponsoring her to teach at the school.

Special need center-yala trip 2016.05.25DSCN2059 (12)For the trip to Yala, we also took five of the children’s mothers as well.

The coach set off at 8.30am and we were very lucky that the Department of Wildlife allowed the students to come for free so we only had to pay for the adults’ entrance tickets.

The children were most happy on Pataganala beach and we spent one-and-a-half hours here playing in the waves.

We then drove through Block one of the park to Parana Thotupola and the Manik River, which separates Block one and Block two.

Here the children played in the river, throwing water and looking for fish.Special need center-yala trip 2016.05.25DSCN2059 (30)

After this we had our lunch – dhal curry, omelette and rice.

In the afternoon we went looking for animals. We were very lucky and saw many different types.

We did not see the famous leopard, but we did see a sloth bear, which is very rare.

We also saw spotted deer, samburs, crocodiles, wild pigs, elephants and some birds.

We left the park at 4pm and headed to another very beautiful beach in Kirinda.

The children were very happy.

Special Needs Computer Donation

Posted on by Tharindu

special need center computer donationWe donated a computer to our special needs to centre to mark its eighth anniversary.

The school’s IT teacher who is partially-sighted will teach some of the children.

The rest will be taught by Mrs Chamila, who is deaf.

She is also being sponsored by the charity and we first came across her when she came to the MCCC to learn computing herself.

Since then she has also gone on to teach other deaf students at the MCCC.

MCCC exams

Posted on by Tharindu

Some 86 students sat their exams for the Microsoft Certificate Course in March.

Here they are pictured with their teacher Thushari and our intern Nisansala outside the centre.

Community Batches 36,38,39,40,41,42,43 Students MCQ Test day(2016-03-19) (3)

Most of the students completed their O-levels in December and came to the centre for three months to study for the certificate while they wait for their results.

Nearly all of these students will go on to study for their A-levels after the summer.

Hearing aids donation

Posted on by Jaya

Thanks to the generosity of SRI Trustee, Mr Jonathan, SRI has been able to provide new digital hearings for students at Debarawewa President’s Primary College.

The deaf students with their teacher and me outside SRI's office

The deaf students with their teacher and me outside SRI’s office

SRI built a multi-purpose centre at the school in 2008 and it has two classrooms for special needs children and one for deaf students.

We have continued to support the centre since its opening and wanted to provide hearing aids for some of the students who have recently enrolled there.

The first task was to get their hearing testing at nearby Matara and once this was completed to purchase hearing aids calibrated for their ears and new moulds to fit them.

These came from Colombo and were not cheap.

Each hearing aid cost about US$230.

All the students came to SRI’s office on Tuesday to get their new hearing aids along with their teacher Mrs Isangika.

They have also been back to Matara to receive some training in how to use them.

Now their teacher has to help them to speak as many of the children have been deaf since birth.

Sahan (left), Sudeera (middle) and Nipuna (right) outside SRI's office

Sahan (left), Sudeera (middle) and Nipuna (right) outside SRI’s office


Sahan comes from a family where both of his parents are deaf.

His father works as a fisherman.

He has just started at the centre.

He also has problems walking as he suffers from a polio-like problem.


Sudeera is a very lively 14-year old boy.

He has been deaf since birth.

He was at the centre when we first opened it in 2008 and this is now his second set of hearing aids after he outgrew the first.


Nipuna is 20 year’s old and has been at the centre since we first opened it.

He was among the original batch of children to get a digital hearing aid, but he has now outgrown it.

Now that he has left the centre, we are enrolling him at our computer centre so he can learn some IT skills and get a job.

He is also a very talented artist and produced the artwork for one of SRI’s calendars.

Chameera with his new hearing aid

Chameera with his new hearing aid


Chameera is 15 years old.

His father is a farmer and his mother is a housewife.

He has also just started at the centre.

He has also been deaf since birth.

He says he can drive a tractor to help his father but has has problems getting a license.


We first came across Chamila when she enrolled at the computer centre to study for our basic certificate course.

Chamila having her ears tested before the new hearing aid is put in

Chamila having her ears tested before the new hearing aid is put in

She is a very clever girl, but has had many problems in her life.

She was abandoned by her husband and is now looking after a young daughter on her own and with no income.

Last month her father was paralysed and she is also now trying to care for him as well.

Chamila has been deaf since an accident when she was a teenager.

As well as giving her a proper hearing aid, we have also enrolled her at the deaf centre.

She is going to help out the teacher and also receive tuition alongside the other pupils so she learns to talk once more.

Our computer centre manager, Tharindu, has also been helping her to learn graphic design so she can prepare pamphlets and leaflets for businesses in the town.

Drought Relief

Posted on by Jaya

For the last 10 months there has been no rain across much of Southern Province where we are based.

Drought reliefAs a result of this, many rural villages have been affected. Families there have had no income since they rely on farming.

I helped co-ordinate government efforts to provide food and water for 165 families in the Osuwina area working with local village head Mr Kusumsiri.

As well as water, we also distributed rice, dhal and coconuts.

With me, were two government social workers, Senaka Ravindra and Senadeera Grama Niladari.

Many animals in nearby Yala National Park were also affected as all the water tanks have dried up and there are no edible grasses left.

I worked with the Department of Wildlife Conservation to bring in fodder from Kegalle my hometown in the Central Highlands where it rains a lot.

Some people don’t think it is a good idea to bring fodder into national parks from outside areas, as elephants are not tame pets.

But in this case it was absolutely necessary and we bought two big lorries of animal fodder.

Kithulkote – HSBC Library Project

Posted on by Mr Jayasinghe

K3After Usbin School (see earlier post) we travelled to Kithulkote School which is on the main road from Thananmalwila to Wellawaya .

This is the school for all the children who live in the surrounding villages.

Many of them have a long way to travel to come to school every day.

The library had very few facilities. There were no reading tables and the books were all very old.

K9HSBC bought looks of new books, as well as completely renovating the room where we created a sea theme with a big mural showing lots of fish and some paintings.

The chief guest was Mr Duminda Kalasuriyaarachchi, HSBC’s software delivery manager. He cut the ribbon, whilst Corporate Sustainability Manager, Mrs Dilini Fernando gave an excellent speech.

Thank you to HSBC

Usbim – HSBC Library Project

Posted on by Mr Jayasinghe

March 8th was a big day for us as we had two more opening ceremonies for Libraries that had been funded by HSBC.

A group of HSBC employees spent many hours in a minibus travelling from Colombo to Usbim School, which is close to Uda Walawe National Park.

It was the Park Warden who recommended Usbim School as well as the Zonal Director of Education in Wellawaya. They both said that the school needed lots of help.

The school was opened in 1983 as part of the Uda Walawe irrigation project and most of the families have come to the village from other parts of Sri Lanka. The area is very poor because the land can only cultivated during the rainy season.

Usbim already had a library but it needed lots of repairs and new books.

HSBC also paid for the building of a partition to create a special counselling room for students that need special help.

Uda Mattala – HSBC Library Project

Posted on by Mr Jayasinghe

After Kiula School (see earlier post) we travelled about an hour to Uda Mattala School.

This school is by the new Southern Airport but it has not benefited from the connection and also needs a lot of repairs.

It has a very dynamic Principal and he was a great help to us including the night before the opening ceremony when we had to put up a big jungle mural in the library, which covered one wall.

Unfortunately it only arrived late in the evening after being held up in customs.

It meant that Mr Teddy and I did not get any sleep before we went out to meet our guests from HSBC the following morning.


But we were very happy because the libraries looked great and everyone enjoyed the speeches, the singing and dancing.

Like Kiula School, HSBC paid to completely renovate the library building at Uda Mattala.

Both Kiula and Uda Mattala also got a new TV and DVD player.

Kiula School – HSBC Library Project

Posted on by Mr Jayasinghe

For the second year running SRI is proud to have worked with the international bank HSBC on library renovation projects.

The first two libraries in the project were at Kiula and Uda Mattala (see next post) schools and the opening ceremonies were held on February 21st and attended by HSBC’s Sri Lankan CEO Mr Nick Nicolau.

He bought a minibus full of HSBC employees with and the children were very happy that the HSBC team read stories to each class.

Our first stop was Kiula school, which is inland from Galle on the road to Hambantota. The school is over 100 years old and in need of a lot of repair.

It was recommended to us by Mr Piyasena, the Zonal Director of Education in Hambantota.

HSBC kindly paid to completely re-furbish the library. The work included putting in new glass windows, a door, wiring as well as re-plastering, painting and re-decorating the entire room. The Bank also bought a lot of new books which we transported from Colombo.

After Kiula, we travelled about one hour to Uda Mattala School.

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