Sixty years ago, it would have taken two days to travel by bullock cart from the port of Hambantota to the "nearby" town, Tissa.

Pallemalala School was established at the halfway point.

The current principal has been at the school since 2009, but he has a long-standing connection since he also studied there as a child.

Since his arrival, he has prioritised IT and English, neither of which was taught before then.

He says he has also striven to explain why both are important to a community, which largely sustains itself through fishing. 

The school now has five computers, but only two were working when SRI made its first visit.

Our hardware expert, Nuwan, was soon dispatched to try and fix the rest.

We were also impressed to hear how the teachers had tried to help one single mother whose house made of mud and coconut leaves had burnt down. 

They all clubbed together to pay for the materials and help to build her a new one.