December: Playground Equipment

Many schools have playground equipment, but much of it is old and rusting.

Replacing it with new equipment is the kind of project that’s quick and easy to execute and unsurprisingly very popular with the children.

Within our first year in Tissa, we built playgrounds at five schools: Andaragasaya, Gangeyaya, Nadigamwila, Ranminithenna and Debarawewa President’s Primary College.

Each school got a new swing, roundabout, climbing frame and see-saw.

December: Nadigamwila School Water Tank

One of SRI’s main aims is to provide equipment that schools need rather than what takes a donor’s fancy.

For the principal at Nadigamwila School, this turned out to be a water tank.

Tissa is in one of the driest areas of Sri Lanka and the principal wanted to capture rain water during the monsoon season to get the school through the dry season.

We thought this was particularly important after we discovered that many children arrived at school without breakfast and only had water to get them through morning lessons.

The tank cost US$750.

December: Osuwina School Rebuilding

This school had very little in terms of facilities beyond a toilet hut, which the Principal, Mr Disanayake, had very generously funded with his own money.

Osuwina has a very rural location and most of the children come from farming families.

There weren't even enough desks and chairs.

It was the principal's dedication, which persuaded us that Osuwinna would be a good school to direct funds towards for our first project in the country.

One of our first tasks was to partition the two school blocks.

This would enable the children to sit in separate classrooms rather than having to shout over one another across two long halls.

We did this by building permanent partitions in the junior school block to create five classrooms.

We took a different tack in the senior school block and installed temporary partitions (see photo left above) before we began work.

This was to enable the space to be turned back into a hall for prize giving days and assemblies.

Our second job was to put metal grilles over all the open spaces where windows should be.

Securing the rooms from animals and other intruders meant that the children could hang their art work and teachers could store equipment without fear of it being stolen.

The whole project, including making new desks and chairs, cost nearly US$6,000.

Pictured left are some of the children doing an art project sponsored by SRI director Jackie Horne before we began construction work.

December: Uduwila and Ranminithenna Toilets

One of the first things, which struck us about schools in the area was the terrible state of the toilets – if there were any at all.

Many children were often off sick with stomach bugs and the lack of sanitary toilet facilities wasn't helping the rest.

We felt this would be a fitting first project and the lessons we learnt at these two schools have informed everything we've done since.