December: HSBC Clothing Donation

HSBC donated boxes of unused branch uniforms to SRI this autumn.

This was part of the bank's commitment to re-cycling equipment within its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

We worked with local village officials and the chief priest at Kande Viharaya Temple to find families from the surrounding villages who would benefit from the clothing donation.

The Reverend Kadapana Gunananda Thero (pictured left) arranged a handing over ceremony at the temple for about 170 families in late November.

Some of the clothing also went to Nadigamwila School to be used by the school band.

SRI would like to thank HSBC’s Stuart Tait (pictured above) for coming over from Hong Kong to attend the ceremony and visit the school, followed by the final stop at Kande Viharaya Temple.

He was joined by Stuart Rogers (pictured below left) and Dilini Fernando both from HSBC Colombo who also drove down for the day.

December: Piano Masterclass

Music teachers based around Hambantota received an immersion into Western piano music in December when London-based concert pianist, David Dean, visited Tissamaharama.

David gave a masterclass on the history of piano music, which is something that is not well known in Sri Lanka.

Most schools do not have a piano and the one we used for the seminar had to be shipped in specially from another school and fixed because it was broken.

David's seminar ranged from the Baroque through to the modern era. He rounded off the morning session by teaching a classical piece to a group of 20 teachers.

In the afternoon, he stayed on to perform a special concert for the students at Sri Dewananda School, where the masterclass had been held.

He played a mix of pieces. This included traditional classical works such as Beethoven’s Fur Elise. This signals the arrival of the bread van in Sri Lanka.

He also interspersed these with nursery rhymes for the younger children. He asked them what they would like him to play and was told Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

SRI noted that the song, which got everyone tapping their feet the most was “I wan’na be like you” from the Jungle Book.

December: Kawantissapura Science Lab

The generosity of British scientist Mary Sweeney lives on at Kawantissapura School thanks to a bequest in her will.

Mary was a researcher into Huntington’s disease based in the neurogenetics unit at University College London in the UK.

She was also a friend of SRI for many years before she died of cancer in 2017.

She had previously sponsored a young student who also tragically died of the same disease a few years earlier.

Thanks to her kindness and generosity, we were able to renovate and refurbish a science lab in her name at Kawantissapura School.

The school lies on the main road from Tissa to Katharagama Road and serves a lot of the surrounding villages.

Thanks to the donation, we were able to completely re-model the lab rather than just do a few repairs.

As a result, we were able to lay a new concrete floor and tile it.

We were also able to put in a proper ceiling for the first time.

The children love their new lab and we hope that having a well-fitted one will inspire them to follow in Mary’s footsteps and become scientists too.

December: Shangri La Garage Sale

The Shangri-La Golf Resort and Spa in Hambantota held another of its quarterly garage sales in December.

This time the hotel raised Rs68,020 towards a school library renovation fund after selling off lost and found items.

December: Sponsorship Students

Sponsorship student Nisansala is now in grade 10 at Kawantissapura School and has also just been made a prefect.

She is pictured here with her mother who works as a labourer to support the family after her husband died of cancer.

Many thanks to Hong Kong-based Artemis Associates for its ongoing sponsorship of the family and the charity.

November: Kids Class 8 Starts

We started our eighth kids class during October with the participation of 20 students from Mahasenpura School

This is our entry level class and is taught by Nimeshika, who is also the charity's finance and operations manager .

November: Sumudu Pre-School Sponsorship

A big thanks once again to Cate Thomas, her partner Ron Sidell and her brother John Skutsch for renewing their annual sponsorship of one of the teachers at Sumudu pre-school in Lunugamvehera.

The Montessori school, which they built nine years ago continues to thrive thanks to their ongoing investment.

The school now has 25 students, overseen by one teacher and one assistant.

November: MCTC Certificate Ceremony

Congratulations to all the students who passed the Microsoft Office Certificate Course this autumn.

The students from Community Classes 59 and 60 were all post A-level students who studied the three month course while waiting for their results, which were due December.

SRI Director, Jonathan Back, helped to hand out certificates to students who were able to attend the awards ceremony.

November: O-Level IT Camp

We held our annual IT camp for students about to sit their computer O-levels.

About 100 students from the area participated in the one-day intensive teach-in, which was run by their teachers and the MCTC’s teaching staff.

We broke the day up with morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea, all of which was made by possible thanks to HSBC’s funding of the centre.

October: Human Elephant Conflict Seminar

Project manager Jaya travelled to Eruwewa village in North Central Province this October with Dr Fernando Prithiviraj, Sri Lanka’s foremost elephant conservationist.

They opened an electric fence around the village, which has grown up on the transit point for elephants in the surrounding area.

Then Jaya gave a talk on human elephant conflict to help the villagers co-exist with the local elephant population.

September: Moraketiyara Chairs

A big thank you to the Rotary Club of Okehampton in the UK, which has provided new chairs for the school auditorium after raising £400.

We'd also like to thank John and Sandra Moppett who made this donation possible after traveling to Sri Lanka on holiday in 2017.

They originally helped to source funds for school after it was damaged by the Tsunami in 2004.

August: Shangri-La Garage Sale

The Shangri-La Golf Resort and Spa in Hambantota held another of its quarterly garage sales in July.

This time the hotel raised Rs40,400 towards a school library renovation fund after selling off lost and found items.

Thanks to the hotel’s great efforts over the past couple of years, the library fund now stands at close to a quarter of a million rupees.

August: Dehigahalanda Special Needs Assistant

Many thanks to CIMA's Student Society in Colombo for renewing their sponsorship of Miss Chamodi who is working as a special needs assistant at Dehigahalanda School.

The student society and the Foundation of Goodness helped to renovate the classroom and sponsor a teaching assistant in 2017 through an Education Beyond Ability programme.

July: Moraketiyara School Toilet

Thanks to John and Sandra Moppett, one of the toilet blocks at Moraketiyara School has been renovated.

The Moppetts first got involved with the school after the Tsunami in 2004 then returned on holiday in 2017

Their first project since returning to the UK has been the renovation of the staff toilets, which they personally funded themselves.

June: Other Schools Class XIV Finishes

Our Other Schools XIV Class was completed during the month of June.

There were 14 students in total and we are very pleased to report that all of them passed the final test.

Madhuranga Malshan recorded the highest mark in the class: 94%.

May: Community Class 57 Finishes

Community class 57 has now finished.

There were 12 students in total by the end of the course and nine sat the the final test.

Pasindu Dilshan recorded the highest mark of 89%.

These were post O-level students who sat their exams in December and will begin their A-levels in September.

April: McMahon Family Visit

Easter saw the McMahon family, Naveet, Rob and Keira, visit Sri Lanka.

They spent the day at Kawantissapura school where Naveet led a class for the grade one students, as they are the same age as her daughter Keira.

She taught the children how to sing “head, shoulders, knees and toes,” with Keira’s help.

March: HSBC Student Sponsorship

We were delighted that HSBC’s CS Manager, Dilini Fernando, came to meet some of the roughly 200 students the bank is sponsoring.

Pictured are some of the A-level students from Tangalle Girls School explaining what the donation has meant to them.

HSBC is sponsoring students ranging from 15- to 16-year old preparing for their O-levels all the way through to university undergraduates as part of the celebrations of its 150th global anniversary.

March: Community Class 53 Finishes

Congratulations to community class 53 who completed the three-month Microsoft Certificate Course while they were waiting for their A-level results

A total of 12 students passed the final test.

Highest marks went to Sachini Nishari who achieved 65%.

March: MCTC Certificate Ceremony

Students from classes 45 to 52 came to collect their certificates while SRI Director, Jackie Horne, was in Sri Lanka.

All the students had completed the three-month Microsoft Certificate Course studying Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Access.

Pictured, manager Tharindu gives a speech thanking the students for their hard work.

March: Oli and Eliza Volunteering

The 29 students at Panagamuwa Amarasinghe School got two special visitors in February when Oli Woods and his girlfriend, Eliza, did some volunteering for the day.

Panagamuwa is a tiny little school about five kilometers inland from Galle with just eight teachers including the principal.

Most of the families were re-settled after the Tsunami and their main income is from fishing and paddy farming.

February: Elephant Holding Area

Project manager Jaya has been working with the park warden at Lunugamvehera National Park to map out a new home for elephants, which need to be moved from other parts of the country.

Sri Lanka has a big problem with wild elephants trampling crops.

Jaya has been helping to map the vegetation inside this proposed zone so the Department of Wildlife and Conservation can work out how many male elephants can live there without the need for additional food being brought in.

January: Hardware V Starts

We have launched our fifth hardware class under the tutelage of MCTC deputy manager Nuwan.

All of these students previously completed the three-month Microsoft Office Certificate Course but wanted to delve deeper into how computers are put together.

January: Sponsorship student

Pictured is Hasith Dilshan from Mulana School.

He has been one of SRI's sponsorship students for many years as he comes from a disadvantaged background and suffered from digestive issues that put an additional financial burden on the family.

He has just completed his O-level exams, passing seven subjects.