Computer skills for 100 Sri Lankan students

 
$8,843
$28,157
Raised
Remaining
Dec 5, 2010

2ND ENGLISH CAMP - AN ENGLISH CAMP FOR SIDDHARTHA PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS AT HORIZON LANKA

Students at the English camp
Students at the English camp

The English day camp is a one day event beginning in the morning and running into mid-afternoon. The purpose is to offer many students at one time to an intense environment to learn about a chosen topic of the teachers.
Like in the Thaksala English camp we taught the students about cultures belonging to different regions from all around the world. After the introduction we presented a slideshow with many pictures and interesting facts about different cultures organized in blocks of continents. After a break the children were taught a lesson on grammar to ensure there was some learning of English and then we sent them for their lunch. An hour passed and the children were divided into teams and challenged to complete 4 different tasks in their teams. The tasks were designed to assess the children in their comprehension, listening and speaking abilities. It was also designed as a very interactive part of the day and the climax of all the efforts employed. The team that performed the best was awarded a small prize at the end of the day.

The aim of the English camp is to entice students who attended to come back to Horizon in the week and enjoy the daily activities that we run.

The English day camp that was held exclusively for students at Siddhartha maha vidyalaya was on Wednesday 18th August 2010. We began at 9.00am expecting 30 students to be accompanied by the principal of the school. These children were also supposed to belong to grades 9 and 10 (13 – 15 year olds.)

What we were greeted by at 8.00am was a group of children numbering 38 – unaccompanied by the principal. After explaining that the camp will begin at 9.00am they reasoned to play cricket outside with the bat and ball we have at the centre. In this time we set up the main room with varying sizes of chairs and rugs at the very front for the smallest of the children. At the start of the day we found the multimedia projector to be very useful so that was situated in front of the room.

Before the teaching began we introduced ourselves, and as is customary in the organization that we all belong to: AIESEC, we had a dance to some music. This is an effective way of energizing the children and pushing them out of their comfort zone to make them feel more confident. Following this introduction we delivered the presentation about the world’s varying cultures.

Gangani, a member of the Horizon Lanka team, entertained the children very successfully with an energizer game outside during the short recess. This allowed us to prepare the room for the grammar lesson that was soon to follow.

During the lunch period it offered us time to feed ourselves and transform the main room to a much more open space. Helen and Achala would be using half the room each for their activities so we needed as much space as possible. Jack’s station was based just outside on the porch using the Montessori tables and chairs, whilst Jamelia made her challenge outside in the cricket pavilion structure. During this period too, we bought the small prizes: a packet of chocolate rice crispies from the main shop at the junction.

Helen’s challenge was a fact-finding game. One team member was given all of the facts written down, and the rest of the children had to ask him/her questions in English to find out the info.rmation. This resulted in the team deciphering what the continent was that the facts belonged to.

Achala had a big picture of the globe. She was also equipped with a selection of paper notes with items on them. The words on these paper noted correlated to the presentation we delivered at the start of the day. The challenge was to put as many of the pieces of paper at the correct locations on the map.

Jack held a quiz outside with many questions. As a team they were to provide the correct answers, one mark for each correct answer. They were not to progress to the next question until a correct answer had been given for the 1st.

Jamelia had a creative drawing game where as a group the children displayed in pictoral form different cultures from around the world.

The entire day was fun. Even though the principal of the school never appeared the children learned well and enjoyed themselves. Ever since we held the second English camp there has been a growing attendance of school children almost exclusively from Siddhartha.

I suggest holding more school camps with more schools from the Mahavilachchiya area. There have proved to be a real attendance booster, a lot of fun and above all, the children who come are attentive and excitable and learn effectively.

Links:

Nov 8, 2010

AN ENGLISH CAMP FOR THAKSHILA STUDENTS AT HORIZON

Jamelia with students
Jamelia with students

Updated: Monday, August 23, 2010 9:35 PM

Jamelia Harris – Trinidad and Tobago

On August 5th 2010 we, the volunteers at the Horizon Lanka Foundation, in conjunction with the English teachers of the Thakshila school, Mahavilachchiya hosted an English camp for the students of the school. At 9.00am, a delegation of 46 students from grades seven and eight eagerly entered the gates of Horizon Lanka in anticipation of the day ahead.

The theme that selected for the day was World Culture. A topic that is interesting, educational and relevant to all ages. The students were welcomed with a song and dance, thereby lightening the atmosphere. We then conducted two sessions focusing on the seven continents and the culture specific to each area. This was primarily visual presentations using images and Basic English words to paint a picture of world culture. In order to maintain the ‘English’ element of the teachings, an interactive grammatical session on tenses was done. Here the student were invited to construct sentences using the present, simple past, present progressive and future tense.

The afternoon session comprised four challenges. These challenges were based on what was previously taught and were designed to test the students’ ability to speak, listen, read and write the English language. Points were allocated for each task. All teams performed well in this area with the lowest score being 76/120. This is clear evidence of their level of understanding. At the end of the day, a winning team was selected and a prize given to reward their efforts.

Based on the feedback received from both staff and students, it can be concluded that the day was a success. With regards to our objects of the days as measured delivery of the sessions, student interaction and performance during the challenges, these were all accomplished. It must be noted however, had there not been time constraints, the results could have been even better.

Links:

Dec 7, 2010

MISS THALIA FOTAKI'S EXPERIENCES IN HORIZON LANKA, MAHAVILACHCHIYA

Thalia
Thalia

(Thalia Fotaki, Greece : January 3, 2010)

A few months ago I wouldn't dare to imagine me being in Sri Lanka. I wanted to go somewhere totally different and experience a humble life with plain people who are happy with small everyday things. So when I arrived in Mahavilachchiya the first thing I thought was, “Yes, this is exactly what I wanted.” Another tempting thing about Sri Lanka was the tea!!! I love tea.

During my stay I met some interesting people. Marijn was one of them. She was another volunteer from the Netherlands who was also in Mahavilachchiya the same period as me. We stayed at the same house. We made a lot of trips. We also taught together.

I stayed at a hospitable family. I was really touched by their generosity. They were very compassionate and warm-hearted. They were also great cooks which is very good when you live in a village that has just the essential things. Sometimes the food was too spicy but fortunately it was still eatable. The funny thing is that generally I don't eat much salt and spices but strangely I enjoyed it.

I'm also happy that my host family was a traditional Sri Lankan one with principles and morals. That fact helped me to get closer to the cultural understanding I was seeking. What captured my attention was the fact that people believe in stars and sometimes they let them determine their life. Another funny thing is that some people told me that I look like a Sri Lankan girl. Some others told me that I look like Cleopatra because of my short hair.

Every morning I woke up by the singing of the birds, it was amazing and exotic. We had breakfast by the sound of their traditional Sinhalese music.

It was so cheerful so it was a really good start of the day. After breakfast we went to Horizon Lanka where small kids were having a class. In their breaks we were playing. I will never forget them calling us teacher. It was such a sweet and innocent sound.

A lot of times I was considering about the similarities between Greece and Sri Lanka and I found many. In villages we also greet everyone and we also have a lot of sun (I didn't expect it to be so sunny in Sri Lanka because it was the rainy season and that's why the first days I had sunburns.) Greece has also mountains and beaches. And of course another similarity is that people in Sri Lanka love taking pictures. I love taking pictures and capturing every moment. :))

As for people, at first they stared at me but the funny thing is that they smiled immediately after I smiled. It was such an honest smile and every time it was the same. I loved it. The people didn't speak English; they just knew a few english words so they were very proud of themselves when they had the chance to use them. Such words were 'where going?', 'Where from?' or just a 'hi'.

Based on my little experience as a teacher I can say that it's very difficult to teach a language when you don't speak the native language of the students. Indeed it's challenging but simultaneously there is uncertainty about the result. Also their alphabet has nothing to do with the Latin alphabet so children had many difficulties in English. However heir thirst for knowledge overcame all the difficulties. I loved it when the students called me Thalia teacher. There was also a bird whose singing was the word teacher. For a long time Marijn and I thought that it was in our imagination. It was so funny when we discussed about that and we figured out that it actually sings the word teacher.

The students were really cute and beautiful. Girls picked flowers for us and boys, fruits. Too bad the fruits were not ripe enough that season. After some time of teaching they always wanted to play so they said teacher play. :)

Although there were a lot of computers most of them were broken so me and Marijn focused on teaching English.

Horizon Lanka is a place with great potentials, the building is very beautiful and colorful and the most important thing is that there are students willing to learn. I'm glad that while I was there some important steps were made for its developing. More and more people were coming to check Horizon Lanka and donators were found to repair the damaged computers. I'm so glad that I took part in such a great venture.
It's been almost one week since I left Sri Lanka and I already miss it. I hope that one day I will visit Sri Lanka again and see the evolution.

Miss Thalia Fotaki, an AIESEC intern from Greece worked at Horizon Lanka, Mahavilachchiya from November 2009 to December 2009.)

Picture Credits - Thalia Fotak

Links:

Aug 23, 2010

Help Horizon Lanka - Prospective Donor Proposal

Students at an English camp at Horizon Lanka
Students at an English camp at Horizon Lanka

Introduction to Horizon Lanka

The Horizon Lanka Foundation is a pioneering educational institution for children from the rural village of Mahavilachchiya. The foundation provides its students with access to high quality English and ICT education in order to provide them with the opportunity to achieve success in an increasingly globalised world.

Horizon’s background

The Horizon Lanka Foundation was established in 1998 by Nandasiri Wanninayaka, an English teacher from the rural village of Mahavilachchiya. He began an after-school club, providing children with further education in English and ICT. By 2006, Horizon Lanka was highly regarded on a national level. The foundation had gained its own building from which to teach, a broadband internet connection, and there was an increasing demand from parents in the village for this high quality training for their children.

Horizon provided a platform for its students to learn the necessary skills to gain places in universities across Sri Lanka and employment in the field of Information Technology.

In 2009, the success of the foundation was recognised by the Ministry of Education and 100 million LKR were allocated to replicate Mahavilachchiya’s e-village model in rural villages in all 9 provinces of Sri Lanka.

Horizon in 2010

ICT lessons are provided on a weekly basis by a specialized ICT teacher and the students are able to use the Horizon facilities to complete their own projects using the internet, publishing and graphic design software. The students are given technical sports training in football, cricket and netball several days a week. They are encouraged by the staff to lead an active lifestyle and are taught the benefits of a healthy diet. By educating the children of the village about the importance of a balance diet and lifestyle, Horizon hopes to have a positive impact on the entire village community.

Horizon is not only for education of the children of Mahavilachchiya, but also mentoring the personal development of talented young people to transform them into Sri Lanka’s future leaders.

Horizon Lanka has developed a relationship with the international student organization AIESEC, who source top university students from around the world to work for Horizon on a short term voluntary basis. Horizon can therefore provide rural children who learn little or no English at school with interactive lessons from native English speakers. Plans for sustainable future development

This summer, Horizon Lanka will start its first blogging project. Through this project the students will develop their English, ICT and time management skills. They will write the blogs in English so they will have the opportunity to use the grammar skills taught in the Horizon English lessons. The students will set up the blog themselves and learn how to upload text and photos to the blog. They will also be responsible for regularly updating the blog so will learn to mange their time and motivate themselves.

This month, Horizon Lanka will run a series of innovative and interactive English camps for the local schools. A model for the camp has been developed by the Horizon staff for the students in Mahavilachchiya this year and it will be used in schools nationwide from next year.

We would like to expand Horizons activities to offer a more holistic education. Sports coaching is given to students in football, cricket and netball but we would like to have courts and pitches for volleyball, netball, football and cricket. We would like to develop the creative talents of Horizon’s students and offer a program of art, dance, drama and music. Students have some arts classes in school but we would like to provide an opportunity for them to create their own projects.

Horizon has recognised that youth unemployment is a serious problem in the village. In attempt to re-motivate the young people of the village, the staff at Horizon would like to organize goal setting and personal development workshops. These workshops would help to give the young people the opportunity to reflect on their current lifestyle and consider the steps that they need to take to achieve their long term goals. How can you support Horizon’s development?

Providing the fee payable to AIESEC to bring in Horizon Lanka’s talented international staff, who work on a voluntary basis. Funding the centre manager, Sri Lankan English teacher and technical assistant’s salaries. Providing the funds for essential site maintenance, such as making repairs to the centre and garden. Improving the ICT facilities to allow more students to access reliable computers with an internet connection so they can take an active role in their own learning. Funding new arts and crafts resources to allow the students to develop their creative talents. Providing more sports equipment for the centre so that the students can have more effective coaching in a wider variety of sports.

How will you benefit from a partnership with Horizon?

You will become a driving force in a pioneering project at the pinnacle of 21st century global education that discovers new talent and develops Sri Lanka’s future leaders. You will have the opportunity to give careers workshops to the high potential Horizon students and source some of the brightest new talent in Sri Lanka. Your company’s information will be placed on the Horizon Lanka website, which is accessed across the world and has been referenced in the national press. You will raise awareness of your company in the local area and make a strong, sustainable impact on the village community, contributing to the wellbeing of the rural citizens of Sri Lanka.

How can you start to build a relationship with Horizon?

Please contact the centre manager, Gangani Dissanayake, on +94777159495. She will arrange a date for you to visit the Horizon Lanka Foundation and witness the groundbreaking education it offers the people of Mahavilachchiya. The staff and students at Horizon Lanka look forward to meeting you!

Students with an AIESEC volunteer
Students with an AIESEC volunteer
AIESEC Volunteers at Horizon Lanka
AIESEC Volunteers at Horizon Lanka
Students at an English camp at Horizon Lanka
Students at an English camp at Horizon Lanka
Jun 15, 2010

Talia from Greece volunteered at Horizon Lanka

Thalia with students
Thalia with students

A few months ago I wouldn't dare to imagine me being in Sri Lanka. I wanted to go somewhere totally different and experience a humble life with plain people who are happy with small everyday things. So when I arrived in Mahavilachchiya the first thing I thought was yes this is exactly what I wanted. Another tempting thing about Sri Lanka was the tea!!! I love tea.. During my stay I met some interesting people. Marijn was one of them. She was another volunteer from the Netherlands who was also in Mahavilachchiya the same period as me. We stayed at the same house. We made a lot of trips. We also taught together. I stayed at a hospitable family. I was really touched by their generosity. They were very compassionate and warm-hearted. They were also great cooks which is very good when you live in a village that has just the essential things. Sometimes the food was too spicy but fortunately it was still eatable. The funny thing is that generally I don't eat much salt and spices but strangely I enjoyed it. I'm also happy that my host family was a traditional Sri Lankan one with principles and morals. That fact helped me to get closer to the cultural understanding I was seeking. What captured my attention was the fact that people believe in stars and sometimes they let them determine their life. Another funny thing is that some people told me that I look like a Sri Lankan girl..Some others told me that I look like Cleopatra because of my short hair. Every morning I woke up by the singing of the birds, it was amazing and exotic. We had breakfast by the sound of their traditional Sinhalese music. It was so cheerful so it was a really good start of the day. After breakfast we went to Horizon Lanka where small kids were having a class. In their breaks we were playing. I will never forget them calling us teacher. It was such a sweet and innocent sound. A lot of times I was considering about the similarities between Greece and Sri Lanka and I found many. In villages we also greet everyone and we also have a lot of sun (I didn't expect it to be so sunny in Sri Lanka because it was the rainy season and that's why the first days I had sunburns).Greece has also mountains and beaches. And of course another similarity is that people in Sri Lanka love taking pictures. I love taking pictures and capturing every moment. :)) As for people, at first they stared at me but the funny thing is that they smiled immediately after I smiled. It was such an honest smile and every time it was the same. I loved it. The people didn't speak English; they just knew a few English words so they were very proud of themselves when they had the chance to use them. Such words were 'where going?' 'where from?' or just a 'hi'. Based on my little experience as a teacher I can say that it's very difficult to teach a language when you don't speak the native language of the students. Indeed it's challenging but simultaneously there is uncertainty about the result. Also their alphabet has nothing to do with the Latin alphabet so children had many difficulties in English. However, their thirst for knowledge overcame all the difficulties. I loved it when the students called me Thalia teacher. There was also a bird whose singing was the word teacher. For a long time Marijn and I thought that it was in our imagination. It was so funny when we discussed about that and we figured out that it actually sings the word teacher. The students were really cute and beautiful. Girls picked flowers for us and boys fruits. Too bad the fruits were not ripe enough that season. After some time of teaching they always wanted to play so they said teacher play. :) Although there were a lot of computers most of them were broken so me and Marijn focused on teaching English. Horizon Lanka is a place with great potentials, the building is very beautiful and colourful and the most important thing is that there are students willing to learn. I'm glad that while I was there some important steps were made for its developing. More and more people were coming to see Horizon Lanka and donors were found to repair the damaged computers. I'm so glad that I took part in such a great venture. It's been almost one week since I left Sri Lanka and I already miss it. I hope that one day I will visit Sri Lanka again and see the evolution.

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Organization

Horizon Lanka Foundation

Anuradhapura, North Central Provin, Sri Lanka
http://www.horizonlanka.net/

Project Leader

Nandasiri Wanninayaka

Chief Executive Officer
Anuradhapura, North Central Province Sri Lanka

Where is this project located?