On 4th July, Mrs Lander, Mr A Jones and six Year 12 students travelled to Sri Lanka to support the work of the charity, HelpLanka. While in Sri Lanka, the team spent week-day mornings teaching English in a rural school. Our students were responsible for delivering lessons to children aged between 5 and 16 years old. Lessons were fun, interactive and included lots of opportunities for the Sri Lankan children to use spoken English. As Sri Lanka’s main industry is tourism, this skill is vital for school children there. Mr Jones put his sporting expertise to use, and with donated cricket kit, organised matches on the school field. He quickly realised that the Sri Lankan children were very skilled in cricket already and that perhaps he had met his match with some of the older boys. The team were also able to give every student in the school a new pencil case complete with pen, pencil, rubber and sharpener.
Afternoons were spent in various locations. The team visited a children’s cancer hospital and provided music, games and a magic show. Children’s homes and orphanages were also visited and the team provided face painting, arts and crafts sessions, games and sport. Chris Nash’s skills on the guitar were enjoyed by the children as was Gabi Gardner’s beautiful singing voice which mesmerised everyone who heard it. A bouncy castle was hired for several of these afternoon sessions and the children thoroughly enjoyed this special treat. The team was able to donate toys, books and equipment to these homes and all these materials will certainly be put to good use in these facilities as their own resources are so limited. A large parachute and hearing aids were donated to a school for deaf children. A very special afternoon was also spent in Cheshire home – a facility for adults with mental and physical disabilities.
The team also had the opportunity to explore some of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful attractions. A particular favourite was the turtle sanctuary in Galle, a family-run facility that ensures new born turtles have the best start in life and are protected from poachers and predators. The students also enjoyed some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and had a wonderful cultural experience visiting tea plantations, an elephant orphanage, the Sri Lankan parliament and ancient land marks such as the Sigirya rock temple.
The students worked incredibly hard while in Sri Lanka and were complimented on their efforts by many of the local people who were impressed by their energy, enthusiasm and compassion. As a result of donations from generous students and staff of Barry Comprehensive, the team was able to take 120kg of supplies and resources to Sri Lanka, including a walking frame that was requested for a disabled person. Once again, the students of Barry Comprehensive have made a considerable impact in Sri Lanka and this will hopefully be the case for many years to come.
If you are in Year 12 or 13, and would like to be considered for this amazing opportunity, details of how you can apply will be coming soon. If you would like any more information about what the trip entails, or would like to offer your support for next summer’s trip, please speak to Mr Bourton, Mr Jones or Mrs Lander.