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Case Studies

  • Group:Calder High Sixth Form
    Sri Lanka 2016
  • Age:17-20 years old
  • Group Size:12 students and 3 teachers
  • Project:Care & Community
  • Destination:Colombo, Sri Lanka
UK Calder Group at the top of Pidurangala Rock


Calder High Sixth Form Case Study

Before the group set off, they got involved with a variety of activities to fundraise the money for their trip. These included packing bags for people from their town in the local supermarket and selling various items in their school each week, as well as more daring approaches that brought the group together like abseiling down a large rock in the nearby town of Heptonstall. Given that the majority of the group were girls, they also decided to put on a ladies-only fashion show as a fun way of raising some money.

What they did

A group of children welcome the new volunteers at Sambuddhaloka

Following on from their successful fundraising events, the group of twelve students and three teachers from Calder High Sixth Form set off to join one of our Care & Community projects in Sri Lanka for two weeks at the end of July 2016. For the students, this was a completely new experience but for the teachers, this was their second trip to join this project in Sri Lanka following a trip a year prior. This was made very clear by the beaming faces of some of the children who instantly recognised the teachers when they arrived. You can read about their previous trip and watch a video made by one of the students here.

A group of volunteers finishing some murals at Sadae Kindergarten

During their project the group spent their mornings helping to care and look after children in the Sadae and Sambuddhaloka preschools by singing songs, playing games and getting involved with various activities such as story-telling and arts & crafts. In the afternoons they would split into two teams, one of which was painting three new murals on the outer walls of the Sadae preschool to spark the children’s imagination. These included a Jungle Book mural, a farm mural and an underwater mural. The other team would travel to a nearby community centre to help teach English to teenagers ranging from 12 to 16 years of age who all had varying levels of ability.

Weekend trips

During their trip the group got to enjoy two weekend trips so that they could really explore what Sri Lanka has to offer and how the rest of the island compares to the hustle and bustle of the city of Colombo.

They spent their first weekend travelling south to the historic fort town of Galle. Here they explored Galle Fort, visited the beautiful tropical beaches of Hikkaduwa and Unawatuna, as well as getting up close with some turtles in the turtle hatchery in Benota. Upon arriving back in Colombo they also had the opportunity to visit various temples and have a tour of the city.

The view of Sigiriya from the top of Pidurangala

On their second weekend, they had a long journey travelling to the eastern side of the island to visit Trincomalee. On route, they stopped off to visit the Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple before hiking up to the top of Pidurangala Rock. The hike was fairly difficult but the group was treated to one of the best possible views of the famous Sigiriya once they reached the top (see picture). Upon arriving in Trincomalee that evening, they visited the Koneswaram Temple and the local market nearby. The following day they went whale-watching with the Sri Lankan Navy, to which they were treated to multiple sightings of world’s second largest animal; the Fin Whale. Before heading back to Colombo, the group also got to visit the incredibly beautiful Marble Beach where a quick dip in the warm waters went down a treat for those who brought their swimming gear!

Thoughts from the group

“I went to Sri Lanka not knowing really what to expect, but as soon as I arrived there, I fell in love with the people, their culture and their country. Before my placement at Sadae Kindergarten, I was so nervous because I've never handled or taught children before, but as soon as I had my first encounter with them I've never felt so much enthusiasm and excitement to go back and teach them again. What was more special is how quickly a bond between us teachers and the kids had formed despite the language barrier, which made it so difficult by the end of our placement to say goodbye to these children. It was a privilege and worth all the hours we'd put in to fundraise for the trip. I would definitely go back and would highly recommend it to anyone. It's hard work, but at the same time a rewarding experience that I will always remember for the rest of my life.”

“What I loved most was definitely being in Sadae! Over the weekends and everything. I also noticed myself getting more confident there as it went on. It was pretty scary on the first day when I was left alone to write all the names on their sheet (& had no idea how to spell them!). But an absolutely amazing experience and I would do it a million times over.”

“This was my second time in Sri Lanka with Projects Abroad, I was very excited to be going back to the same pre-schools with a new group of students. I found this trip as enjoyable and rewarding as I did last year. The schools were fantastic, and the added dimension of teaching older children English was a great opportunity for everybody in our group. I have so many highlights from this trip but the ones that stand out are watching our students interact and bond with the children while doing the activities that they had planned. I particularly enjoyed the fun and giddiness (and sometimes carnage) of playing "What time is it Mr Wolf?" just before home time.”

Natalie, Teacher

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