Thursday, 6 March 2014

My personal highlight...

I've been back from Sri Lanka for less than a week but have had time to reflect on our brief trip.   Even in the short period of time we were there, we crammed a lot in and there were many highlights which underlined the difference that FODAD is making to so many lives.  Taking the orphaned girls out for a day seems insignificant but it reminded me that we shouldn't underestimate what it means to them; looking round the school and seeing kids working on laptops or playing in the band is inspiring; and understanding the reach of the medical clinic and the number of beneficiaries continues to amaze.

But there was one particular highlight for me which is at the route of one our key aims - giving people access to learn English to improve their prospects.

At the end of 2013 we identified someone who was willing to come into the school and teach English to the kids. He started in January so I was keen to meet him and see him in action.  So on our last day, this young man turned up at the school after lessons had ended. I was amazed at the number of kids that had stayed behind especially for his 2 hour lesson and the rapport he had with them.  No one was forcing them to stay behind but there were almost 40 in his class, all hanging on his every word.

After-school lessons
The next day he turned up at the village on Saturday morning and did another 2 hour stint for around 30 children from the village in a small, cramped, hut.  So keen were the kids to attend that apparently, two brought chairs from their home at 07:30 in order to guarantee a space for the lesson which started 2 hours later. 

Teaching in the Village

This really marks the fulfilment of a dream and offers a step change in the opportunities we can provide the youngsters in the village. A tutor full of enthusiasm and enthralled children was an amazing experience to witness.  I don't think it's exagerating to suggest that this one guy could have such an impact of the the kids' lives and that he offers so many the best hope they have for the future. It costs us quite a lot, but given the number of people whose lives could be affected, he offers remarkable value as well as hope.

To me FODAD has been about making a difference and I've always said if one life is changed, then it's job done. But along with the other improvements at the school, the take up of medical facilities at the clinic and the joy and happiness of the orphans, the English tutor, and FODAD is making a massive difference to so many. 


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