Marakolliya Kanitu Vidyalaya School
Where we started.......
On 26 December 2004 large parts of the Asian Pacific were devastated by a Tsunami. Watton At Stone school decided to form a partnership with a school in Sri Lanka to raise money enabling them to purchase much-needed equipment. The school is called Marakolliya Kanitu Vidyalaya. This has given Watton school children a chance to learn about another country and their culture and give the Sri Lankan school children an opportunity to learn about an English school.
Marakolliya Kanitu Vidyalaya school has children ranging in age from 7 years up to 15 years. This twinning project has been running for approximately four years and, to date, we have raised over £1,400.
In 2010 Watton at Stone raised a further £729.12 for our Sri Lankan School, Marakolliya. The money was greatly received from Children in Crisis. "The schools are busy at the moment with end of term tests and then close for 4 weeks on 6th August but have already had some discussions about how they would like to use the funds. They would like to use part of it to fund an educational trip for the students in the September. The Vice Principal will write a proposal soon with dates and destinations. After that the school would like to focus on improving the English Language Learning facilities and resources within all Sri Lankan schools. The donation will also be used to support project work between our two schools."
In the last few months our school and Marakolliya school have been preparing and exchanging work, giving each other an insight into life at their respective schools and life in their countries. There seems to be genuine enthusiasm and interest from Marakolliya school as they are very keen to learn about England.
We are now forging sustainable links with Marakolliya school and this is an important step towards Watton school’s vision for being involved in global education.
The TWIN reps.
In March 2012 Wilf Emsley and his wife, Christine, spent a month travelling around Sri Lanka. Wilf is a governor of Watton School. They made sure their holiday itinerary included a few days around Marakolliya, a village on the South East coast just outside the small town of Tangalle. This was the first time people from one twinned school had visited the other.
The children gave us a great welcome at the school gate with the band playing their home made instruments. Marakolliya is not a tourist destination and the children had seen very few British people, let alone had the chance to meet and talk to one so it was not surprising that they were quite shy at first. The shyness soon wore off and, as we went round the classrooms, we helped them practice their English.
The overwhelming first impression was of the sheer basic nature of the school; the lack of facilities inside and outside the classroom huts; the poverty. The seeming poverty of the school was a great contrast to the enthusiasm and happiness of the pupils and staff. All the pupils were immaculately turned out and, although this may have been partly down to our visit, we noticed this wherever we saw school children. Although Marakolliya school is a poor school with few resources, the staff are dedicated and the pupils are committed to education. The emphasis is strongly on mathematics and language. All pupils learn not just their own Sinhala, spoken by the Sri Lankans who live in the South but also Tamil which is spoken by Sri Lankans who live in the North and the international language, English.
The staff put on a spread of local food for lunch which they had prepared themselves. Sri Lankan food makes liberal use of spices and some dishes packed a punch. During our stay in Sri Lanka we came to really enjoy the hoppers, oil cakes and the wonderful and unusual array of fruit and vegetables.
Our main contact in Marakolliya school was Ranjani who took us around the classrooms and showed us the English Learning room. Since Watton has been twinned with Marakolliya we have raised funds for an English Learning Room and helped with the purchase of various basics which they could not otherwise afford, such as sports clothes and the school’s first digital camera. We asked what the school needed most and the staff told that a computer would help learning and communications. They discussed a printer but, if they had one, the school could not afford the consumables - printer ink and paper. We promised to come back to Watton and raise money for a computer.
Before we left, Ranjanie told us that there is an exchange scheme for teachers between Britain and Sri Lanka and that she hopes that a teacher from Watton school could visit Marakolliya. There is so much we can all gain from a closer relationship between the two schools. A greater cultural understanding and an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities that exist in societies elsewhere in the world can give Watton pupils a big advantage as they develop their own lives.
For the latest update on the computer situation click here.
2016/17 - after losing contact for a short while due to technology issues and changes in staffing we are pleased to have re-established contact with the school. The Year 6 children have written letters and will await responses from the current students in Marakolliya.