Rohana Special School, Sri Lanka
With the help from “Sunny Govan Community Radio” in Govan, Glasgow we managed to raise a small amount of money in the first year to buy a fax machine for the school. In 2007 we took it a little further, with campaign, "don’t be stingy gees yur gingies", we were able to raise £500. I spent 6 weeks in the school as a maintenance man, fixing windows, doors, fixed all the showers, painted 3 rooms, prepped 2 more many other other small but worthwhile jobs. With the voluntary help from Tharindu and Saman whom I met on the Asiri hotel project, this would not have been possible. Thanks guys.
As Rohana is a residential school for around 50 boys and 50 girls, it relies on donations for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Instead of having a party for my birthday Tharindu, Saman and I cooked a special dinner for all the children and staff. I even managed to organise an ice -cream van (Tuk-Tuk) to come into the school with ice lollies for everyone. When you see a smile on a kids face it just melts me (pardon the pun).
One of my great achievements was helping a young girl who stayed in a village far inland. I was told about her by a very generous lady Heidi from Switzerland. She met her a year before and asked if I could help in any way. I approached the Rohana head teacher and he agreed to give her a placement in the school, something they wouldn't normally do with because of here age...but as I was helping they would make an exception. In August 2010 I met this young girl again at the school and she is doing very good, now she is communicating with all the other children, after all those years where she thought she was the only person who could not hear.
This is when I knew I could help make a difference in people's lives. I can't change their lives, they have to do that themselves, but I found a talent ok mum dad from you, I could make things happen, my dad was a very persuasive guy larger than life but taught me many many thing that I still use to get to my greatness. I did not appreciate them at the time, but he knew they would surface at the right time. I love you mum & dad for your patience and letting me do and make all the mistakes to get to this point, life is about learning and I had great teachers. I think a mistake is only a mistake if you do it twice, the first is just a learning curve.
UPDATE 2015: Since Sunny-sid3up's visit several years ago, Rohana Special School has grown exponentially. The school now has new classrooms, boys and girls dormitories, uniforms, a library, a computer lab, modern toilet facilities, specially trained teachers and more pupils and charity support than ever before. We are delighted to see how far Rohana has come since Chris's visit. We really hope Rohana achieves its goal of becoming the best special school in Sri Lanka.