15 June, 2023

SCI Sri Lanka’s first workcamp of 2023

Kudagama Summer Camp

SCI Sri Lanka just had its first workcamp of the year!

It took place from the 2nd to the 8th of June in Kudagama, a small fishing village close to Anuradhapura, and was the second summer camp held there.

 

The village is composed of fishermen and Telugu (a minority of Gypsies in Sri Lanka), which are both quite poor and frowned upon communities. Thus, SCI Sri Lanka is working with them to give them the attention they deserve and to encourage the youth to continue to go to school.
In fact, Kudagama School, which welcomes the children of the village from grade 1 to 11, faces a very high level of dropout. Plus, learning of English is really difficult for kids coming from Telugu families because, since they have their own language, they already need to learn Sinhalese to attend class.
Therefore, the main aim of the camp was to work on those issues by improving the school facilities and teaching English to the kids.

Nevertheless, the camp started during Poson week-end, which is a holiday dedicated to the celebration of Buddhism’s arrival in Sri Lanka.
For the occasion, the tradition is to organise “Dansela” events to distribute free food and drinks to the community and to the persons traveling across the country.
Thus, we spent the first days of the workcamp participating to the events held in Talawa, the town where we were hosted by Inspire Village. We helped the organisers to serve the food and to wash a lot of dishes.
It was a really funny and interesting beginning, especially for the ones that never experienced it before, and we were able to get to know each others better while being useful for the community.

After this special week-end, we started the work in Kudagama School. Our priority was to fix the drinking water installation. In fact, it was out of service since Covid-19 and schools closure, which means that since then kids had no choice to drink water from the regular tap when they attended class. The problem is that this unclean water coming from the lake is responsible of an anomalous high rate of kidney diseases in the village area. So even if it was quite complicated, we are now very happy to know that students will have access to filtered water in their school.

Another mission we wanted to fulfill was to create an efficient water drainage system for the regular tap that children use to wash their hands and lunchboxes. In this order, we dug a trench from the sink to the grass nearby and added a pipeline to transport used water to a new mango tree that will be able to grow thanks to previously wasted water.

Even if they had holidays, some kids came at school during the days we were there. It was really nice to see them being curious about what we were doing and to include them in it. One of the boys even made some cement for us to fix the pipeline we installed.

We also spent one day in Kudagama village, to clean a place on the edge of the lake. Indeed, we had to cut all the grass and bushes that were growing wildly and to collect sand from the lake to fill some benches. Despite some little troubles with the wheelbarrow, all the work we wanted to accomplish was done and we were able to bath in the lake just before sunset.
We finished this day by cooking some fish over a wood fire and singing songs accompanied by guitar.

For the last day of the workcamp, we stayed all together at Inspire Village to discuss about our future projects and to do the evaluation. Some of the volunteers also went back to Kudagama village to pick up the last stuff we let there.
Finally, this second edition of Kudagama camp was a success thanks to all the volunteers that made an incredible work. Hopefully we will meet again there next year for a third time!

                                  

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