Building a pre-school in the village of Palana West
The 15 Durham 'Sri Lanka 2006' students raised the funding for the construction of a new building to serve as a pre-school in Palana West - a community in the Weligama Bay on the south coast of Sri Lanka. This community was devastated by the tsunami and an existing nursery school near to the beach was totally destroyed. The new school, named the PALANA WEST DUCK PRE-SCHOOL was constructed in a safe location away from the ocean.
The building is two storeys in height. The ground floor is the school for the young village children. The upper floor has now been completed as a community centre with library books and furniture, a large meeting room and computer facility.
Through DUCK, the students raised all the funding for the ground floor of the school. The upper floor of the community building was completed as a result of a donation from the Rotary Club of Durham Elvet. The First Schools in the villages of Eglingham and Chatton in Northumberland raised money which was channelled through the Durham students’ project to purchase equipment and books needed for the school.
This activity is being done through our partnership with the Sarvodaya organisation in Sri Lanka. In December 2005 the organisation's Chief Executive, Dr Vinya Ariyaratne came to Durham and received the first DUCK cheque which enabled commencement of the building project. The Head of Early Childhood Development within Sarvodaya, Miss Bianca Abeygoonawardane spent the Michaelmas Term of 2006 in Durham as Visiting Fellow in Hatfield College.
The foundation stone of the Palana West DUCK Pre-School was laid in December 2005. By February 2006 construction was well advanced and the school was officially opened on July 13th 2006.
Community building in Rassandeniya
Our second community building and pre-school was opened in the village of Rassandeniya. Our 2007 students, through DUCK, raised the funding to build this school and community building. The community of Spittal in Berwick-uopn-Tweed provided the school furniture, equipment and musical instruments for the children. It was officially opened on 13th July 2007.
A building for Gandarawatte
The village of Gandarawatte is the location of the third Durham University/DUCK community building and pre-school. This was paid for by the 2008 team of Project Sri Lanka undergraduates and was officially opened by them on 6th July 2008.
Hiththatiya community building
Our fourth tsunami affected coastal village is Hiththatiya East in the town of Matara. Here the DUCK undergraduate team of 2009 are providing a multi-purpose community building and school. The foundation stones of this community centre were laid in a village ceremony on 11th February 2009 and it is due to be opened on July 8th 2009.
Our 2009 students will forge links between Hiththatiya and Durham's first inland village of Ihalagalagama which had a ceremonial opening on 7th February 2009.