Pupils at Calder High volunteer in Sri Lanka

Students were given a warm welcome by the children at Sri Sambuddhaloka Pre-School

Students were given a warm welcome by the children at Sri Sambuddhaloka Pre-School

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Following a successful volunteering project to Sri Lanka last year, a team of 12 Calder High Sixth Form (VI) students and three staff members returned to Sri Lanka during summer.

The group spent a day travelling from Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, to Colombo, Sri Lanka where they were met by Projects Abroad volunteer co-ordinator, Helen Monaghan, who worked with the group during their two-week project.

The Sixth Form students spent their trip in two schools in Sri Lanka

The Sixth Form students spent their trip in two schools in Sri Lanka

The student volunteers worked in two kindergartens in deprived suburbs of Colombo, Sadae Kindergarten and Sri Sambuddhaloka.

The mornings were spent with the children and teachers, teaching basic English, co-ordinating arts and crafts and engaging the children with songs, drama activities and games.

In the afternoons, the volunteers were split into two teams either working on mural painting or teaching English to older children who were eager to learn as much English as possible.

During leisure time, the group were able to visit a turtle hatchery on the coast, Buddhist temples and experience whale watching on the North coast of the island. In order for the project to take place, the Calder High Sixth Form students had to raise a collective total of £27,000 whilst also working hard towards their A Level exams. Fundraising included monthly sales of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, sponsored 24 hour Stay Awakes, a monthly car wash, raffles, bake sales and a generous donation from Hebden Bridge Rotary Club.

Project Leader, Emma Hartley said: “The experience students gained on the project was both enjoyable and invaluable.

“Each of the young people taking part has been through their own personal journey and all said that they felt the projects have been life-changing experiences.

“I am delighted to be a part of the Overseas Project and hope to help make future projects the most positive experiences possible for the Calder VI volunteers ensuring we enrich the lives of the children and adults we work with each year”.