Unawatuna Maha Vidyalaya
UMV – A school transformed
Unawatuna Maha Vidyalaya has a much more positive outlook since the Tsunami. It has changed through extensive support from Senahasa. The school now has:
- new classrooms
- an assembly hall
- new fully-equipped science and computer labs
- new staff accommodation
- refurbished classrooms
- partitioned class halls
- new toilet blocks
- a kitchen
- access to water throughout the school grounds.
The grounds have been improved to create a multi-purpose sports field. The children can now play cricket, football, rugby, netball and baseball at the school. Teachers and students alike tell us that is like being in a school in the UK or the US – perhaps not quite but certainly a lot better than before.
Classes in the new classrooms in the new classroom block
The headmaster at a cricket practice at UMV on the new playing fields
New staff accommodation
Since September 2006, Senahasa has had an experienced TEFL teacher and gap year volunteers in place to build an English Development programme. The programme aims to help children learn to speak and use English in everyday life. A better command of English will give these students better prospects in further education and employment after they leave full-time education.
The background – Building a major extension to a school
After the Tsunami, Senahasa raised over £150,000 to build new classrooms, a hall and some science labs, enlarge the play area and imrove the overall facilities of Unawatuna Maha Vidyalaya. This was needed to accommodate 200 children from Peellagoda School, which was destroyed in the Tsunami.
The Peellagoda School, a state primary school, was situated beside the Unawatuna Bay on the sea side of the coastal road from Galle. The Peellagoda School will not be rebuilt on the same site.
Peellgoda School in ruins
New classrooms and playing field
The Education Department decided that the Peellagoda children should be moved to UMV. The UMV headmaster agreed that they can join the school as long as he had an assurance that more classrooms would be built to accommodate the extra children. Senahasa Trust gave this assurance and work began shortly after.
Children taking exams sheltering under an umbrella at the Unawatuna Maha Vidyalaya
UMV is a mixed state school which has children aged 6 to 18 and is located about a two kilometres inland. The school stands on three acres of land. Consequently, there was room to build more classrooms on site. The old science block which was located in the middle of the playground was demolished, increasing the play area available to the larger number of children.
Senahasa also sponsor children from UMV, many of whom have lost a parent and their homes. The sponsorship helps them remain in full time education and fulfill their potential.
UMV has the potential to provide children from very poor homes with a good education which would give them a more secure future. School also provides solace for these children and offers them a routine which no other part of their lives could offer after the Tsunami. An emphasis was put on completing these projects as quickly as possible to provide the children with stability and hope. Senahasa continues to help the children break out of poverty by on-going support for the school.