Visiting Sri Lanka

Headteacher of Heatherside Infant School, Fleet, Mrs Chris Lynch visited Sri Lanka with Ocean Stars Trust in October 2017

Naomi Booth :: Friday 24th November 2017 :: This Story


When I became the Headteacher at Heatherside Infant School I was introduced to the work of Ocean Stars by a wonderful member of my teaching staff at that time, Maureen Johnston. She established the link between our school and the work the charity undertake in Sri Lanka.  Every year we fund raise in the autumn term for the children whose lives are touched by Ocean Stars and we learn a little bit more about their work and we see the smiling faces of the children shining out from the pictures from the teams' latest visit.

Pictures are a wonderful and very powerful thing; however, I knew that I couldn't truly understand how different life was for these children.  I had the growing need to empower our Heatherside children in better understanding how we can make a difference to others but in particular the children of the school in the small and remote Sri Lankan village called Ampilanthurai, who in a small way we support.  I knew that at some point I needed to go and visit and see them for myself.

This autumn my husband, Aidan and I were privileged to be part of the Ocean Stars 2017 team. This was for us both a very enlightening, emotionally humbling and spiritual experience.  I have come back having experienced first-hand and been touched by the beauty of Sri Lanka, both in its landscape and its people. However I am equally very aware of the great poverty and at the same time inspired by their desire to learn. I was equally very impressed with how the work of the Ocean Stars Trust has grown and taken root so that it is really making a difference to the people it really does empower.

As I move forward from this visit, it is clear that as a school we could do so much more to support the work of Ocean Stars. It is also clear that part of that work needs to be founded in empowering our Heatherside Community both parents and children to strengthen these links.  In this way Ocean Stars will have the means to provide the much needed support locally in Sri Lanka which will in turn empower their community to determine their own futures and break through the local prejudice and poverty that they face.

There were so many experiences and moments that will walk with me and assist me as I try to continue to support this work but most of all two things will stand out. The first is my visit to the primary school at Ampilanthurai Village; the second is the formally deserted village along the shore line at Batticaloa that was destroyed by the tsunami. However this year people are being forced to re occupy this village with living conditions that are heart breaking. In these I saw first-hand the need of the children there and what a difference our support could make to the lives of those children!

The principal at Ampilanthurai Primary

The principal at Ampilanthurai Primary and myself.

Jaya and myself at Shining Stars Ampilanthirai

Jaya and myself at Shining Stars Ampilanthirai

My Husband Aidan and myself in our Sri Lankan outfits

My Husband Aidan and myself in our Sri Lankan outfits