Kurumunvely Playgroup in the town of Kurumunvely, N. Batticaloa

Of the 13 playgroups supported by the OST (there are 15 more on the waiting list), Kurumunvely is a little different. The building is not recently built to what seems a standard 35 x 15 feet, but has had its building for many years, which is essentially part of the church worker’s house. This house is next to the Methodist church of the town, and is spiritually, but sadly not financially, supported by the church. What the church offers of course is the site.

Kurumunvely is entered via a vast flat estuary which no doubt at certain parts of the year brings flooding problems. You come off the main road onto a partially made road and some 800 metres down you find the church, a dominant building, with the playgroup just after it. Just before the church is a government primary school (age 5 upwards), which was once allied to the Methodist church. A few cows graze amongst the sandy grass in front the church. All around the church and house is sand, though the church worker’s garden grows chillis, okra, cucumber amongst the mango and king coconut trees. Water comes from the well in the garden, where both the (open) shower area and toilet are situated. The hole in the toilet is known to be particularly large, so the tots are not allowed to enter for fear of falling down the hole. Funds are also sought for a kids’ toilet elsewhere in the garden.

The existing classroom for the playgroup is about 10 feet by 25 feet, and attempts to serve 54 3-4 year olds. Hence the need for the extension, which is being built on the left of the property. This will be almost 3 times the size of the existing classroom. Collingwood College provided funds for a lean-to extension to the back of the church, which is finished, and provides meeting space for the church and an overflow area for the tots. Collingwood has also provides monies towards the substantial extension, though this is not yet completed. More funds are required!

We were able to have a topping-out ceremony as most of the roof is complete, and you can see the full size taking shape.

Three teachers are being paid each £20.00 per month by OST to conduct the playgroup from 0800 till 1130 each weekday. The leading teacher Nilanthi, in her mid 20s, is known to be excellent, and is well supported by two others.

The teachers are sponsored by individuals in the UK, and would clearly continue to work even if they received nothing in return. OST provides for limited training (their only training) during the October visits.

Kurumunvely teachers and the church workers are extremely grateful for the help given by Collingwood College, and would plead for further assistance, initially to complete the extension.

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