Our tour party hopes to reach the sleepy hamlet of Deegalla on the 25th of July 2015, where we will be staying as guests of the chief priest of the village temple. Venerable Hettimulle Kassapa, the chief incumbent of the Siri Sugathawansa Yagshramaya, is leading an inspirational programme to enhance the prospects of the children of the local community by teaching English, Mathematics and introduction to Information Technology with the assistance of a dedicated team of volunteers.
Such is the success of his efforts, that the attendance to these classes, held entirely free of charge, has almost tripled from 97 in the year 2008 (when he took over the incumbentship of the temple), to 254 today. This has led to such an increase in the demand for extra classes that 7 classes are routinely held outdoors to supplement the 4 that are being run in a hall constructed within the temple premises. Therefore, Ven. Kassapa is seeking to build a new two-storied structure in order to accommodate all the classes within a secluded area, protected from the vagaries of weather which often hamper them. He has already laid the foundation complete with concrete pillars to form the skeleton of this building. Unfortunately, this work has stalled due to the lack of funds.
In response to a plea for assistance, MegaReach has successfully collected the £1000 that was the shortfall for completing the concrete floor on the first storey of the building, which will also act as a temporary roof for the structure. Construction of this is due to start shortly. MegaReach hopes to continue to seek assistance to complete this building, so that we can make that real difference to the community of Deegalla.
During our time with the predominantly Sinhala local community (the majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka), the MARDiTRePers hope to work with key individuals within the village, who are amenable to the idea of working with specific collaborators of Tamil origin (the largest ethnic minority). These “champions of peace”, who are currently being identified through a programme created specifically for this purpose, will be encouraged to develop project proposals that are particularly relevant to their own needs and challenges, which could be supported by MegaReach over the longer-term. They will also be invited to visit the central hill capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy, as guests of MegaReach, where they will be introduced to their counterparts from the Tamil Community. The full programme of activities to be held to mark this gathering is detailed under the section titled “Kandy”.