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Helping People as a Volunteer In Sri Lanka

Currently Sri Lanka is experiencing a period of peace that the country has not seen in 18 years. Visitors have many opportunities to help local people who have been entrenched in the ethnic crisis. One way is to teach in international schools in which subjects are taught in English.

When I completed my undergraduate degree at an American university I applied to three such schools and received a positive response from one of them. The process of submitting resumes and telephone interviews took three months.

My preference was not to live in the capital, Colombo, but in a small town; therefore I applied to Princeton International School, Batugedara. It is away from the city and is surrounded by tea estates, rice paddies, and rivers. The students were all locals from surrounding towns. I taught English and French.

Contact: The Principal, Princeton International School, Batugedara, (Ratnapura District), Sri Lanka.

The address for the Overseas International School in Colombo,, is The Principal, Overseas International School, Pelawatta, Battaramulla. 011-94-1-86-4920, 011-94-1-86-4921/86-4922.

Over the past five years I have revisited Sri Lanka to distribute used clothes, pencils, notebooks, toys, and shoes to needy families. I work with an organization called the Rajarata Praja Kendraya, Kekirawa to help me with the distribution tasks. Before leaving the U.S. I mail boxes containing the donated and used items. Usually it takes three to four months for the packages to arrive in Sri Lanka. It costs about $40 to mail a 60-pound box. I plan the trip so that by the time I am in Sri Lanka I can collect the boxes at the post office at the Central Mail Exchange at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha in Colombo.

Travelers interested in learning about local NGOs in Kekirawa, seeking addresses of international schools, or with additional questions about traveling to Sri Lanka may contact me at 970-544-1731.

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