I spent six month in Maskeliya volunteering with my husband. Although I was welcomed warmly by the students and staff, I did have “slight” panic about what I was doing there! I am not a teacher and yet here I was in front of twenty-five 17–25 year olds with a lesson plan in hand- aagh! However as the weeks went on I looked forward to my classes and spending time with the students, being able to get to know them more and helping them increase in confidence.
I loved how engaged and responsive the students were and how funny they found my pronunciation of their names! Furthermore, it was always easy to get a laugh out of the class; I started to believe that I was a comedy genius. As I got to know the students and the problems they faced I was even more amazed at how hard they worked and how little they showed their struggles and worries. Some of the students travel 2–3 hours on several busses to get to school. Alongside this many have to help with cleaning and cooking chores for their large families. Some of the student’s families can only afford one meal a day and many of the students live in line houses where they share a room with several members of the family.
In spite of all these challenges, they are at school almost every day and never complain. The teachers were also an inspiration, not only support their students through education but also help them to cope with their social and emotional problems. All the teachers have been students at TLV and many have faced or are facing similar challenges to those of the students, which is a huge asset as they
work to support them. We feel privileged and humbled to have been part of and supported this amazing school for six months.