Opening of Neil Carson Library

Kamburupitiya , Srilanka

On 12th January 2012, Nicky Pharoah and Colin Newbold (Owners of The Learning Curve limited, Tunbridge Wells, UK)  were the chief guests at the ceremonious opening of Carson library at Ratanapala School, Kamburupitiya in Srilanka.

This much needed library was built by Mr Neil Carson, Chief Exec of Johnson Matthey  in the UK  Neil, his wife Helen, children Phil, Peter and Hannah who visited Srilanka in August 2011 were the guests of UKFG’s annual tea party in Galle. Having spoken to  many children Johnson Matthey sponsored at the party, the family became  very impressed with the work UKFG did and the benefit his company’s scholarships has brought to children.  On their return to UK, My Carson contacted Devsiri and offered £6500 of family funds to built a library in a rural school.  Ratanapala school became the lucky recipients of his generosity.

The Carson Family

The Carson library , the biggest school library is a testament to the remarkable ability of UKFG Srilanka chairman (Devsiri’s father-in-law) Mr Sirisena Gamage, better known as Mr G.   Nobody could belive that this library was built in just 5 weeks . Devsiri elder son Deshan Hewavidana,17 and his school friends raised well over £300 by selling UKFG T-shirts and bought  books for the Carson library.  After Nicky Pharoah and Dinum Hewavidana, 8, ceremoniously cut the ribbon and opened the library on behalf of carson family.  Mr Colin Newbold then donated all the new books to children on behalf of Deshan and friends. Three hours of beautiful singsongs and colorful dances and speeches by VIPs  took place after the opening

Please see more details on Colin Newbold’s blog:

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Nicky Pharoah & Colin Newbold Visit Puswelkada School in Galle

Puskwelada Primary School, about 10 kms inside of Galle) was founded the proprietor of Waulugala Tea estate ,Mr B R Disanayake at the request of his superintendent  and Devsiri’s late father  Mr D C Hewavidana in 1957.  Puswelkada is a very poor village and most of the villagers are working as casual labourers in nearby tea estates  earning mere £10 a week.   The parents of the children cannot afford to buy books or shoes for their children.  Some of the children only have their school uniforms to wear (They wear them every waking moment). This school was facing closure about five years ago and due to the combined efforts of staff, supported by UKFG, that threat has been removed and the roll-call is slowly increasing.

On 11th January 2012, Nicky Pharoah and Colin Newbold visited the school for the first time . They were accompanied by  Mr. Sirisena Gamage. Devsiri and little Dinum . The guests  were warmly welcomed by the Puswelkada School children, staff and villagers. The VIPs were treated to a full programme of music, dance and numerous speeches, kicked off by being ceremoniously escorted up the hill by the school band.

In his speech Mr Gamage  explained that , investing in the education of rural Sri Lankan people, encouraging them to go on to further education and to university and get qualified and then come back and serve their village communities is the way out of poverty for Sri Lanka.  Nicky and Colin joined together for their  own speech to the school (teachers, students and parents) and explained how delighted they were to visit the school at last.  To the utter delight of parents they   promised to present the children with new uniform and a pair of shoes every year. 

At the end of the speeches all the children were presented with a set of excise books , pens and pencils followed by tea and home-made delicacies, taken with the Principal and her teachers. Finally children their parents and villagers all enjoyed  ice-cream treat.

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