Donation of Camera and books to Howpe School, Galle and funding the school children’s trip to Colombo

Deshan Hewavidana donated many books, camera and also   lent  a much needed multi media projector which he bought from his savings of pocket money to the children at school Howpe Maha Vidyalaya , Galle. This is the first school Deshan’s  father Devsiri, uncles Sarath and Kithsiri and aunt Chulani atetnded when they were very young.

Devsiri and Ruvini Hewavidana also celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary (23 Sept 1989) by funding the primary school children’s educational trip to Colombo,. In a little ceremony took place at the paly ground, in front of all 400 children at Howpe School,UKFG chairman Mr Sirisena Gamage handed over a sum of 20000 rupees to pay for the coach.

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Donation of projector

Trip to Colombo

Deshan Hewavidana buying gifts for more children

Devsiri and his two boys Deshan and Dinum took a group of 15 UK scholarship children, including medical students, to a big store named KOTUWE KADE(“Harrods of Galle”)  to buy anything and everything. Deshan gave every child £20 from the money he had raised  and asked them toi buy anything they wished. . It was joy to watch these children walking from one aisle to another with their parents touching the new clothes and trying new shoes  Many bought shoes, bags and other accessories, whilst many bought things for their siblings back home.. All the children then posed outside the store with Devsiri and company and then proceeded to the next part of the day. This was giving the scholarship children unforgettable dinner at a local restaurant.

Many couldn’t believe that they were getting this opportunity, and all 15 had to budge up in the UKFG van and on three-wheelers. They then reached the restaurant by the sea in famous Galle Fort and were treated to the traditional rice and curry, which gave many of the children chances to socialise with one another and talk to Deshan and Dinum about life. Everyone then had mango or pineapple smoothies, which brought smiles to their faces .

Deshan and Dinum then gave out more gifts to all the children. Deshan in particular presented last three of his UKFG t-shirts to children he liked and thought deserved them the most. At the end, everyone posed for a group photo in the beautiful night time at  Galle  Fort. Children and the parents thanked Deshan and Dinum and said they would never forget this occasion

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Galle Scholarship Party 2012

The final UKFG event the Hewavidana Family held was the Galle Party. Here, a massive function was held for all UKFG scholarship children located in Galle, the region which was most impacted by the Asian Tsunami in 2004. It was held at the famous historical Buddhist Temple Wijayanada Pirivena with venerable Buddhist Monks involved to make sure everything ran smoothly.

The event started with performances by  scholarship children who performed a variety of items such as traditional dancing, reciting speeches, and singing. After a few performances, lunch was served to all guests.. When lunch was over, Deshan and Dinum took to the limelight to perform some English and Sinhala songs. These included the highly entertaining rap to ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber and the great harmonies in ‘I’m Coming Home to Sri Lanka’.

Afterwards, Deshan took to the microphone to address his friends back home in England, saying that everyone he has accomplished is all down to their support. To round of the schedule Mr Gamage and Devsiri took to the stage to talk about the get together and their UKFG experiences. Mr Gamage thanked everyone for turning up and talked about the sense of community embodied in Galle, whilst Devsiri made a heart-warming speech saying that he doesn’t expect anything from his scholarship children, but that they make Sri Lanka a better place in the future.

At the end, every child  received a gift pack of stationery. They and the children   posed for more group photos with Deshan, Dinum and the venerable Buddhist Monks. Most children were saying that they could not wait for the next years  party. As expected, ice cream was handed to everybody to round up a fascinating and heart warming event .

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Annual Dana Ceremony to commemorate past members of Hewavidana and Gamage generation

Every Year Devsiri’s  family starts their  charity work in Southern Srilanka by inviting all their  relatives and UKFG’s sponsored children to participate in  an annual Alms-giving (Dana Ceremony ) to commemorate Devsiri’s  late father and philanthropist Mr D C Hewavidana, late mother Kusuma and all the deceased family members of Hewavidana and Gamage Generation.

Late Mr D C Hewavidana was a well known person in Souther Srilanka who spent most of his wealth on  helping  the poor and unprivileged in the society. He founded the Ullala School in  Kamburupitiya and also built temples, hospital wards , community centres and houses for the poor. in 50s and 60s He gave more than 200 scholarships to poorest children in the South.   Many of them went to University and become doctors accountant , civil servants and engineers. It is heart warming to see Devsiri and  two of his siblings Laksiri and Chulani and Devsiri’s wife Ruvini, children Deshan, Shynie and Dinum are now continuing with the good work Mr D C Hewavidana started all those years ago

2012 Dana ceremony was held at Ruvini Hewavidana’s father and UKFG Lanka Chairman Mr Sirisena Gamage’s house. More than 350 members of Hewavidana and Gamage generation as well as UKFG scholars came to participated in the great Dan ceremony . Chief monks from the local temples as well as Galle graced the occasion . In his sermon priests reminded everybody the wonderful social service carried out by late Mr D C Hewavidana for a half a decade .

The chief Monk at Galle Kotuwe temple Rev Panangala Hemaloka himi described all the wonderful charity work Mr Hewavidana carried out in the Galle and Matar area and expressed his delighted that his children now following their father’s foot step and help poor children, schools and temples. In his sermon, Rev Ullala Chandima himi, who is the son of late Mr Hewavidana’s brother , paid much tribute to his uncle and described him one in a million

After the Danaya and sermons every priest was offered “Ata Pirikara” by Hewavidana and Gamage families . then the priest chanted Buddhist “Seth Pirith” to bless everybody a healthy and happy life

After the Danaya , 350 guests were served delicious lunch prior to the start of Annula UKFG Matara children’s get together.

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The Annual Dinner Party and Get Together for Matara UKFG children

Devsiri and his family held a massive function for all of the UKFG scholarship children based in Matara. The event was held at UKFG Srilanka’s  chairman Mr Gamage’s residence at Yatiyana , Matara , and over 200 people enjoyed the great evfent. The party started with the scholarship children coming into Mr Gamage’s house and being served traditional Sri Lankan cuisine by a professional chef. Everybody enjoyed the delicious food and talked to fellow friends and scholars, and  the large gathering of Hewavidana’s family’s relatives.

After lunch, the entertainment proceedings started. Similar to that of the Hewavidanas visits to the schools, children performed cultural dances and performed songs to say thank you to their sponsors for giving them the opportunity for their scholarships. Additionally, Deshan and Dinum entertained the masses with their renditions of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, the inspirational ‘ I’m Coming Home to Sri Lanka’ and the traditional ‘Mata Meni  Wage’ (Proud to be a Sri Lankan).  There were many speeches including one from Former Chief Minister to Southern Province Mr D G Sirisena .  Mr Gamge describe all the work UKFG had been doing  at local schools without much publicity thanked everybody who attended the event. Mrs Margret Wellapili, principal of Puswelkada School spoke on behalf of all the schools and explained how Mrs Nicky Pharoah not only saved Massmulle school from closure but also saved her little schools. She said it was a joy to see her poor children who used to come to school disheveled  before now come dressed in brand new uniforms and shoes.

At the end of the ceremony, Devsiri Hewavidana made a speech giving the back ground of UKFG and describing the wonderful social service his late father Mr D C Hewavidana started in the area .  He asked UKFG scholars have a good education and serve their motherland well for future generations.  Then all the children were given gift packs of stationery and party bags to take home.  As always, ice cream was served to everyone to round of the perfect day.

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Donation of speakers and books to Akurugoda Ratanajothi Junior School

The final school that Devsiri’s family visited during the2012 holidays  was Akurugoda. This is where Sam Connelly donated a new school library in 2009.    from  Here, they were treated to a short lunch before seeing their final ceremony. There were two presenters, one who spoke Sinhala and one who spoke English, which helped to show the schools great understanding for both languages. As expected, there was great dancing in the form of girls with colourful dresses on, and there was a vast array of singers, including a girl named Chalani who sang and played the violin perfectly.

After the speeches from the senior figures of the school and UKFG, Deshan was invited do a speech of his own. Here, he thanked his fellow friends and supporters at both his school the Norton Knatchbull and his sisters Highworth. He also paid tribute to his father Devsiri, stating that he told him that it is always better to give than to receive.  Shynie, Devsiri’s daughter, was then invited up onto stage to present a gifts to the school, where the money was raised from her savings towards an iPhone . Afterwards, Deshan presented his final gift, two surround-sound speakers for the school, which was cheered by the school to great volumes. Dinum and cousin Dinil then rounded things off with a rendition of the beautiful ‘I’m Coming Home to Sri Lanka’. At the end of it all, delicious ice cream was given to all and the Hewavidana waved goodbye to yet another marvellous UKFG year.

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Donation Howpe School

After leaving  Puswelkada school , the family visited Howpe School. The school is close to Devsiri’s heart as it was the first school he ever attended. As always, they arrived to a great reception . After having some quick snacks with the school’s staff, they went straight to another talent show; the only difference was this school had two presenters who were schoolchildren.  There was cute dancing from girls in rainbow-coloured dresses, and traditional dancing in the form of the ‘Goni Billa’. After the headmaster, Mr Gamage and Devsiri gave their speeches; Deshan was invited to sing a song to them all. But instead of singing solo, he sang with his brother Dinum, to show the two’s unity.

They sang a song called ‘I’m Coming Home to Sri Lanka’, which was inspirational and children gave them a rapturous round of applause. Then, Deshan presented another small parcel, this time it was £65 worth of money to buy the school a much needed school table. Finally, delicious ice cream was handed out to the children and Deshan and Dinum talked to girland boys about their school life and sang more beautiful songs for them.

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Donation of Musical instruments to Puswelkada Primary school

Devsiri and family made the hour long trip to Galle to visit two schools. The first of the two was Puswelkada Junior school . They arrived to a great reception, to which the schoolchildren exclaimed ‘Ayubowan’ (Welcome)

It was a very lively and welcoming atmosphere to say the least. The school then commenced with their culture school, which was interesting as there were many dancers in multi-coloured uniforms and one brave girl stood up on the stage and spoke in English, to everyone’s delight. Deshan then presented a small parcel to the school, which contained a set of brand new curtains for the school stage . Then Mr Ganmage Srilanka chairman of UKFG told the delighted children oand staff that Mrs Nicky Pharoah has send money to erect protective grills around the school building. This would protect children from birds and stray dogs.

More ice cream was given out, but this time the children had 2 sets. Finally, Dinum shook hands with the children, to which the children waved back after meeting their new ‘friend’.

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Donation of books and a sound system to Ratnapala School at Kamburupitiya

Devsiri and family travelled to Ratnapala School where Neil Carson , MD at Johnson Matthey donated a brand new library in 2011. They were shown around the school beforehand and saw the Neil Carson Library which had been built to improve the schoolchildren’s education. The school treated Devsiri and company to their own talent show, which paved the way for more dancing in the form of small girls with babies and of course, Dinum and Deshan performing a memorable rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’.

At the end of the show, Deshan was invited up to the stage to present his gift to the school; this time he donated two speakers and books for educational and entertainment purposes. At the end of it all, the children were given more ice cream and Devsiri’s boys waved goodbye to another school and another hard day’s work.

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Donation of musical equipment and books to Gatare school Kamburupitiya

The next day Devsiri and family went to Gatare School where Alan Hutchison donated a beautiful library in 2011.   They were well acquainted with the Head teacher children and proceeded to their school ceremony. There was more beautiful dancing, more entertainment by Deshan and Dinum, and even the head teacher used the drums and sang a song for us all. At the end, Deshan presented to the school brand new school equipment from his t-shirt sales, to which all the children were ecstatic about.   Deshan and Dinum played cricket and football with the children for a while.  Finally, ice cream was handed out and Deshan and Dinum shook hands with the children to say goodbye.

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