Bordertown Rotary Club finishes Sri Lankan school project

MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT: Bordertown Rotarians John Hunt (left) and David Milton exchange gifts with their Sri Lankan friends.

MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT: Bordertown Rotarians John Hunt (left) and David Milton exchange gifts with their Sri Lankan friends.

Rotary Club of Bordertown finally completed one of its most ambitious international projects last week in Sri Lanka.

Rotarians Karen and John Hunt and Rose and David Milton were thrilled to participate in the opening of two new classrooms at Glasgow Tamil School in the remote hills country of Sri Lanka.

"The grand opening was the culmination of about 15 months of fundraising, planning and close scrutiny of the building progress," Mrs Milton said.

"One of our Rotarians, Sathiyawan Vallavanpillai guided us through the entire project. He has a huge network of friends, relations and contacts in Sri Lanka, and they were all on our side, supporting the project where possible."

The opening ceremony took close to four hours, and everyone who attended showed a high level of enthusiasm and excitement.

Mrs Milton said: "We were there as the special guests, and we were pleased to be sharing the honour with Sathiyawan's daughter Kaashni who lives in Colombo and also his mentor and former teacher Mr Reginauld."

She also said all the excited parents, students and teachers helped to make it a memorable day for the town.

"The opening was a celebration for everyone, and it was all done with style and sincerity," Mrs Milton said.

"Starting with a traditional welcome ceremony complete with Sri Lankan musicians, we then enjoyed a series of new and wonderful experiences.

"There were speeches galore in Tamil, and our speeches in English would have kept everyone equally mystified."

Rotarians David and John cut the ribbon for one of the classrooms which was named Bordertown, and the other room was named Mundulla.

"Plaques of recognition of the Bordertown Rotary Club in Tamil and English were unveiled, and lots of presentations and gifts (were) exchanged," Mrs Milton said.

"It was a fabulous event, with the keys finally being given to the acting principal of the school.

"We were rather stunned and thrilled with the speed and efficiency with which the classrooms and toilets were built."

The club made the decision to employ the building contractor in March, and the entire project was completed by mid-July.

"It seems to us that through our donation, the plight of this very neglected school has now been given recognition," Mrs Milton said.

"In addition to our support of the school, a playground and a water purification system was promised during the ceremony."

Mrs Milton said there will always be a connection between Glasgow Estate Tamil School and the Rotary Club of Bordertown.

"The achievement of financing this project was a team effort; not just of Rotarians in our club, but also the many friends and supporters in our district, who gave generously to the cause."

She said support to the schools in the area will continue with more 'Days for Girls' washable hygiene kits planned for the future.

"We have made some wonderful friends through this life-changing experience, and we look forward to visiting again," Mrs Milton said.