In July Jonathan Lewis organised the first trip of what we hope will be many annual sojourns to Sri Lanka with the intention of setting up a long term partnership with a local charity (CAL – Child Action Lanka) that help street children, many of whom were made orphans by either the 2004 Tsunami or the Civil War (1982-2009) in that country.
17 boys, all from the Fourth Form and under 15 Rugby players, volunteered to join this first trip, and all have come back saying what an extraordinary, eye-opening experience it was. To capture the true flavour of what they achieved, and how it affected them, read the articles below. Moreover, do look at the excellent film that was photographed and edited by Simeon Bancroft. The articles and the film show what a transformative experience it was and captures how brilliantly those 17 boys (and the staff who accompanied them) represented Tonbridge School at its best.
So, what did the boys do whilst out there? They coached Rugby, ran Sports days and worked alongside Street Children to give them, hopefully, a different more optimistic perspective on the future. They built a school classroom, painted another, forged strong relationships and, as importantly, laid the foundations for a long term Tonbridge School Community Action International Partnership.
How do we hope this partnership will flourish? Alongside the annual visits, we have been encouraging boys who are opting for a Gap Years to consider three or six month placements with CAL to continue the work initiated during the summer holiday visits. Already 4 Tonbridgians are intending to take up this challenge in 2015/16 so as to fulfil the aim that Tonbridge School will be making a positive contribution to CAL’s vital work in Sri Lanka throughout the year. As we develop further the partnership with CAL, Sri Lanka Gap Year placements will offer challenging, exciting opportunities for those who want a life-changing experience between school and university.
Over 40 boys and staff are already booked to fly out to Sri Lanka immediately after the end of the Summer term. They will be visiting all five CAL sites and the trip will culminate in a touch rugby tournament to be held in the Sri Lanka rugby stadium in Kandy!
Read more about the trip:
Watch the video: