‘Buy a Trip – Give a Trip’ Campaign
Thanks to a generous donation made by Elevate Destinations (Eco Luxury Travel) from Cambridge, MA, Khiri Travel Sri Lanka’s Ms Madara Kulatunga, our Khiri Reach Program Ambassador, was able to organize an educational trip for some of the boys at Noguchi Child Development Centre, a local orphanage. This was the first opportunity these boys had ever had to experience and discover their own country and learn about its history.
The 5.00 am early morning start began with the kids – a few teachers from the orphanage and two Khiri Travel staff – heading on a road trip for Sigiriya rock fortress in the Matale District, and Kaudulla National Park in North Central Province.
As it was a Saturday there was hardly any traffic so the five-hour journey was enjoyed even more by the excited, but very well behaved children, who began singing from the moment they got on the bus until they arrived at the first destination.
After one of the local site guides had given an introduction to the children about the historical and archaeological importance of Sirgiriya, they began the ascent of the ‘Lion Rock’. The sun was not yet strong and so the children were able to quickly climb all the way up to the summit of the 200-meter-high rock.
The kids were then taken for lunch at a local restaurant where the staff kindly gifted them with a box full of stationary items provided by the restaurant owner, who was celebrating his birthday. Needless to say, the children were over the moon to have received this surprise present!
Kaudulla National Park (neighbouring Minneriya) was next on the agenda for an exciting afternoon of wildlife spotting, with a focus on trying to catch the first glimpse of the biggest inhabitants – elephants. For the first hour no elephants were to be seen anywhere, but then a herd appeared. At one point, the vehicle was surrounded by 10 wild elephants! It was unexpected and very amusing for the kids, as this was the first time in their lives that they had seen elephants in the wild.
After the three-hour jeep ride, the children began their return journey back to Colombo. All parties were happy and agreed that the day was a real success. Besides the fun, the boys had learned about many important things: Wildlife conservation, as well as information about the history, religion, architecture, geography and culture of the sites they had visited.
More funds have been accrued through personal donations made to our Khiri Travel Sri Lanka team and these will provide the boys with the new school bags they need next year to replace the worn and torn ones currently being used.
A big THANKS! goes to Elevate Destinations for making this special day possible. This initiative allows local children to experience some of the more iconic sites in their own country that they would probably otherwise never get to see. The budget for each program is US$500. This covers all the costs of the trip including meals and the two visits to the historical sites for 20 children, five teachers from the orphanage, plus two staff members from Khiri Travel Sri Lanka.