The Community Service club of Gateway College Kandy undertook the responsibility of upgrading a Primary School in the outskirts of Kandy which was in a dilapidated state with 2 run-down school buildings and poor sanitary facilities. What caught the attention of the club was the fact that this school which comprises only about 50 to 60 students and 6 teachers has been producing brilliant students who could compete with students from other prestigious national schools by getting marks over the cut off mark set at every grade 5 scholarship examination. Navanaliya Primary School is situated in Navanaliya, Kolombissa, a tiny hamlet snuggled up in the hills of terraced paddy fields and vegetable plots, some 32 Km away from Kandy.
The club initially decided to renovate the school buildings and the toilets but was told by the Principal that what was needed urgently was a playground for the children to run around and play, since almost all the students came from the farming community and they hardly had any time to play at home as their tiny hands are needed in their parents’ farming lands. Being well aware that building a playground was a mammoth task, the Community Service Club took courage to undertake the responsibility. The first task the club undertook was to raise the existing retaining wall on two sides of the play area to stop soil erosion. The club soon realized that raising the wall by five to six feet at different points was no easy task for it needed a colossal sum of money for material and labour.
After making the estimates, the students – both boys and girls decided to save on labour costs and do it themselves. They carried sand, water, cement, mettle, and large stones and assisted the masons who were building the wall. They mixed concrete and at times even built the wall. Having built the tall wall, they realised that it was dangerous to leave it open and decided to put up a protective fence. Soon there was a beautiful wire mesh fence around two sides. On the final day the club organized an art competition with the little students of Navanaliya because they felt they had not spent enough time with the students, although they made quite a lot of visits to the school.
The teacher co-ordinator of the project believes the golden rays of happiness that they were able to release into the hearts of the little students, their parents and the villagers of Navanaliya reflected back on them in the form of a golden trophy that they received at the Pearson Edexcel High Achievers Awards Ceremony held at the BMICH on the night of the 21st of November 2018 in Colombo. Every year, Pearson Edexcel, recognises the work of five Community Service clubs as the most worthwhile projects. The hard work of Gateway College Kandy received due recognition when they were bestowed with the Gold Award. Bishops College Colombo received the Silver and Gateway College Negombo received the Bronze while Musaeus College Colombo and Gateway College Colombo received the 4th and the 5th places.