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Rural Children's Resource Centre AidCamps

Sri Lanka - July - Aug 2007

These two AidCamps were held in conjunction with our partner organisation SERVE in the rural community of Uda Walawe in Sri Lanka. SERVE works primarily in the areas of social work and education for the benefit of underprivileged and deprived children.

These two projects financed a resource centre providing a child friendly environment for the children of the rural community in Uda Walawe, giving them facilities for additional studies, to do their homework, use the library, and play indoor games such as chess and carrom.

The volunteers plastered, painted, decorated and generally finished the building. The first group completed part of the building and the second group completed the rest.

In addition the volunteers were also taken to see SERVE's work for the poor in the area, as well as on several local and regional sightseeing trips.

The following report about the second AidCamp, in August, was written by Reena, one of the volunteers:

"I saw the advert, researched the organisation on the World Wide Web (what a fantastic, appealing and fascinating organisation AidCamps International is) and just had to apply.

I've wanted to work on such an inspiring project for many years - finally that year has arrived. I can do this. I will do this. Will my application get accepted? It has got accepted! Am I excited? I am very excited, overjoyed and proud to be making such a difference to so many people. It just feels so surreal.

We were introduced to the SERVE staff and from then onwards I knew that we were in this together to create a special something for the children who deserve it the most. Arrival into the village was just so overwhelming; the welcome and smiles from the community left me speechless. A lump in my throat and tears of joy and happiness flowing like a river - I knew I had made the right decision.

We didn't need a morning call, Charlie the Cockerel was in charge of that! We set to work at 8am every day - the physical activities of plastering, mixing concrete, sieving sand and painting etc kept us all busy and some of us gained muscles! The singing and dancing amongst some of us motivated one another and ensured the adrenalin rush continued to flow.

But of course we could not have got through the 3 weeks of hard work without the builders watching us or shall I say laughing at us as we applied plaster to the walls but then for it to fall off and for us to start all over again - very amusing! The bond created between us volunteers and the builders was astonishing.

Weekends away enabled us to experience some of the culture in Sri Lanka. But being 'home' was the most valuable time well spent. The delicious food at 'home' and the sensational smell of dhal was an experience never to be forgotten! Sharing a home and life with so many people created an influential bond amongst us all.

Nothing could prepare us for a very tear-jerking opening ceremony. I cannot convey the feelings I felt when the ribbon had finally cut (goose bumps all over, tears of happiness and a secret smile). Did we really make this dream come true? We had completed the centre in 3 weeks! Who could have imagined that we would have completed it in 3 weeks!?

The speeches had left such a lump in my throat, how could something so special mean so much to me (to us)? It is because we made a dream come true. The transformation was breath taking. Standing back and looking at the end result was like sitting on the log and watching the sunset over the mountains.

It was an experience of a lifetime. You have to see it and do it to believe it - experience what I experienced and I promise you - you will never regret it."

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