Max Aichinger

MARIST niwasa Homework centre, kalpitiya, sri lanka

Max graduated from Marist College Canberra in 2014 and immediately set out on a two month volunteer experience in Sri Lanka. He is one month into his placement in the rural fishing village of Kalpitiya where he is living and working with Marist Brother Lal. Below Max recounts his experience thus far.

Max Aichinger.jpg

I have been assigned a selection of classes that I am teaching throughout the day with varying ages and schooling situations. In the mornings, I am teaching an English class for boys and girls aged 17-18 who are waiting for their O/Level results before being allowed to commence the next year of their schooling.

In the afternoon, after school finishes for the day, younger students aged anywhere from 7 to 14 come for English or Mathematics tutoring. Another class that I am teaching is for a group of boys in Grade 11 and aged 16-17. These boys are preparing for their upcoming O/Level Exams, an important stepping stone on the way to realising a dream of potential entry to university.

As sport plays a huge role in the day-to-day lives of the children of Kalpitiya and the rest of Sri Lanka, evenings have been spent playing cricket, football, volleyball with the locals, as well as exploring the region and going to the beach. Weekends have also been a great opportunity to explore, having visited some local villages and communities. Yesterday (Wednesday 4/2/15) was the Sri Lankan Independence. We arranged a daytrip the mountainous city of Kandy where we visited the Botanical Gardens, the very sacred Temple of the Tooth and then went for a walk through the city centre. Was a very good day.

So far this experience of working at the Marist Niwasa Homework Centre has opened my eyes to how valued and sought after the resource of education is. In a challenged society, where access to a good education is difficult, it is incredible to see the enthusiasm and passion of the kids to learn and realise their goal of university and break out of a life of fishing which strongly dominates the lifestyle of Kalpitiya. Having also had the opportunity to visit and experience the local schools, I have seen first-hand the challenges faced in this pursuit of education. The Marist Niwasa Homework Centre does some great work in offering these kids a great level of extra education that tremendously benefits the children and the hopes and dreams they have for their future.

Almost at the halfway mark of the experience, I look forward to what the next four weeks will bring.