Sri Lanka Tours With a Purpose – Classrooms in the Wild
Off the beaten track and into Classrooms in the Wild. Join Ayu in the Wild’s outreach initiative to educate rural children to become future conservationists. It’s about how these kids can play a major role in building a sustainable livelihood for themselves and the communities they live in. A visit to this rural village, packed with fun and games with these primary school kids is an experience our guests truly never forget! Nor do the kids.
Our initial efforts have paid off, and these Cricket and Soccer crazy barefoot kids have moved on from playing with deflated soccer balls and remnants of farm tools to playing cricket with actual bats and balls, while interacting with our guests have given them incredible confidence in using simple English words during their games.
Here’s how your tours helped give back to these rural kids in Sri Lanka as part of our 'Classrooms in the Wild' outreach initiative.
An Ayu in the Wild guide opened their eyes with fabulous insights into how important Elephants are to preserving habitats and how these amazingly intelligent animals must cohabitate with humans in rural Sri Lanka. It helped the kids understand the 'Human-Elephant' conflict that rages around their rural farmlands from a different point of view.
We believe travel is a truly life changing experience. Taking the kids on their first ever safari (although they live just a few miles away from the famous Minneriya National Park) made them realize the importance of conservation. That wilderness habitats are essential to keep elephants away from their parent’s farms. That, elephant babies need safe habitats to thrive.
The Gathering helped the kids understand the nuances of wild elephant behavior and how these National Parks with large herds of elephants can bring in incredible tourism revenue to the country only if the safaris are done in a responsible manner. We live in hope that someday these kids will also become strong advocates of banning elephant back safari rides which are promoted by many adults in their communities.
Many rural kids in Sri Lanka do not have access to good English education - and this stifles their future. With poor access to the internet, no access to English newspapers and a library that was broken into by rogue elephants, these kids stand very little chance of improving their English language skills. Initially these English classes were conducted by the Village Headman voluntarily, subsequently our guides have now taken over the task. This weekly lesson and your tours are the only chance for them to speak in English.
English books that our guests have so generously given have been a great teaching resource. If you ever join our tours - do please consider bringing English Language Teaching Resources (eg: flash cards etc). It would really help. Ayu in the Wild does not encourage any cash donations.
A touching gesture by one of our guest families, Jo and Chris Harrison, who went that extra mile to compile these beautiful photo books of their unforgettable times playing with the rural children. No doubt, the photo books will be leafed through by the entire village for years to come!
Thank you Jo and Chris!
The world is big and full of possibilities. Our latest endeavor is to show these kids the world beyond what they know, exposing them to more career opportunities.
Ayu in the Wild hosted a day of fun, inspiration and career guidance for these kids - partnering with the staff of Cinnamon Lodge Habarana to give the kids their first EVER glimpse inside a 5 star Hotel. The kids spent a day interacting with the Hotel's staff from Chef's to Naturalists to Service staff – some, from the vicinity of the kid’s village homes. The hands on experience into how a 5 star kitchen operates was the hit of the day - especially when they tasted their own pasta creation, learnt how to thicken a sauce and saw the wonderful potential of making chillie ice-cream! It truly inspired the kids to think beyond their farms and rural lifestyles and realise that they too could aspire to careers in the tourism industry - if only, they strove to improve their English language skills!
Someday, we hope these children can become advocates to help natural habitats survive, and influence more regulated and responsible tourism which will be the catalyst to sustainable livelihoods within their rural communities. The Junior Ranger Holidays are part of our efforts to raise funds for our goal.