Responsible tourism

Sri Lanka tours with a purpose – Classrooms in the Wild

Off the beaten track and into Classrooms in the Wild. Join Ayu in the Wilds attempt 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 them and the communities they live in.


Kids enjoying a game of cricket with our guests

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.

Photo time! Kids from Singapore and the UK posing with rural kids

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.

Ayu in the Wild guides presentation on the importance of elephants

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.

Kids on safari to understand elephants and their behavior

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

Kids enjoying themselves on safari.

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. Except, during the weekly English class done by the Village Headman voluntarily and when interacting with foreign guests. A visit to a rural village, packed with fun and games with these primary school kids from the village, is an experience our guests truly never forget! Nor do the kids.

Guests playing games with the kids

English books that our guests have so generously given have been a great teaching resource to the voluntary teacher and to these adamant learners to explore the language. 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.

Guests helping the kids read and learn

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 photobooks will be leafed through by the entire village for years to come! Thank you Jo and Chris!

Photo book – an incredible gesture done by our guests as a gift to the rural school kids.

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.

Presentation by Cinnamon lodge on career options within the hotel

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!

Rural kids enjoying a game at the Hotel after an insider’s look into a 5 star Kitchen

“Classrooms in the Wild is just in it’s infancy! Yet, it’s been one of our most fulfilling achievements as owners of Ayu in the Wild. Each year, we try to inspire these rural kids with some unique experience that will give them a new perspective of our world”

Chamintha and Rajindra Jayasinghe
Owners – Ayu in the Wild


Rural kids  after their first ever 5 star experience hosted by Ayu in the Wild and supported by the staff of Cinnamon Lodge Habarana

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.



Join Ayu in the Wild Holidays on an experiential holiday, that truly gives back.

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply