Bandarawela Learning Center celebrates 1st Birthday!

A moment of silence before the big cake eating started
A moment of silence before the big cake eating started
The 1st Birthday celebration of our first learning center in Sri Lanka took place on June 17. Organized by Community Hero Sujitha Miranda, the entire BOOKBRIDGE team had the chance to join the ceremony – a big celebration with many students and parents from the community. We are very proud about the achievements, Sujitha and her staff have made so far in the community of Bandarawela. by Sujitha Miranda

BOOKBRIDGE Skills Learning Centre in Bandarawela celebrated its 1st birthday on 17th June from 10.30am onwards with the participation of the entire BOOKBRIDGE team members and the BOOKBRIDGE Foundation Board. Carsten, Rasheed, Monika, Jela, Ruth, Richard, Curdin & Noemie, Sokhan, Amar, Tunga and Sanha joined the occasion. Apart from the BOOKBRIDGE team, there was a large gathering from the community including many students, parents, teachers and prize winners of the library competition.

Sujitha and women from the community receiving visitors
Sujitha and women from the community receiving visitors
Since the humble beginning of the learning center on 9th June 2016, 178 students have walked through the center and three batches have completed their Career Guidance course and Spoken English course. To date, nearly 90 students following various courses here and the student-centered teaching methods indeed grooming them to well-fit the modern world. During the last year, the center groomed the personalities of many youngsters and they were able to settle in the jobs they were dreaming for.

The birthday celebration was planned for one week with various English camps and competitions. Among those the inter-school library competition was the highlight. 16 schools from Bandarawela zone participated under three age groups for Drawing, Reading, Hand writing, Dictation and story-telling competitions. 32 winners were awarded many valuable books and certificates on the birthday celebration day.

The BOOKBRIDGE team at the ceremony: Rasheed, Carsten, Sokhan, Monika and Sujitha
Shortly before the traditional oil lamp was lit: the BOOKBRIDGE team
178 students empowered in one year
The ceremony began with lighting the oil lamp being followed from singing the BOOKBRIDGE song. Abishanya, one of the Career guidance course students welcomed the gathering. The compeering part was done by Ann Sheron, another Career Guidance batch students partnering with Shashiru Amindi (student of Kids Spoken English batch). A colourful dance performed by the kids of Spoken English batch was delighted the BOOKBRIDGE team members.

Then, Carsten, founder of BOOKBRIDGE Foundation, expressed his feeling in a speech. He stated “we are very happy to join the very first birthday of the very first BOOKBRIDGE Learning Centre in Sri Lanka. This center personally means a lot to me because it’s not only the 1st learning center in Sri Lanka but also a great role model for all the other learning centers we have in Cambodia and Mongolia”. After the speech, Spoken English class student Rushil gifted Carsten a beautiful painting which showcased how BOOKBRIDGE supports students to connect to the world. This was a pleasant surprise for Carsten.

Tunga (center) hands over the certificate to one of the older participants
Tunga (center) hands over the certificate to one of the older participants
Winners of library competition awarded
The wonderful combined presentation by all the batch students to showcase their learning journey as a story was applauded by the gathering. The way they presented it in English proved their improvements. This was followed by the certificates distribution. Winners of the library competition and students completing their levels and courses at the learning center received certificates from the BOOKBRIDGE team members.

Then Community Hero Sujitha Miranda expressed her feelings in a short speech showing how proud she was of her students and learning center. The official programme was concluded with the vote of thanks by Prageeth – Student of Kids Spoken English Class.

The birthday celebrations began with the cake-cutting by Carsten and Sujitha joined by the entire BOOKBRIDGE team, Skills Learning Centre staff Satheesh and Kugasri, all the student and the parents. The members of GMP+3 program leading to the opening of the learning center joined the celebration via video call. The celebrations continued with singing and dancing.

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