Education Centre - Our Beginning
In October 2005, Narel and Alison Atkinson who are the founders of HelpKids Sri Lanka together with 2 local volunteers, started planning and designing an education centre where they could educate children living on the streets and in the slum areas in order to give them a better future and also to help their families improve their living situations.
In November 2005 they set out on the task of finding areas where children were lacking education and care. ‘Nugegoda’ a suburb of Colombo was the first area targeted. It didn’t take long before they were able to go to the ‘mothers’ of these children and offer their children an education and hope for their future. Many were happy that their children would get an education, better care and a better future. Others were a bit more reluctant as they needed their children with them to beg and earn a living.
By the 1st week in December 2005 they had enrolled 10 children from the streets. At this time they had also visited a slum area in ‘Rajagiriya’. There they found many children not going to Montessori or to school. They saw a great need and so started the enrollment procedure.
By the end of the 2nd week they had enrolled 15 children from Rajagiriya. They now had a total of 25 children to start in January 2006. Of those children 7 were for Catch Up Education, 17 Montessori and 1 for the Baby Room.
Each child was given a uniform, a school bag and a pair of shoes. All books and stationary were also provided for them. They has four dedicated staff members.
On the 9th of January 2006 they started the first day of school at the HelpKids Education Centre.