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Source: Searching for Sanctuary Mahawilachchiya is a rural village on the border of Wilpattu National Park, the largest wildlife park in Sri Lanka, and is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape. It is also the home of Horizon Lanka Foundation (www.horizonlanka.org.) Being a rural village, farming is a main occupation for the villagers, who grow rice from their rice fields and fruits and vegetables such as pumpkins, breadfruit, mangoes, papayas, coconuts, jackfruit and more. The village is blessed with the cleanest air as it is out of the way of city pollution and has so much natural forestation- needless to say life in the village is healthy, organic and energizing. The villagers and their ancestors have been living in Mahawilachchiya and the adjoining villages for centuries and have a deep understanding and connection with the land. They are well practiced in the ways of hunter gathering and using wild plants in a medicinal way, and are more than happy to share their knowledge with visitors. Horizon Lanka Foundation is nestled in the heart of Mahawilachchiya, and is an after-school education program where children aged 4-16 come after school, on weekends and during school holidays. It was first set up 18 years ago by an ex schoolmaster who had a vision of connecting this remote village to the rest of the world via the use of computer technology. It was the first village in the country to have a computer, and today has about twenty. The school has equipped the young generation of this village with global understanding, IT and English skills. The education program has so far hosted 57 volunteers from around the world who have taught the students English, IT, songs, dances, and other aspects of their culture. It is important for the children to be exposed to life outside of their village as it allows their understanding and ambitions to grow. During your stay, should you choose to join us for a while, you will be housed and fed by a local family and be fully submersed in rural Sri Lanka’s culture. Alternatively, if you require more privacy and don’t want to stay with a family, we can offer you accommodation in a housed next to the school for an affordable price. The house has a kitchen, its own beautiful garden with a fire pit, and internet access through 3G to your smart phone and laptop. Activities that can be arranged while you’re here include elephant and bird watching, visits to Thanthirimale rock temples, trips to the beach and water reserves, fishing, and overnight stays in a treehouse. Playing games in the playground and going for bike rides with the kids are also fun and energising ways to spend your afternoons. So if you’re looking for a nature-filled, peaceful sanctuary and would like to have a positive impact on lives in this community, perhaps volunteering at Horizon Lanka Foundation is for you. Please contact us for more details, – Www.horizonlanka.org – Wasanta@horizonlanka.org –