This CAS project is very close to my heart and I absolutely love doing this project. I have done this activity once before with the girls from emerging, the girls that we work with for service. These girls were the first batch that we worked with and every moment was special with them as we were able to immediately bond with them and create that connection with them and we are so grateful because in the past it has not always been the case, the girls would no be as open to the idea of being friends with strangers but over time it has become much easier and I think the new batches that come have heard about us from the past pupils and the house mother and the coordinator Ashani. Working with these girls is always such an experience because we learn from them and we teach them. These girls are extremely talented, passionate and they always give in their 100% and it so nice to their smiles when I walk into the canteen to get them before we start our work and the warm welcome that we get from them is an emotion that is hard to explain but working with these girls are something that I look forward to every Thursday afternoon.
I decided that I wanted to do wall climbing because the girls were very interested in climbing the wall when we took them on a tour around the school showing them all the facilities that we have and this was a good opportunity to talk to one another and get to know their names and where they come from and it was good way to get to know them and one of the girls told me “I promise I am going to climb all three walls even if it takes everything in me” and that really motivated me to make sure that this activity does happen.
However, every time that we wanted to do this activity something was going on in the gym or teachers were not available and it was just a mess so we put a pause on the wall climbing and we just did normal activities that we would usually do with them such as volleyball, teaching them to make juices and just sitting around and eating with them and just enjoying our time with them, but I continued to do the planning for this event because I wanted to make sure it was the best and these girls make a memory that they get to keep forever and they get to treasure it.
In my planning post, I spoke about this is a once in a lifetime opportunity as wall climbing is not something that is available everywhere in Sri Lanka. When I told the girls they were very excited to climb this wall.
On the day of the climbing
On the day of the climbing, it was also our last session with them, so it was something special for all us to be a part of. They were very enthusiastic when they were climbing and all the girls climbed the wall at least once and they enjoyed it very much. Before the session I had asked Mr. Duncan, Mr. Eric and Ms. Kamilla to come and help us out with the climbing as the kids are no longer allowed to belay or do wall climbing without supervisors. The teachers that came out to support the girls from emerging were very friendly and kind and the girls really appreciated their kindness and guidance when they were wall climbing.
Before we started Mr. Duncan demonstrated to them how to do a figure of 8 and did a small introduction to climbing and talked to them about safety and explained to them how we will be holding them down and how we will support them by belaying them from the ground. We explained to them how they are safe because we are holding them down here and the girls confided in our teachers and in Us and we let them climb the wall.
It was definitely amazing how well the girls did it. They are so fast and they so much strength and energy in them. Mr. Eric explained to them how your legs are the strongest, he said “use your legs” and the girls listen to him and they were successful and they loved it.
I explained to them that climbing this wall is like life. It is not easy, we always have to think before we take the next step and we have to be cautious and sometimes we will get stuck and we will not know what to do and then we will have friends and family that will help guide them to overcome to the obstacle and move onto the next step and make it to the top.
The girls supported one another to accomplish climbing this wall. They were helping each other and screaming and laughing and most importantly supporting one another to get to the top. These girls are very smart and like I said before they give in their 100%, some girls where very determined to do the third wall, the hardest wall. So, Mr. Eric set up the last wall and four girls climbed the last wall and it was amazing. There was one girl who watched exactly which stones the girl before she took on her way up and she did exactly that and I think she climbed that wall in about one minute and it was so amazing, Mr. Eric and I were so amazed and surprised how strong-willed and determined these girls were.
It made me very happy that all these girls got an opportunity of a lifetime and they all enjoyed every moment and when we went upstairs for a drink and some food, they thanked us and said thank you for the work that we are doing and thanked us for always making their Thursday afternoons fun and exciting and for giving them new adventures. We thanked them for being an amazing batch to work with and it was an emotional afternoon. But like all good things, the time we had with batch 8 came to an end and now on to other adventures with another batch that we can hopefully work with exactly as we did with this batch.
Although we only need to do one session, in order for the CAS project to be completed. I am hoping to do one more session with the girls. This is a very meaningful activity and I hope I can share this at least with one more group.
Overall, this CAS project has been successful and it has been amazing working with this batch. They were so talented and so passionate and kind and loving. I only hope that I get to see these girls in the future and I would love to see how successful they are going to be. We attended their graduation and we spent one last time together and saw all the wonderful things that they have learned over the course of that three months, now they move onto finding jobs and starting their lives over. I think that this last session for wall climbing was a good thing and I hope that it inspires them to never stop trying and even if it is hard sometimes, take a small break and start again and not give up is what I hope they have taken away from this lesson.