The Projects Department was formed to recognize areas where the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association could provide support to raise the quality of life of the community and to provide the necessary awareness and knowledge to those who would be providing this support.


To find out about the Projects Department, how it works, its achievements and its future strategies.


Gather available information from Sri Lanka Girl Guides Headquarters

v  Interviews

  • Mrs. Sita Rajasuriya – Former Chief Commissioner,

Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association

  • Mrs. Venetia Gamage – First Chariman of the Projects Committee
  • Mrs. Mahiya Rafeek – Current Chairman of the Projects Committee
  • Miss. Priyanthi Rajapakse – Projects Executive

v  Visit site of a completed project and gather information.

v  Record all gathered information and present Project.





Girl Guiding in Sri Lanka began in 1917 during the colonial era. With the passage of time the country became independent and development programs were launched. Guiding became more service-oriented with the Founder’s principles becoming more and more meaningful.

The spirit of service promoted the guides to take a greater interest in a wider sphere, and community service became a very important aspect of guide life.

The earliest community development project was lead by the then Chief Commissioner, Mrs. Sita Rajasuriya when she worked with a team of guides in the late 1950s in the far off village of Manawa which was inhabited by members of a socially depressed community.

Guides in various parts of the island began looking around to extend help where needed. Within the city itself there were slum areas where children were uncared for and resorted to unruly behavior. They were even exposed to vice. Guides started getting them together and introduced disciplined games, sing-song and recreational activities for children of pre-school age.

One of the earliest projects undertaken in Colombo was the organization of play-centers for girls especially in the slum areas of Colombo North. These centers were well attended by girls of all ages in the neighborhood. This led the guides to coming into contact with the parents and their homes.

Service was extended to the prisons where Senior Leaders worked among long tern women prisoners. Weekly classes which included sewing and handicraft, kept the women gainfully occupied. Their interest was awakened in this self-help program since their products were sold and the money banked for them to use when they were released from jail.

During the Second World War Senior Leaders ran service canteens at Girl Guide Headquarters. Their work was well appreciated. The sphere of service developed further when after the World War Senior Guides manned the hospitals and helped at refugee camps during national emergencies such as floods, communal disturbances and epidemics. The program was extended to include work with the handicapped,

children’s hospitals and rural areas where “Grow More Food” campaigns were organized. Thus community development became an important aspect of the Senior Guides program.

In the course of time the extension of the community development program necessitated the organization of a Projects Department. The Chairman of the first such committee formed in 1976 was Mrs. Venetia Gamage and its Secretary Mrs. Kshamalee Weerakoon.

The work carried on in this field which is now island-wide attracted the attention of our sister Guides from abroad who had visited us on several occasions appreciating our service rendered in the field they have voluntarily extended their assistance to us in many ways to advance our programs. We are grateful to them all for their appreciation and help and always welcome their active participation in our projects of today.

With further development the services of a paid full time Projects Officer was necessary. An efficient worker for this position was available in the person of Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa who as a Senior Guide Leader had much experience in community development work. She is also a trained Montessori teacher and after further training in Pre-School activity was the Association’s first UN Volunteer to Indonesia where she served from 1981 – 1983. she started a pre school there and built up  a library of 6,000 books, which she handed over to the Government. She also embarked on a women’s program of lectures on Beauty Culture, Home Gardening, Cookery and Family-Planning conducted by experts in these fields.

Handling over these Projects to the authorities in Indonesia, she returned to Sri Lanka to take over Projects funded by UNICEF.

Her first Pre-school was opened at Kithulawala, a village in Kalutara, on the South-Western coast, with an assignment to train Pre-school teachers in and around the area, and also to carry out community development activities. There are presently 23 Pre-schools functioning island wide; a few others had to close down due to temporary handicaps. Through a medium of Mothers’ Clubs attached to most Pre-Schools, community development is carried out

Appreciation of these community development projects has resulted in assistance from voluntary organizations abroad.

The Association is grateful to SIDA and UNICEF who have helped the villages in regard to health and nutrition, water and sanitation, income-generation and literacy programs.

The Association also owes a debt of gratitude to UNICEF for the educational grant afforded to the Projects Officer to pursue a course in community, family health and childcare.


After nearly 25 years of existence the Projects Department has progressed from strength to strength. The Projects Department has helped to improve the quality of life of many impoverished communities. It serves as an eye opener to the Guides who learn about their community while serving it. The Projects Department today has several successfully completed projects to its credit. There are several on-going projects too, such as ‘Girl Child Program’ and the ‘Pregnant Mothers Program’.

Today we can proudly say the Sri Lanka is on the map of World Guiding because of these projects. Various Guide personnel from all over the world visit and volunteer to help in these projects. At the recent visit of the Asia Pacific Committee, its members were very impressed with our service to the community through the Projects Department.

The Structure Of the Projects Department

The Projects Department was formed to co-ordinate and supervise community development activities of selected areas.

The Projects Committee

The Projects Committee is the central body of the department. The head of the committee is its Chairman. The Chairman is elected by the Executive Committee. There are seven other members of whom the Chief Commissioner, the Deputy Chief Commissioner and the Treasurer of the Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association are ex-officio members. Two persons under the age of 35 years also serve in this Committee, this is a requirement of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts with a view to involving young persons in decision making. The Committee serves fro a period of three years. The Projects Committee is responsible.

The Project Executive

This office was formed in 1998 to obtain the services of a paid full time Projects Officer. The Projects Executive acts as a field officer. She does a lot of traveling on behalf of the Projects Chairman. She co-ordinates all projects done by the department. She visits the remote villages where the projects are being conducted and monitors their progress, gives advise and helps where there are difficulties.

Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa is our first Projects Executive and still functions in this capacity.

Girl Guide Project Leaders and Project Co-coordinators

They too play a vital role in carrying out a project. These officers serve in the various areas that are chosen for projects. They are trained by the Projects Committee to carry out the projects. They work with the villagers in these areas to improve the quality of life in the village.

In order to carry out these projects successfully the assistance of the local government officials such as doctors and education directors is necessary. They provide the knowledge and resources required for the success of each project. We are forever in debt to them for their service.

How Projects are Organized and carried out

The Projects Committee meets and decides on a project. It is then forwarded to the Executive Committee for approval. If approval is granted the Projects Committee briefs all the District Commissioners about the project. Then the District Commissioner select a village in their area suitable for the project and the Division Commissioners Guide Co-coordinators and Project Leaders are given training on how to carry out the  project in their respective villages. Then the Project Leaders go out into the villages and with the help of the Government Officials in that area and the village leaders they carry out these projects. The Projects Executive co-ordinates all projects. She travels to the areas where the projects are being carried out and monitor their progress. She also gives advice and help where necessary.

Funding for Projects

Funds for the various Projects

Funds for various projects are raised in many different ways. Sometimes variety entertainments and dramas are organized in aid of various projects. The Projects Committee submits a project proposal giving details of the project, of the amount of funds required to various interested organizations. Funds are also provided by non-government organizations such as UNICEF, and SIDA. Foreign Guides sometimes collect funds and donate it to the Association for projects. Our own Guides too have various fund raising programs.

How the Projects Department was Set- up

An International Planned Parenthood Federation World Conference was held in England in 1974. at this conference Mrs. Venetia Gamage represented Sri Lanka. The delegates were divided into small groups and workshops were held. At one such workshop Mrs. Gamage explained how they performed dramas and skits, which convey the benefits of a small family. The other delegates were very impressed and requested Mrs. Gamage to speak about this at a World Forum. At the end of her speech a lady in a saree approached her. She was Mrs. Laurel Cassinader, a member of the Westminister Branch of The International Alliance of Women, Sri Lanka, who was residing in London. She was very keen on helping the Guides with their community development projects.

Hence she traveled to Sri Lanka ands met and discussed with Mrs. Sita Rajasuriya, Mrs. M. Wijesinha and Mrs. F. Jilla. As a result the Projects Department was set up in 1976. it was first funded by The International Women’s Bureau. A Projects Committee was formed with Mrs. Gamage as its first Chairman. A Junior Committee was also formed to help the main Committee as well as train younger Guides.

The First Projects Committee

Chairman         :           Mrs. Venetia Gamage

Secretary         :           Mrs. Kshamalee Weerakoon

Members         :           Mrs. S. Rajasuriya

Mrs. N. Weerasinha

Mrs.N. N. D. Jilla

Mrs. Lakshmi Palliyaguru

Mrs. Ramya Abeykoon

Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa

The Projects Committee Chairmen

Mrs. Venetia Gamage             1976

Mrs. Ransirini Fernando

Mrs. Gangali Jayasekera

Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa         1990 – 1996

Mrs. Susila Jayawardena         1996 – 1998

Mrs.Mahiya Rafeek                1998 – 2001


Family Life Education and Community Development Program

This program was launched in 1976 and the Projects Department co-ordinates and supervised these development activities of selected villages both urban and rural through out the country.

The community service was carried out by a system of Girl Guide Project Leaders and co-ordinates assisted by village leaders.

The workers of this program are wholly voluntary. The program, which begins with the pre-school child, provides for the school goers, the adolescent and youth, then extends to the earlier generation – the mother and father, thus providing vocational guidance to a community in its entirety.

Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association

Family life Education and community Development Program

Project Sustained community development and family health education program in rural and semi urban areas of Sri Lanka.

Objectives Education in family life – all aspects of health and nutrition, sanitation, immunization, skills population awareness and recreation.

Improvement of the standard of living.

Encourage the need for training in skills and handicrafts using indigenous material available in the area, so that women could be gainfully occupied and augment family income.

Provide pre-school education. The number of pre-schools in the rural area is very limited thus this facility is very necessary.

Conduct classes in sewing, dressmaking, and cottage crafts etc. to absorb and instruct school dropouts.

Create an awareness of over population family wise, nation wise also a

perception of population explosion, which can effect economically, socially, physically and mentally.

Provide recreational facilities through games, drama and puppetry.

Encourage spiritual activities.

Duration Five years

Program Planned in two parts

Part I

Target villages were chosen throughout the island and two project leaders who were residents within each area were selected.

Lecturers, panel discussions, discussion groups and objective films and puppet shows on all aspects of community development, trained project leaders at an orientation workshop in May 1976.

Plan of action was formulated, each according to the social and cultural background of the area.

Part II

Trained leaders return to village and make a survey on; family size, population, economic conditions, educational facilities, special problems, environmental sanitation, available government facilities etc. in their respective areas.

The program is then discussed with the villages to help target villages achieve their goal. Rural development societies are formed with the participation of Medical Officers, Health Inspectors, Midwives, Government Agents, Guide Leaders and Village Leaders.

Leaders visit the areas every week they stay over if necessary. Soup kitchens are conducted with the idea of teaching mothers about nutritious food as provide the youngsters with a nutritious bowl of soup. Crafts are taught to the mothers and school leavers. Singsongs and games are conducted for the children.

In urban areas the leaders help with the school work and they also help to teach English.

Monthly reports on the progress of the areas are submitted to the Projects Committee.

The Chairman and her committee paid regular visits to the areas to provide guidance and encouragement.

Evaluation The orientation workshop held in 1976 was followed by an evaluation and follow-up seminar in February 1977.

Expansion      October 1977 : Workshop on ‘Community Development on a Wider Sphere’. This was conducted with the intention of transferring leadership and responsibility to the village leaders.

May 1978 : Seminar on achievements and shortcomings with emphasis on marketing the cottage crafts.

January 1979 : Residential in service seminar on Agricultural Aspects of Community Development held at the agricultural in service Training Institute at Gannoruwa.

May 1980 : Sixth workshop based on income generation and activities and skills.


& Results Improvement of Health : Due to the regular checkups and lectures each Project was equipped with a first aid box containing indigenous western medicine.

Improvements of Sanitation : construction of toilets. They were also taught how to keep wells clean and unpolluted.

Preschools : Entrance to primary school fared better due to nursery training.

Soup Kitchens: This provides a wholesome nutritious meal which is served to under tens and over sixties as well as pregnant and nursing mothers.

Vocational Education : A large number of libraries were set up to keep the young people gainfully occupied. They were also involved in making all types of handicraft, sewing and cookery.

Population Awareness and Family Planning : Mothers visit family planning clinics, seek advice and practice methods taught to them.

Neighborhood Programs : Inculcate a sense of loyalty and belonging to the village or area.

Spiritual Activities : Most activities are conducted in the village temple / church, which will increase the relationship between religion ans village.

Self-Sufficient of the Village : Income generating activities have resulted in mothers being self employed, there by achieving economic independence and social uplifting of the entire village.

Fifth Year :    The year 1981 commenced with the distribution of school uniform material to the target areas. This activity was undertaken with the assistance of the Foster Children’s Fund. White poplin material was given to  the girls in each area and blue material to the boys.

Distribution of Hampers

Distribution of hampers for the Sinhala and Hindu New Year. Each package contained the following list of items. They were to the value of Rs.150 to Rs.200.

Item Quantity

1.  Rice                                                2 kilos

2.  Green Gram                                   1 kilo

3.  Chilies’                                           2 kilos

4.  Tea Leaves                                     2 packets

5.  Cowpea                                          1 kilo

6.  Lakspray                                        1 packet

7.  Sugar                                              2. kilos

8.  Exercise Books                              1 dozen

9.  Pencils                                                 6

Women’s Development Workshop

The Projects Department organized a one-day workshop on women’s development. The participants were mothers from the different project areas. The workshop was held in their own villages with three individuals participating from each project area.

Income Generation and Associated Activities

The Projects Department concentrates on training adults and children for income generating activities. With this in view the Projects Department held a three-day workshop for Project Leaders and Coordinators. The main objective of this training program which was held in August 1981 was training of leaders in project formulation and implementation. Project Leaders who had participated in workshops both in Sri Lanka and abroad participated in this workshop and shared their experiences. Ten project areas where represented by thirty delegates at this workshop.

Tour Colombo

The highlight of the year 1982 was the tour of Colombo for underprivileged children. 12 project areas, 273 children and 65 adults participated in this tour,

1983 28h – 30th June Seminar for Project Leaders

1984 Training Course for Project Leaders and Coordinators on Social development. The Girl Guide Association in collaboration with the UNDP/UNV organized it. It was held from the 1st – 3rd of June. An evaluation of projects was also conducted.


It is said that the greatest wealth is good health. If people were often kow well it would find it very difficult to get on with the daily routine. In most rural areas in Sri Lanka many people are still ignorant about even the most basic health precautions. As a result many out breaks of preventable diseases are common.

It is with the hope of enlightening these villages that the Primary Health Care Project was starts. Through this Project the villagers are taught basic health habits so that the spread of disease is minimum. There are also taught about nutrition, how to obtain nutritious food, how to choose nutritious food etc. The importance of cleanliness at home as well as the entire village is also stressed.

This project started in 1990 and continued will 1996. training programs were held for District Commissioners and Village Leaders so that they were able to carry out the project in needy villages in their own divisions.

The British Girl Guides and UNICEF funded this project.

Sri Lanka Primary Health Care Program


Sessions of Pre School Teachers Training

The teachers were contacted through the Public Health Inspector of Mawanella. 22 women over 18 years of age participated. The course was developed by the Children’s Secretariat. Healthcare, income generating skills and leadership training was conducted. This was started in 1994.

Date                                        Participants

16th – 25th Jan. 1994                                        22

June – July 1995                                             15

10th – 14th Dec. 1995                                       12


With the help of SIDA goats were distributed through pre-school to 89 families in the Ruwanpura Village.

Education and Child Care

20 children (12 girls and 8 boys) between the ages of 3 – 5 were taught play activities, personal cleanliness and correct sanitary habits. Each child also started a savings account.

Health Program for Children

The children were given nutritious midday meals. Their physical growth was monitored . They were also taken to the local dental clinic and treated for minor ailments.

Health Education for Older Children

20 children between 8 – 13 years were taught health on Thursdays.

Community Health

Health Clinics

Three health clinics were set up and posters were put up in 5 villages requesting villagers to attend. Children under the age were mostly treated.


Between January and February 1994 20 latrines were built with the assistance of the Public Health Nurse. The Girl Guide Association paid for the mason’s services as well as for the bricks and cement.


Between July and December 1994 two demonstration wells were built.

Women’s Organizations

A women’s organization was formed between January and December 1993 and  still functions today. 29 – 30 women meet every other week with a health educator and discuss various topics on health and family life. They take turns to prepare nutritious midday meals for the pre-school children. Savings programs have also been organized and they have been leaned small sums of money.

Women’s Health Program

Once a month a seminar is held for the women with the participation of the District Medical Officer to discuss  their health problems.

Income-generating skills

Mosquito Net sewing

This was started between August 94 to December 95 and is still done. Two sewing machines were bought. Fourteen women over the age of 16 participated in sewing sessions every Monday afternoon. They also produce children’s clothes, shorts, sheets and pillowcases.

Agriculture January 94 – December 95 ongoing

Mushooms : Mushrooms are grown in small huts built in the front yards of the pre-schools. 15 women over the age of 18 years tend to these mushrooms every Thursdays and Saturdays.

Coconut Trees : Highbred seedlings were distributed among the villagers. Two

workshops on coconut plantation were also organized.

Date Participants

9th July                                                 25

23rd October                                        25

Poultry Farming : A representative from the Department of Animal Husbandry on an invitation from the Girl Guide Association introduced poultry farming methods to women of 8 families. This was conducted in 1995

Weaving (January 94 – December 95) : A six-month training course was conducted and at the end of the training employment was obtained for those who participated at eh district weaving centre.




8.00 am                       –           Meditation

8.30 am – 10.30 am     –           Program for the Day

10.30 am – 10.45 am   –           Tea Break

10.45 am – 12.30 pm  –           Program for the Day

12.30 pm – 2.00 pm    –           Lunch

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm      –           Program for the Day

3.30 pm – 3.45pm       –           Tea Time

3.45 pm – 6.00 pm      –           Program for the Day

6.00 pm – 8.00 pm      –           Leisure Time

8.00 pm – 9.30 pm      –           Demonstrating what they learnt through drama

Daily Programs

Day I

10.45 am – 12.30pm   –           Evaluation of past projects

2.00 pm – 6.00 pm      –           Submitting Reports

Day II

8.30 am – 9.00 am       –           An introduction on Primary Health Care

9.30 am – 10.15 am     –           Water Safety

10.30 am – 12.30pm   –           Sanitation

2.00 pm – 2.30 pm      –           Film Show

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm      –           Problems Concerning Sanitation

3.45 pm – 5.00 pm      –           The Environment

5.00 pm – 6.00 pm      –           Discussion on the Environment


8.00 am – 10.00 am     –           Nutrition

10.15 am – 12.30pm   –           Home Gardening and Plants

2.00 pm – 2.30 pm      –           Film and Nutrition

2.30 pm – 3.30pm       –           Discussion on Nutrition

3.45 pm – 6.00 pm      –           Discussion on Self Employment

8.00 pm – 10.30 pm    –           How to Conduct the Project in the Village


8.30 am – 10.00 am    –           How To Be A Good Leader

10.15 am – 12.30 pm  –           Communication and Team Work

2.00 pm – 2.30 pm      –           Video on Health Education

3.45 pm – 5.30pm       –           Discussion on Health Education

5.30 pm – 6.00 pm      –           Keeping Progress Books

8.00 pm  – 10.00pm     –           Primary Health Care – Games & Songs


8.30 am – 10.00 am     –           How to join the community

10.15 am – 11.30 am   –           Public Relations

11.30 am – 12.30 pm  –           Discussion

2.00 pm – 3.30 pm      –           The Importance of Joining the Community

4.30 pm                       –           End Program



Collecting five rupees from each guide and adult leader raised funds for this project. A government grant of Rs.100,000/- was also received.

Nawandala was the village selected for the project. Women and children participated in this seminar.

Age Groups

Women – 20 -25 years

Children – 21- 26 years

Youth (dropouts) – 15 – 20 years

The main aspect of the projects were

  • To improve the existing pre-schools
  • Conduct nutrition programs for mothers and mothers to be
  • Improve sanitation facilities of the village
  • Conduct film shows on health activities
  • Conduct  a library


From 1976 – 1978 Koelmayer was our Ambassador in Sweden. She took with her a large amount of Batiks and Elephants, which were sold at a very high price. These funds were donated to Projects. Mrs. Mahiya Rafeek and Mrs. Venetia Gamage visited a camp at Ydre Sweden and traveled all around the country. They too sold a lot of Sri Lankan handicraft. These funds were used to help school dropouts and for providing health education.



During her tour of Sweden Mrs. Gamage was asked what she would do if more funds were provided. At once Mrs. Gamage said that they would build a training centre. The Swedish Guides and Scouts collected a vast amount of funds for this project . but unfortunately  a suitable block of land was not to be found. It took eight years to finally find a block of land. Although an ideal portion of land was found due to political reasons the Association was unable to obtain it. However Mrs. Swineetha Jayasuriya located a block of land in Ganemulla, Kadawathe that was obtained on 33 year lease. Construction started in 1985.

Adjoining the Training Centre 10 houses were built to commemorate the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, which was celebrated in 1987. The houses were built as 5 twin cottages. The housing scheme was named Balahakshikagama.

The Commissioner for the handicapped Branch Mrs. Cynthy Mellaratchchi died. Her relatives wanted to donate a house in her memory. This house was called Cynthy Cottage. A blind woman lives in this cottage.

During this time Mrs. Marlyn Dissanayake’s husband was the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Egypt. The Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo raised funds by selling Lankan handicraft for another cottage. Mrs. Dissanayake wanted the occupant to be policeman injured in the battle. The Police Welfare Society selected a suitable candidate. The policeman died after several months, his wife and children still live in the cottage.

Each district was requested to raise funds to build the rest of the houses. Galle, Kandy and Colombo were able to raise funds for one house each.

The other districts joined together and built the rest of the houses.

The houses were distributed among homeless people from all ethnic groups and religions.


Between 1986 and 1987 a group of 28 volunteer Guides and Guiders who were doctors and teachers worked under the Water Decade Program. This was done in collaboration with UNICEF. Bulathsinhala was the starting point of the Project.

In 1993 U. K. volunteer Guides served at Mawanellla, each group comprising 2 Guides stayed for about 2 – 6 months.


Guiding helps not only to help people but also the clergy as well. In 1999 Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa held a basic training for bikkhunis at the Parama Dhamma Chethiya Pirivena. This was aimed at discussing various problems faced by Bikkhunis.




Pre-school lay the foundation of a child’s education. It is through the pre-school that a child first experiences the joy of learning. A child’s first step away from the safety of his/her home into the outside world is through his pre-school/ pre-school education is very important but many rural areas in Sri Lanka lack this facility due to poverty as well as due to the parent’s ignorance. It is with the hope of filling this void that the projects department embarked on this project. Pre-schools are ideal to enter a village for social service. Through the small children we can draw the attention of their mothers and the entire village.

Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa served in a UNDP program in Indonesia. As part of her service she started a preschool. When she returned to Sri Lanka she was requested to take the initiative in opening pre-schools throughout the country and also to train pre-school teachers. Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa started her project in Kithulawala. She stayed there for two years, training pre-school teachers and opening pre-schools. She returned to Colombo as the pre-school trainer and coordinator. Ms. Rajapaksa traveled all across the island, opening pre-school and training teachers. It was her determination, which was the driving force behind the success of this project.

1976                                                        the first pre-school was opened in connection with the Kolonnawa Project

1983                           Four  pre-schools started in Colombo, Mawanela, Kalutara and


Savings started for pre-school children at Kalutara bank.

1984                            There are now 22 pre-schools in existence run and supervised by the Girl Guide Association.

The first ever pre-school teacher’s training conducted at Kithulawala in Kalutara by one of our Guide officials. It was conducted for three months. At these training the teachers are taught how to conduct a pre school and also they are given lessons on income generation, social grace and table etiquette. Everything from how to dress and how to walk are taught. At the end of the pre-school training the teachers organized as exhibition for the public. Initially they planned to have it for half a day but the public response was so overwhelming that they decided to have it for three days. Many pre-school teachers visited the exhibition. Chairman of the Asia Pacific Committee Dr. Perrin Baker was presented the closing ceremony.

Seven pre-schools were there after opened in the District. These seven pre-schools have each formed a mothers’ group, which cooperates to further the progress of the school. The teachers of these schools meet monthly to discuss problems and organize lectures and other activities for improving the pre-schools. The Guide Commissioner of the District chairs the meeting.

1984 8th – 12th Dec     Pre-school teachers training. There were 32 participants.

1985 17th – 21st Nov   Pre-school teachers and project leaders workshop. Theme : Today’s Mother Tomorrow’s Mother. There were 58 participants. This workshop was based on Primary Health Care. There were distinguished visitors on the 3rd day, the German Ambassador, a German Minister, a team of UNICEF officials and members of the film unit.

1986 2nd – 6th Feb        Pre-school teachers five day training.

1986 7th – 9th Nov       Refresher course for Pre-school teachers.

1987 January               The pre-school coordinator. Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa was selected by the Children’s Secretariat to participate in the International training program on Young Children, which was held in India for three months. UNICEF sponsored it.

1987 6th – 7th July        Pre-school teachers’ training sponsored by the Children’s Secretariat. The participants included those chosen by the Children’s Secretariat from rural areas as well as our pre-school teachers. In all there were 40 participants

1987 7th -12th July       UNICEF sponsored a second training. However this was only for our Pre-school teachers and their assistants.

1987 August               Received equipment for training and also lay materials for 22 pre-schools from the U.K. Save the Children Fund.

1987 22nd September   The U.K. Save the Children Fund donated water filters to 22 pre-schools.

1988                                                    Daycare centers were started in the pre-schools with Swedish aid.

5th – 9th May : Pre-school teachers’ training.

1990 30th – 8th Feb      Pre-school teachers training

1993 20th – 30th April  Pre-school teacher’s training organized by the National Development Authority, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer and Japan International Cooperation Agency. It was held at Girl Guide Headquarters and was conducted by Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa

1984 16th -25th Jan       Pre-school teacher’s training  held at Mawanella.

Many of the pre-schools started by the Girl Guide Association have been handed over to the respective village. The projects department however keeps close contacts with the pre-schools and monitors their progress. There is a Pre-School and Day care centre at Girl Guide Headquarters and at the Mawanella training centre which are run by the Girl Guide Association. The pre-school at Headquarters is temporarily closed due to renovations to the Headquarters buildings.

Pre-School Training Syllabus

  1. Why do  we have Pre-Schools
  2. Aim of a Pre-School
  3. Character Building
  4. Mind and Knowledge Development
  5. Language Development
  6. Story Telling
  7. Concept of Numbers
  8. Concept of Colors
  9. Behavior of Animals
  10. Life of Plants
  11. Identification of Objects
  12. Listening and Sounds
  13. Identification of Objects    ?????
  14. Free play Activities
  15. Formation of Letters
  16. Singing and Role-Play Activities
  17. Art
  18. Handicraft
  19. Song and Dancing
  20. Play-let and Puppetry
  21. Outdoor and Indoor Activities
  22. Games
  23. Health – First Aid, Primary Health Care and Nutrition
  24. Etiquette and Public relations
  25. How to Approach the Community
  26. Personality Profile
  27. Reporting System
  28. How to Function a Mothers’ Club
  29. Saving Starts from the Pre-School
  30. How to Organize and Train Mothers and their Children to collect money for their savings and Bank Books.

A Pre-School Teachers’ Training Program

Pre-School Teachers’ Training

30th January 1190 – 8th February, 1990


Basic Routine

5.00 am                             –           Wake up

5.00 am –     5.30 am                     Religious Observations

5.30 am –     6.30 am                     Wash up

6.30 am –     7.00 am                     Exercise

7.00 am –     8.00 am                     Breakfast

8.00 am –   10.00 am         –           Special Program for the Day

10.00 am – 10.15 am         –           Tea

10.15 am – 12.30 pm        –           Program for the Day (coned)

12.00 pm –  2.00 pm         –           Lunch Break

2.00 pm –    3.00 pm         –           Program for the Day

3.00 pm –    3.15 pm         –           Tea

3.15 pm –    4.30 pm         –           Program for the Day

4.30 pm –    7.00 pm         –           Leisure Time

7.00 pm –    7.30 pm         –           Dinner

7.30 pm –    9.00 pm         –           Program for the Day

10.00 pm                           –           Bed Time

Program Schedule

30th January, 1990

10.00 am  – 10.30 am        –           The tender age and its importance

10.30 am – 12.30 pm        –           Evaluation of Pre-Schools

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm            –           Evaluation and Nursery Rhymes

3.15 pm – 4.00 pm            –           The Responsibilities of a Pre-School Teacher

7.30 pm – 9.30 pm            –           Handicraft

31st January, 1990

8.30 am  – 10.00 am          –           The necessities of a child

10.15 am – 13.30 pm        –           Diseases that effect children

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm            –           Nursery Rhymes

3.15 pm – 4.30 pm            –           Teaching Shapes, Colors and Sounds

1st February, 1990

8.30 am – 10.00 am           –           Language Development

10.00 am – 12.30 pm        –           The Objective of Storey Telling

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm            –           Drama and Music

3.15 pm – 4.30 pm            –           Drama and Music

8.00 pm – 9.00 pm            –           Making puppets out of socks

2nd February, 1990

8.30 am – 10.00 am

10.15 am – 12.30 pm        –           Listening and Games

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm            –           Music

3.15 pm – 5.00 pm            –           First Aid and Immunization

7.45 pm – 9.30 pm            –           Art and Craft

3rd February, 1990

8.30 am – 10.00 am           –           Mathematical Concept

10.15 am – 12.30 pm        –           Making Instruments relevant to the previously

discussed topic

2.00 pm – 2.30 pm            –           Nursery Rhymes

2.30 pm – 3.15 pm            –           Film Show

3.15 pm – 4.15 pm            –           Reading and Writing

4.30 pm – 6.30 pm            –           Making instruments relevant to the previously

discussed topic

7.45 pm – 9.30 pm            –           Completing instruments and getting a practical

knowledge about them

4th February, 1990

Leisure Day, Trainees may do as they wish

5th February, 1990

8.30 am – 12.30 pm                – Gaining practical knowledge on how to run a Pre-school

2.30 pm  – 5.00 pm                  –  Demonstrating practically what they learnt

8.00 pm – 9.00 pm                  –  First Aid (practical demonstration)

6th February, 1990

8.30 am – 12.30 pm                –  Gaining practical knowledge on how to run a Preschool

2.30 pm – 5.00 pm                  –  Demonstrating practically what they learnt

7.45 pm  – 9.30 pm                  –  Completing handicraft for exhibition

7th February, 1990

8.30 am – 12.30 pm                –           Nutrition of a child

2.00 pm – 6.00 pm                  –           Opening exhibition

6.00 m – 7.00 pm                    –           Discussing the importance of the exhibit

8th February, 1990

8.30 am – 12.30 pm                –           Discussion of Training Program



Heenatipona is a small village situated close to Mawanella, a town situated on the Kandy road. It is very remote and not easily accessible. The Association’s second training center was constructed here with the hope of uplifting the quality of life in the community as well as to provide a unique opportunity for our Guides to get an insight of a remote village.

Sister Ranawela donated the land for the training centre. The Swedish Girl Guides donated funds for construction of the training center. Construction began in 1955. equipment for Mawanella was obtained with the assistance of UNICEF in 1993.

The Girl Guides have carried out many projects to uplift the quality of life in the community. Foreign Guides who visit the Center are very impressed with the development work carried out here. Some foreign Guides stay at Mawanella for several months and help with the projects that are been carried out.


Seminars on Oral Rehydration Therapy have been held in a number of areas throughout the country. These seminars were held for young girls, Guides and Scouts. They were conducted with the aid of UNICEF. Some of the districts in which these seminars were held in Kandy, Tangalle, Badulla, Bandarawela, Adaulpatha, Mawanella, Hambantota and Gampola. Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association was presented with an award by the Women’s Bureau for this project.


This project was started in 1995 with the aid of UNICEF. A series of seminars and workshops on how to defend oneself from the evils of society were held for young girls and Guides. Self-defense was also taught. UNICEF supplied the needed resources. Doctors, Education Directors and Girl Guide officials conducted these seminars. This is an on going project. If a District Commissioner sees the need for having such a seminar she can inform the Projects Department and they will help he to conduct the seminar.




The Projects Department conducts seminars for pregnant mothers with the hope of gearing them with the knowledge for a safe pregnancy and motherhood. The seminars are conducted by doctors and Guide Officials. Nutrition, good health and safety are main topics discussed at these seminars. This is an on-going project.


Mrs. Sita Rajasuriya is one of our first Sri Lankan Chief Commissioners. She lead small groups of Guides to socially depressed communities in far off villages such as Manawa at a time when girls did not venture far from home without their parents. The service extended to these communities by Mrs. Rajasuriya and her Guides laid the foundation for the setting up a Project Department.

Mrs. Rajasuriya now serves as an adviser to the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association. Although now in her eighties she still extends her service to the community through the Sarvodaya Movement. With a kind smile and a twinkle in her eye she is now seated in front of me ready to recall those far off days at Manawa.

Q. How was the background to set up the Projects Department created ?

A. In the Girl Guides Association first we did not have projects only programs in different areas. But projects are a different matter. It is more advanced, more positive. We wanted to have something more concrete. That is how the Projects Department came into being. Doing projects was an eye opener for the members. It was a new aspect of development. For example it broadened the whole concept of Girl Guiding. Foreign Guides like to visit places like Mawanella when they hear about the projects we do.

Q. What was the man objectives in starting the Projects Department?

A. Well we wanted to widen the horizons of guiding and also to have good relations with the public.

Q. How does the Projects Department function?

A. First the Chairman and her committee plan the project, then they discuss with the commissioners. All members are involved in promoting matter involved with the project.


Mrs. Venetia Gamage took a lead to create the Projects Department. She was the Projects Committee’s first Chairman. She believed that the ultimate satisfaction in  a person’s life is gained by serving others. She is one of the founders of the Projects Department.

She is now an Advisor to the Girl Guide Association and is still involved in various Projects in various spheres.

Q. Why did you choose to extend your services to the Projects Department instead of another branch in Guiding?

A. Because it is guiding in reality. You receive so much satisfaction by doing these projects. No one can tell you the feeling, you have to experience it by yourself. And you must always enjoy what you are doing. I enjoy doing projects that is why I chose to be in that field.

Q. How was the background set to start to Projects Department?

A. I always believed it was Mrs. Rajasuriya who laid the foundation for the Projects Department. She took us to places like Manawa for community development. We learnt to work with the people in the community. That is how th background was set to create a Projects Department.

Q. When was the Projects Department Started?

A. In 1976

Q. What was the objective of starting the Projects Department?

A. To serve the community in a very positive way.

Q. How did the Projects Committee function when you were Chairman?

A. When I was Chairman apart from the main committee I had a Youth Committee, which worked with the main committee. This provided the young guides with a good training.

Q. What is the biggest challenge you think the Projects Department faces today?

A. The biggest challenge I suppose was to complete each project successfully.

Q. Can you recall some memorable moments you had during the time you were involved in Projects?

A. Going to Manawa with Mrs. Rajasuriya. Those days people like Indika Goonawardana and Gamini Fonseka used to come and help us too. Then there were the Saukyadana camps at places such as Sri Padya, those too were memorable moments.

Q. What do you fell about the future of the Projects Department?

A. Senior Guides should take on a more active role. Then I feel that Projects will have a good future.

Q. What were the challenges you had to face while doing projects?

A. Mostly trying to convince the public. We have to show something positive in order to get their help. Because without the help of the public how can we do a project? We have to show good results. If we are able to do all these things, then I believe we have met the challenge.

Q. Can you share with us some of the memorable moments you had while doing projects?

A. Seeing the happy faces of the people we helped. (twinkle in the eyes.) How happy they are. Those I think are my most memorable moments. (smiles)

Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge the Projects Department faces today?

A. Everything is  a challenge. We have to keep up the good work because if we fail how can we go to the people for help?

Q. From the beginning to the present how do you see the progress of the Projects Department? Are you satisfied?

A. It is a very useful thing. Continuity is very important though. You learn by doing. It helps to build your character, which is very useful.

Q. What do you think of the future of the Projects Department?

A. There is always a chance. You have to choose a project carefully, then you must have a good team, then they must be properly briefed because you are going to an unknown place. You should do small projects. Continuity is very important. If we can continue like this I think the Projects Department will have a very good future. (smiles)


Mrs. Rafeek has been involved in Projects since she was a Senior Guide, under the guidance of Mrs. Venetia Gamage. She is the current Chairman of the Projects Committee. Mrs. Rafeek is a very busy lady, but feels that if you are a Guide you must find time to help others. I managed to grab a moment of this busy lady’s time.

Q. How did you first get involved in the Projects Department?

A. We started as 3rd Colombo with Mrs. Venetia Gamage. We had a project at St. John’s College, Dematagoda, helping a Year 6 class. They had no food. Their parents were involved in anti social activities. So we had to help them.

Q. How long have you been involved in Guiding?

A. Um…. Sine 1973

Q. Why did you choose to serve in the Projects Department instead of another branch?

A. Because I believe it is the best way to serve the community.

Q. Describe the various tasks ad duties you have performed as the Project Chairman

A. Co-ordinate all projects and programs. Report to the Executive Committee. Work with other NGO and donor agencies like UNICEF. Currently have two programs with INICEF “The Girl Child Program” and the “Nutrition Awareness Program” for mothers and children. Then we have to manage the Heenatipona Vocational Training Center. We also assist other departments in major Projects undertaken.

Q. When did you become the Projects Committee Chairman?

A. In 1998. I served for three years.

Q. What do you find the most challenging as the Projects Committee Chairman?

A. Seeing that all the programs are done to the best.

Q. Do you travel a lot?

A. Not very often. The Projects Executive does most of the traveling

Q. What do you feel about the Projects Department ?

A. We can do a lot more but we need more leaders to co-ordinate more Projects. I believe that is the Senior Guides help us we can accomplish a lot more.

Q. What do you think of the future of the Projects Department?

A. Because of Project activities Girl Guides are on the map. It is because of Projects that we have been able to do so many development programs. So I think the future of Projects is very good.

Q. You seem to be a busy lady how do you manage your time?

A. It’s  very tough. But I feel that if you are a Guide you have to find time. I devote the weekends to Projects.





Ms. Priyanthi Rajapaksa’s contribution to the Projects Department cannot be described in word. She was the driving force behind most of the Projects that have been carried out by the Projects Department. She has dedicated most of her life to the Projects Department and still serves in the capacity of Projects Executive. She served as the Projects Committee Chairman from 1190-1996.

Q. How did you first get involved in Projects?

A. As a Senior Guide my Captain was Mrs. Sheila Pereira and once a week we worked in a small village. We had to make the children enjoy life. First we sang songs with them and then we taught them handicraft. This was carried out for one year. After that we used to do little, little service projects.

When Mrs. Venetia Gamage took over our company, she taught at a boys’ school in Dematagoda, there she found boys who were from Vanathamulla. They were not up to the standard of the other children in the school, and their parents were named as criminals, as most of them were in prison. So we had to change their life styles by conducting various activates to make them interested to come for the class where we

Taught handy crafts ,school lessons how to write, and at the end we sing with them.

We conducted these classes on Saturday and end up by giving them a nourishing cup of soup. That is how I got involved in Projects

Q. How long have you served in the Projects Department

A. The Projects Department was formed in 1976, but I have been involved in projects   from 1970.

Why did you choose to serve in the Projects Department?

I was studying in a Convent. There I found two girls who came to school without    Any food. They were two sisters. They were shabbily dressed. Feeling sorry for    them I used to give them my sandwiches .Those days we used to have school even during the afternoons. On  alternative days I take each girl home for lunch.. My parents did not mind,. but one day I lent my rain coat. It was returned after few days. to my dismay, I found out that it was torn, but they never told me, it was folded nicely and given to me. From that day on wards my parents did not allow me to bring them home, But I took extra sandwiches for them.

So from the early days of my life I was interested in helping others..

My captain Mrs. Venetia Gamage was the one who gave me the opportunity to develop my skills as she knew my ability of getting things done by talking to people.

Guiding was my eye opener. I was brought up in a strict background, but Mrs Gamage gave me the opportunity to go out into the wider world. This is why I chose to serve in the projects Department.

Q. How long have you been involved in Guiding?

A. Since 1969.

Q  When did you become the Projects executive?

A. In 1998.

Q. What do you find the most challenging as the Projects executive?

A. There is not much challenge anymore, so in away it is sad


. Do you get to travel a lot?

.A Only up to Mawenalle now. But I have travelled all over the country for various projects.

Q. What do you feel about the Projects Department?

A. It is a great opportunity to help the unprivileged community but if you do it properly.

Anything you do to help others is a Project that is what I think.

Q Again I like to repeat if it is done properly projects will have a Good future in the




As Captain of the Senior Guide Company (then Rangers) 3 rd Colombo we were working on  a project with the shanty community residing on the canal bank.

At one stage the women and young girls of the community came to my home (I live in the vicinity) and pleaded with me to please help them as the boys – teenagers were involved with taking drugs and creating problems as they were robbing things from their own homes and the homes of neighbors, to purchase drugs.

This led to my contacting the Dangerous Drugs Control Board and with their advice and mainly that of Prof. Nandadasa  Kodagoda who was well versed on the subject. It meant a lot of organization. Having contacted the parents, temple nearby and the Principal of the school (next to the temple). The toughest was to get the approval of the members of the Executive Committee of the Girl Guides Association. As the parents of the Rangers of my company knew me very well they had no objection.

We held three two week residential camps at Wellawatte and two at Piliyandala temple premises. The camps were in Girl Guide style with inmates divided into health, cooks, camp patrols. The boys were kept fully occupied with games and campfires in the evenings. As this was a novel idea, this effort used as a model in Sri Lanka and spoken of by Prof. Kodagoda at International Conferences abroad. We had special days where parents and visitors participated.

We were taken by surprise when Mrs. Sheila Perira had collected the data, officials of the Police, Drug Control Board and submitted the report to the World Board of the World Bureau of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. This resulted in the 3rd Colombo Rangers being awarded the prestigious Olave Award at the 1987 World Conference.




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