I came to know about the British Council in 1961 when I became a science undergraduate at the University of Ceylon, Colombo campus. Having lived in a village in Jaffna all my life I arrived in Colombo for the first time in my life and started living in cheap, affordable accommodation in Bambalapitya, where a quiet and undisturbed study facility was not available. British Council Library, then located in Galle Road, Colpetty, came to my rescue. I became a member and used their facilities from 1961 until my graduation in 1964.
A good library with a wide range of books, the library offered me a very good study atmosphere. Everything was orderly, clean and well organised. I had nothing but admiration for the British Council. It was a great asset for me.
I had no further interaction with the British Council until I came to London in 1965 when I re-established my contact with the British Council located at Portland Place and visited my British Council scholar friends staying nearby.
I recommended that we get the teachers trained by the British Council and I managed to persuade the Tamil Expatriate donors. We have already completed several programmes.
When I came to know that the British Council was going to open a branch in Jaffna, I became excited. I took part in the opening ceremony of the Jaffna Branch, a great asset to young people of Jaffna to get a wider intellectual and cultural exposure. It serves as a window to the outside world.
My broken relationship with the British Council started to redevelop and flourish again. I became a member of the Library and frequently visited the Centre. I remember designing and constructing some of the planters in the courtyard. This is my little footprint at the British Council! Every time I visit the Centre I cannot resist watching how the plants are doing!
My friend and I were working on a project to improve the teaching of English in Northern schools. After exploring many options, I recommended that we get the teachers trained by the British Council and I managed to persuade the Tamil Expatriate donors. We have already completed several programmes.
I used to be merely a user of the British Council facilities before. But now while being an outsider I am able to make things happen by teaming up with British Council and other stakeholders such as Tamil diaspora donors with the assistance of my friend Satchi, Northern Provincial Council’s Ministry of Education, schools and teachers. This is most satisfying indeed. Teamwork was the key to our success.