The Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime is sponsoring – as International Partner – a Global Grant for helping preschool teachers in Rural Sri Lanka to get them the needed education that will lead to a diploma in early childhood education.

We are proud to have been asked to take the lead on this project for the last six years, and are working closely with past district governor Dharshan John (Sri Lanka D-3220) and Colombo East as the Host Club.

Since the project start, D-5240 together with three other districts has helped and supported more than 5,000 teachers with a total budget of $555,000. This will benefit 100,000 children annually.
We learned that this project has now become the biggest and most important Rotary project in the Sri Lankan history.


The Sri Lankan Civil War was an ongoing armed conflict that lasted for over 25 years. The war caused significant hardships for the population, environment and the economy. The war ended in 2009. The vast majority of the fighting took place in the North and the East Coast.

On top of that, the country was also hit by the devastating Tsunami in 2004 killing more than 35,000 people and leaving many more homeless. This is why poverty is more obvious in the Eastern part of the country and the most help is needed.

Being part of this project and building bridges between the West and the East coast makes us feel like peace builders.


Sri Lanka is located in South East Asia, south of India. Sri Lanka has typically a tropical climate and there are no real marked seasons. The weather is very hot and humid. Sri Lanka sees a lot of rainfall. The monsoon brings rain from May to July to the western, southern and central regions of the island. The north-east monsoon causes rains in the northern and eastern regions in December and January.


This project started in 2012 after the government in Sri Lanka passed a law (in 2010) requiring that all preschool teachers must have a valid diploma to be able to teach.

Goleta Noontime and many other clubs in district 5240 partnered in several grants pushed by DG Dharshan John (D-3220) and DG Frank Ortiz (D-5240).

The project was running in 2012-13 to support preschool teachers in rural Sri Lanka and made an impact on early childhood education. The rural area does not meet the same educational level and standard as the Capital town (Colombo) of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is located in South East Asia, south of India. Sri Lanka has typically a tropical climate and there are no real marked seasons. The weather is very hot and humid. Sri Lanka sees a lot of rainfall. The monsoon brings rain from May to July to the western, southern and central regions of the island. The north-east monsoon causes rains in the northern and eastern regions in December and January.

Travel to Sri Lanka

Together as a family and Rotarians, I (Hans) and Helena who is a former Kindergarten teacher and our daughters (who are now teachers too), thought it would be interesting to follow up and continue on this project and see what the status was.

In the summer of 2014 we collected some school material from the Santa Barbara area. This collection of school materials was just a side project to be able to do some more hands-on work while we decided to go to Sri Lanka

We collected four big moving boxes with educational materials, books and toys. The purpose of the trip to Sri Lanka was to check and support the current project on location.  When we came to Sri Lanka, we visited three different pre-schools near Batticaloa area on the East Coast. We were helped by a member of the Batticaloa Club, who drove us to the different sites.  While we visited the schools, we talked to the teachers to give them tips on how to use the materials, different teaching styles, and examples of curriculum.

Our material came to good use and we saw that they were really happy and thankful for the material they received.

The teachers had a minimum wage that was paid by some of the parents. Keep in mind their low income and think about how they would afford an
education to get them the approved diploma.

The cost for one teacher is about $130 and the training is approximately one year. They will have classes each weekend while still working their regular job during the week.

While being on location in Sri Lanka, we were contacted by past district governor Dharshan John from district 3220 (Sri Lanka). He is a member of the Rotary Club of Colombo East.

He asked us if we were willing to take on another grant. We accepted.

2nd trip to Sri Lanka

Since we came back from the trip in 2014 we (RC of Goleta Noontime) have successfully completed four Global Grants. One was approved in 2015-16 ($45,500) and a second one in 2016-17 ($51,000). Now we were ready to go back for or second trip which we did the summer of July 2017.

The travel was a huge success! We attended a convocation (Diploma Ceremony for preschool teachers training) in Jaffna – in the most northern part of Sri Lanka.

The convocation was supported by our Global Grant from 2015-16. In this ceremony there were almost 300 teachers that we were honored to
give out diplomas to.  The ceremony had some prominent guests too, including members from Sri Lanka’s parliament and the school ministry.

We also made it possible to attend an inauguration ceremony in Matara – in the most southern part of Sri Lanka for 400 teachers. That ceremony was the result of our third Global Grant (2017-18).

Apart from the ceremonies, we visited two preschools where we handed out school materials and toys that we brought with us once again.

The location of the training centers for the teachers are spread over the whole country.   The colors of the dots shows who is the funding

District 5240
District 6920
District 7120
District 3131

Continuation of project

The third grant was approved for $43,500 in 2017-18 with 8 clubs in district 5240, and the fourth one was approved in the end of 2019 ($41,500).
The Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime will wrap-up the success with the teaching program global grants with a follow-up peace and reconciliation global grant.

! NEW !

Peace and reconciliation program

Due to Covid-19 the last batch of teachers that lead up to the 5,000 mark has been delayed.
We now believe that the goal of 5,000 preschool teacher’s education going to be met in the spring/summer of 2022.
We are proposing one last Peace Grant for Sri Lanka.

This proposal is designed to support four Peace Conferences each one consisting of 100 attendees.

We think it is appropriate to evolve a program to inculcate the principles and values of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural aspects amongst the varied communities of ethnic diversity in rural Sri Lanka. The selection pf participants will be taken amongst the teachers who have already being empowered by the Diploma in Early Child Education, benefiting from the Global Grants of the Rotary Foundation.

A pilot project did already take place in October 2018. The Peace Building Conference is being conducted through three days.

The objectives of the program are:

a) To create an opportunity for Preschool Teachers from different parts of the country with ethnic/cultural diversity, who have a common identity of being involved in the same vocation (Preschool teachers), and most importantly who have benefited from Rotary a full scholarship to enable them a Diploma in Early Child Education.

b) To build long term relationships amongst these teachers belonging to different ethnic/cultural communities.

c) To create an awareness of the values of “Peace & Harmony” amongst different communities.

d) To empower these teachers to transfer the learnings from the above to the Preschool Children under their care.

Hopefully you want to be a part of a continuous, growing and successful Global Grant project. We need commitment from clubs in District 5240 to reach a minimum of $10,000 in cash.

Our club believes that this is a project worthy of our support, as it focuses on spreading education and peace among the communities that they are members of.
Helena was also invited to a Rotary District Conference in South East Sweden in the fall of 2015 as a keynote speaker to talk about this project.
She was in Sweden for five weeks and held presentations at ten different Rotary Clubs. It received a great response.
Meeting with past RI president 2015-16, K.R “Ravi” Ravindran from Sri Lanka.
Dharshan John’s visit at the RC of Goleta Noontime.
Group Travel
We are planning to go back to Sri Lanka in the summer of 2022 (delayed due to Covid-19) and do this as a group travel. YOU and your club members can be participants on this trip! We wish that everyone could experience the same wonderful moments as we did – a great memory for life.
The trip will include:
* Visits at preschools (bringing school materials and toys) – hands-on work
* Visit a training center * Attending a graduation/opening ceremony (or both)
* Get to know the local Rotarians and their culture and traditions
* Temple sites * Elephant safari * Beaches
More information about this upcoming trip will be coming later. Don’t miss this great opportunity.
Here you can find some video clips from our visits in 2014 and 2017. After the school visits in 2014, we continued to explore other parts of Sri Lanka. You can see these places together with the school visits in these video clips.
This video clip (17 min) includes:
* School visits in Pasikudah and Batticaloa * Sigiriya (Lion Rock)
* Elephant Safari * Elephant bathing
This video clip (14 min) includes:
* School visit in Jaffna * Convocation Ceremony
VIDEO Documentary 2017
* Rotary Global Grant Sri Lanka
Rotary TV Interview 2018
Your fellow Rotarians, Email: ,
Helena and Hans Dahlin Tel: 805-259-5850 , 805-259-7113
Rotary Club of Goleta Noontime
(D5240 Santa Barbara, CA)