Playing among the thirty young pupils at the Mahalapitiya Montessori this July was a little boy wearing regular clothing … and a big smile. His name was Lakindu and he turned out to be the younger brother of one of the pupils. And he will, if all goes well, join the school next January.
The problem, his mother was happy to show us, is that Lakindu has a hole in his heart and, as his scarred chest made apparent, has recently undergone a major operation. To stay healthy – in truth to stay alive – Lakindu has to take a number of pills, costing some 4000 rupees (or about£20) a month, but the government only gives Lakindu’s mother 250 rupees (or about £1.25). She was understandably distraught and Robert quickly handed over the seed money to set up an account in his name, to be overseen by the Head Master of Bembada School, who has ultimate control over the Mahalapitiya programme. The family of a member of the first trip of Brighton College pupils to Sri Lanka this year has said it will pay for Lakindu’s pills for the time being, and we look forward to seeing him in a Mahalapitiya uniform next year.