Passing on Her Passion for Teaching

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s Gala, you missed an incredible event!  We were hoping to have the principle of the Alpha School in Sri Lanka, Iresha Karunaratne, in attendance to tell her story.  Unfortunately, her visa did not get approved.  She did, however, make a video of what she wanted to tell us at the event.  Here is the transcript of her video:
Iresha Karunaratne

“Hello Hopeful Hearts team and distinguished guests.  I am Iresha Karunaratne from Footprints Home for Girls.  I am 28 years old and this is my story. I am from a remote village in Gampaha District.  I do not have many happy memories of my childhood because they are filled with my father’s fights with my mother and my mother being beaten by my father, my sister being ignored and also being beaten by my father.  And also he was an alcoholic.  I have had days without proper meals.  I have slept outside on cold nights with my mother.  I was surrounded by alcoholics and murderers.  After my sister was affected with meningitis and became deaf and dumb and paralyzed with epilepsy, our family was covered in a dark cloud.  Although I couldn’t attend preschool because of my mother’s greatest efforts, I was able to read and write in Senegalese language when I first entered into grade 1.  But I did not have a proper uniform nor socks, I had torn off shoes.  Also, I didn’t even have a pencil because my father didn’t want to encourage my mother to educate me.  In the midst of poverty, I completed grade 3.

8 Year Old Iresha
8 year old Iresha

Jesus led my mother to Auntie Cukoko—Auntie Roheen—and I was taken into the Children’s Home in 2003.  The 8 year old me in 2003 asked my mother before she left me, “Amma do they give apples there?” To which she replied, “Of course they do”.  She may have said that to stop my tears.  But I did taste enough apples from that day onwards. 

When the matrons one day brought me a cake, lit the candles and all the outcasts gathered around me singing “happy birthday” for my 9th birthday, I was surprised because I had never tasted cake and I didn’t know I had a birthday.  And I also didn’t know they celebrated a birthday! 

Graduating Colombo
Graduating Colombo School

After coming to the children’s home, I got to know Jesus as I was growing up and I started to have a special relationship with Jesus.  I was yearning for a Father’s love.  And Jesus became my Father and filled a void in my heart.  I was given the privilege of attending a prestigious girls school in Colombo.  I also went on to get an honors degree in business and management.  I didn’t join the corporate sector because my calling was to be a teacher.  I joined the Alpha School in 2017 and it is my 7th year here.  I am now the principle of the school, with a wonderful team of teachers.  We are serving God through teaching.

Principle Iresha
With several children at the Alpha School

 I was a person without a smile, but today I smile and I will continue to smile because I know no matter what the challenges are, I do not need to fear because Jesus is with me.  We are waiting eagerly for your visit this year.  We enjoy the time we get to visit with Hopeful Hearts each year.  We pray for you and thank you for supporting us.”

Sign up for our newsletter and see how your donations are impacting children across the world!