Just as the Wright brothers would have dreamt of their first flight experience, so did 125 young children from rural towns and city suburbs realise their cherished dream of flying in an aircraft on a journey in the skies over Sri Lanka yesterday.
Their beaming faces expressed their delight and excitement as they boarded a special SriLankan Airlines flight UL001 southward bound.
The flight departed at approximately 9:45 a.m. from Katunayake, taking a flight path overflying Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Pada, Horton Plains, and then along the coastal route to Hambantota. The young passengers were treated to a bird’s eye view of the scenic landscape on offer and an even closer view at 500 feet altitude of the Hambantota International Airport, soon to be commissioned in March this year.
Upon their return to Katunayake, the children were taken on a guided tour of SriLankan’s Engineering and Inflight Divisions to provide them an educational and interesting insight into the airline’s operations, bringing to a close a memorable day for the children.
SriLankan Cares, the community development and charity arm of the national carrier, organised this special event with the support of the ‘Senehasa’ leadership training organisation, aligned with its mission of empowering and shaping the futures of children of Sri Lanka, through education, good health, and clean environment.
A hundred children from the group were selected through a leadership camp conducted by ‘Senehasa’ last December, while 25 of them were the winners of an art competition conducted by the Ministry of Aviation to celebrate 100 years of civil aviation in Sri Lanka.
SriLankan Cares has in the past organised and executed several projects that have benefitted children in rural areas, involving the upgrading and development of infrastructure in schools such as the Meepagama Jayanthi M.V in Kalawana, Al-Bahriya MV, a tsunami-affected school in Kalmunai, and Deberawewa Janadhipathi MV in Deberawewa.
Earlier this month it took on a project to develop a comprehensive child psychiatric ward at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital under the auspices of the Health Ministry.
See more pictures on Aviation Page 8