Exchange programme: Sri Lankan girls feel at home in Pakistan

Published: October 3, 2014
Six girls have come from the Ladies College, Colombo, to the CAS School as part of the Nelson Mandela Peace Fellowship programme. Each year, class nine students from Sri Lanka come to this school. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

Six girls have come from the Ladies College, Colombo, to the CAS School as part of the Nelson Mandela Peace Fellowship programme. Each year, class nine students from Sri Lanka come to this school. PHOTOS: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: “We don’t feel like we are away from home,” said nine-grader Tahani Lenagalia.

“Yeah, the people are so friendly and the food is so good, too,” chipped in her classmate, Harithi Nandasena.

Six girls have come from the Ladies College, Colombo, to the CAS School as part of the Nelson Mandela Peace Fellowship programme. Each year, class nine students from Sri Lanka come to CAS School. Students from the school accommodate the visiting students, with their families serving as hosts.

On September 28, six girls came to stay with different host families. Their teacher, Ms Kaanthie de Silva, has also come with them and is staying with a CAS schoolteacher. All of them will go back to Sri Lanka on October 5.

“The food here is spicy and different,” said de Silva, while speaking to The Express Tribune. She was particularly inspired by the vibrant colours of the women’s clothes here. “This country is very colourful,” she said. “From clothes to vehicles, I see a variety of colours which I don’t find like this back home. Even the garbage trucks in Karachi are so beautifully decorated.”

The children were also quite fascinated by the art on wheels. “The lorries and the buses are so beautiful with colours, such as red, orange, green, etc,” said Shanya Sadanandan.

When asked what they liked best in Pakistan, the children shared an unusual fascination. “Camels,” said Sadanandan without a thought. Her friends agreed.

“We were travelling that day when suddenly a camel came in our way and we were all so excited,” she said. “Now, every day we go out we wish that we see the camel again as we don’t have any camels in Sri Lanka.”

The students seemed to be enjoying a lot. “The culture here is not similar but it’s easy to adjust to,” said Sadanandan. “You know, we have a Muslim community in Sri Lanka as well so we know a bit about it. We really enjoy seeing the sacrificial animals here.”

The girls were very happy with the extracurricular activities of the CAS School. “We don’t have a photography module at Ladies College and it’s really exciting to see it here,” said Lenagalia. “I would surely come to this school if I visit Pakistan again,” said Suashi Tissaaratchy.

All six girls are going to a school here. “At home, we get up at 5 in the morning for school,” said Sadanandan. “Here, it’s so nice to wake up with the sun out.”

Replying to a question on the places they are eager to see during their visit, the teacher and the children counted historical places, such as mosques, Mohatta Palace, and Sunday Bazaar on their list.

South Asian harmony

While many people like to talk about harmony and relations between Pakistan and other South Asian countries, CAS School teacher Maha Jafarey has taken some practical steps. “The CAS students who are hosting these exchange students will go to Sri Lanka in February,” she said. “Since Ladies College is a girls’ school, I’m looking for another school to send the male students of CAS to.”

She said that she believes that such exchange programmes help promote harmony and an exchange of cultural values. “If these girls were staying at a hotel, they would have never gotten to know as much,” said Jafarey. “Staying with a host family is more of an experience as there is nothing like meeting people.”

Speaking about the programme, she said that she has focused on class nine. This is because after class nine, children become busy preparing for their O’ level exams, she said.

“This is the third exchange programme with Sri Lanka,” said Jafarey. “Also, I have had a two-way exchange programme with an Indian school and I took my students to one in Bangladesh as well. Soon, we will have students from Bangladesh here.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2014.


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Reader Comments (17)

  • Weirdity
    Oct 3, 2014 - 8:38AM

    “We really enjoy seeing the sacrificial animals here”

    ???? Haha


  • anon
    Oct 3, 2014 - 9:46AM

    Well done Pakistan. Well done CAS and the host families. Dear Sri Lankan students please go back home and spread the word that Pakistan is not ONLY synonymous with terror :)


  • Oct 3, 2014 - 10:02AM

    Excellent effort to promote regional harmony. These children are the future.


  • Fatima
    Oct 3, 2014 - 10:05AM

    Welcome to Pakistan..
    Hope you ladies enjoy your stay here


  • bahaha
    Oct 3, 2014 - 10:26AM

    Big step from sacrificing humans huh!!


  • Bewildered
    Oct 3, 2014 - 10:27AM

    Let’s sincerely hope that RAW doesn’t pay attention this time to these visiting girls from Sri Lanka. By the way, does the CAS stands for something altogether, like LCC for “Ladies College, Colombo”, or just a random gibberish? The school is definitely not MIT, which people are supposed to know all the world over. Very poor reporting and editorial standards here.


  • Moiz Omar
    Oct 3, 2014 - 10:44AM

    Great you enjoyed your visit. Thanks for coming to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Lankan
    Oct 3, 2014 - 11:16AM

    Pak terror groups show special interest in attacking Sri Lankans.. Hope they dont do this time.. Dear Pak,Show mercy on these girls and provide security…


  • Jhamila
    Oct 3, 2014 - 11:19AM

    This whole nation is Quarantined.. OMG..Why these kids are here..? May Allah save them..!


  • vijaya
    Oct 3, 2014 - 12:55PM

    was that lost in translation? !!


  • vijaya
    Oct 3, 2014 - 12:57PM

    Even those who engage in sacrificing animal are not meant to enjoy the task. It is a ritual .
    Surely it must be a miss quote?


  • shoaib
    Oct 3, 2014 - 2:19PM

    @Bewildered: CAS stands for Centre of Advanced Studies


  • Kapt Slim
    Oct 3, 2014 - 2:32PM

    I once hosted a lunch for a Sri Lankan family in my home. The family include Sri Lankan Army officer along with his wife and 2 kids. We prepared a good menu for them and they liked the food although the kids were more interested in fried chicken only. The did mention that food is spicy but they enjoyed it. During interaction, the lady wife revealed that cooking is very easy in Pakistan. My mom and wife were surprised to hear that and as according to them, cooking in Pakistan is very difficult due to the variety of dishes we eat. She explained that in Sri Lanka, minimum 3 dishes are MUST in every meal; vegetables, meat and pulses. She also praised the facility of Tandoors in Pakistan where one can get ready made roti easily. Before going to airport she learned the art of making a roti from my mother.
    In short Sri Lankans are loving people.


  • Mahmud Achakzai
    Oct 3, 2014 - 3:39PM

    CAS is an elite school attended by spoiled bratty children who think they’re superior to you just cause they’re richer and study in the Cambridge system, I had the misfortune of meeting people that attended that school -very superficial and materialistic


  • Adil Uddin
    Oct 5, 2014 - 6:46AM


    Nice try . But usually it’s not hard to spot Indian trolls masquerading as people from other ethnicities.


  • Adil Uddin
    Oct 5, 2014 - 6:51AM

    Let’s see how many Indian trolls react to this news in their comments. When Sri Lankan government stopped on-arrival visa facility for Pakistanis earlier this year then their(Indian) media reported it as Pakistan’s isolation and shutting terror door to Pakistan, and so on. Well Pakistan and Sri Lanka continue to have interactions such as these, now what they are going to say?


  • weirdity
    Dec 8, 2014 - 4:39AM

    @vijaya: “was that lost in translation? !!”
    Probably just a kid being a kid and saying whatever comes to their mind but it was funny.


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