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England U19 visit children's home

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The Gokulam - Ateeq Javid

Warwickshire's Ateeq Javid shares some of his England kit during the visit to The Gokulam

The England Under-19 team swapped the practice ground for the playground in Sri Lanka this week when they took a break from their match preparations to visit The Gokulam – Bhaktivedanta Children’s Home in Colombo.

Ahead of the one-day international series against their hosts, the 16-man squad spent a morning interacting with the 115 children currently housed at the children’s home. The players’ role included assisting with an English lesson, overseeing games of Kwik Cricket and joining the children in prayers and singing.

The visit was arranged after squad members identified Gokulam as a charity that they would like to support during their tour of Sri Lanka, which features two Test Matches (both drawn) and a four-match ODI series.

Established in 1999, Gokulam is a children’s home that not only provides refuge for needy children with food, shelter and medical care, but also offers on-site schooling and the opportunity to receive a full education.

The England players donated sports equipment, board games and computer equipment as part of their visit and also presented a shield to be used in sports competitions to the home’s founder, Mrs Nandarani Dev.

England U19 captain Lewis Gregory said: "The visit gave us an opportunity to put something back into the local community, engage with the children and experience a different side to life in Sri Lanka.

"The home was very impressive and it made us appreciate the role education plays in helping these children fulfil their potential. We were given a fantastic welcome and it was a day to remember for everyone involved."

The Gokulam