Villages around the glenrock are home to mostly farmer families, enjoying the simple pleasures of life that money cannot buy, while leading a happy life in a happy village.
Buddha preached that “Happiness is the ultimate wealth” (‘Santhushtin paraman dhanan’).These villagers therefore are among the wealthiest in the world as they enjoy things free of charge which most others in the world get at a high cost or do not receive at all. For example, without air purifiers they breathe unpolluted air, without air conditioners or heaters they enjoy comfortable temperatures all year around, have unlimited supply of the cleanest natural spring water(unbottled water), eat fresh vegetables from their own garden or the neighbour’s and without having to go to a gym they get a natural work out through day to day activities in the mountainous landscape. Children are also a happy lot running around in the scenic fields without being glued to a smart phone.
The guest to the glenrock, even if unknowingly contribute towards making such a happy village even happier and more importantly have become a part of a unique social change.
There are however two main reasons that cause some of the villagers to leave such a happy village unwillingly and move to the city; low income and lack of proper education facilities.
While the income earned from farming may be sufficient enough to cover the daily needs or bit more, farmers are at a disadvantage for not being able to get the due price as the middleman gets a sizeable chunk of it. With no proper social security net (such as welfare, employment insurance) and also effectively implemented crop failure insurance. These farmers are unable to save enough to have a secure future (to use for emergencies, crop failures, low yield situations, serious illnesses, disability and old age).
Except for one, all buildings in the village school (Upper Rock Village School) are in an unsafe condition and also beyond repair. Therefore, many classes are held under trees as you can see from the photographs and the video on this page.Rain and wind however have made these outdoor classes not a viable option.Most children are also in need of assistance for books, shoes and protein rich diet etc.
From the construction stage itself the glenrock has been working to reduce the negative impact in the above mentioned areas, low income and education of the villagers.
Majority of the construction and maintenance of the hotel has been done by the villagers and currently, 85% of the hotel staff are from the village and surrounding areas. While some farmers work part time to get an additional income, non farmers have found employment at their doorstep without having to go to the city for employment. By not having to work in the city has enabled these villagers to save money they used to spend on city lodging, food, bills and transport. Additionally, the service providers of the village are also benefited via indirect incomes, since in the past the villagers employed in the city used to spend their money in the city itself, which is now being utilized within the local community of the village. For example, buying grocery from the village shops or using the village transport provider (tuk tuk or bus) has created indirect income to the local service providers.
Transport services in the local community such as car/van hires have also been benefited with the start of the hotel in the area and are known to be earning more by providing transport to the guest of the hotel.
At the request of the farmers association and the villagers,the hotel has also developed the state of the roads in the surrounding areas for easy access for the villagers.
Workshops are held for organic farming with guidance and training provided by the Agricultural Department. This helps farmers to use successfully field tested methods to grow their crops and to encourage young farmers specially.
With the entrance of the glenrock hotel in the village, there have been some successive changes made in terms of the income front even during the initial stages of the hotel. The projected growth of the hotel would add more such direct and indirect incomes to the villagers generating an important social change. A social change that would create a sustainable village that would remove the need for migration to the cities. In other words, the Happy Village around the glenrock would not contribute towards the congestion in the cities and would not contribute to the waste of resources ( due to heavy city traffic the need for more highways, burning of fossil fuel for transport to and from cities, waste of materials for city accommodation for the villager during the work week etc.)
The hotel has been bringing about this change and will be doing so in the future only because of its guests who are the source of income. Thus, the valuable guest to the glenrock are a main part of this social change the hotel has been creating.
Several donations have been made by the hotel to help improve the education facilities for the village children. For example, children of the village have been gifted with school books and dictionaries in the past.
The hotel has provided a water tank to supply clean drinking water for the children and guests also have voluntarily visited the school in the past and shown their support to the school by gifting white boards and books as you can see from the pictures. Students from a college in the USA who will be staying in the hotel on March 2018, have made plans to colour wash the school walls and give some materials to the children during their visit, they are also presently in the process of raising funds in the USA for this very reason.
The school principal has made a sincere request to help build the much needed classrooms for the children. the glenrock is in the process of collecting funds for constructing a building of ten classrooms, which would cost around US$ 20,000 (Rs. 25 million rupees). You may make a voluntary contribution towards this trend setting social change model, ‘Happy Village’.
the glenrock is positive that along with hotel’s growth, it can help keep the happy villager in the happy village by increasing incomes and improving the education facilities for children. Value additions such as organic farming, facilitation such as road developments, support such as eye clinics, eye glass donations, assistance to places of worship and individuals in hardship have been carried out and will continue to be done to speed up the mentioned social change.
the glenrock hopes to reach out to the many families, schools and places of worship in Ulugalathenna. If you have any ideas or want more information, there are many ways you can get involved through the contact page. During your stay at the glenrock,if you wish to visit these places or talk to the villagers please do connect with us and we would be happy to assist you.