Cyprus Mail

Students create garden in memory of dead classmate

A GARDEN to celebrate the life of a courageous girl who died last year has been created by students at her Paphos school.

Jasmitha Marharajasingh died unexpectedly last September aged 15. Students from her school wanted to complete the garden in time for her 16th birthday, which she would have celebrated on Monday, May 23.

Jasmitha attended the International School of Paphos, and one of her teachers, Lil Maitland, told the Cyprus Mail that students and friends of the young girl came up with the idea of a garden, which is themed in pink and lilac, which were her favourite colours.

“The students wanted to share the completion of the garden and so we did that on Friday, the entire school attended,” she said. “This is not a place to come and feel sad, everyone wanted this to be a happy place, but also tranquil.”

The teacher said that all of the school’s students had contributed in some way, either by paying €2 to wear their own clothes for a day to pay for the stones and landscaping, or they painted stones to be placed around the garden.

One of the 15-year-old’s closest friends delivered a short speech in which he said: “Jasmitha was always very optimistic and cheerful but she suffered a lot in the 15 years of her life and this caused her to look at the world in a different way. She thought about things like poverty, discrimination and war. If everyone in this world was as mindful of these things as Jasmitha, there would be much less conflict. Sadly,

Jasmitha is no longer here and cannot continue making this world a better place. However we are still here. This garden will remind us of Jasmitha’s optimism and compassion. This garden will help make the world a better place.”

“They have all done such a great job and I didn’t expect anything like it. I feel as if Jasmitha is there, as some of her work, like her painted stones, is in the garden. I can go there and feel close to her,” Jasmitha’s mother Sathiya said.

Last September, Jasmitha was taken to Paphos general hospital with breathing problems and was transferred to Makarios Hospital in Nicosia. However her condition deteriorated and she died.

Jasmitha captured the hearts of the public and survived a brain tumour and heart surgery when she was only six.

She later underwent a heart operation because of the effect of the radiation on the tissue, causing the heartbeat to slow down and an excess of fluid to build up.

Her treatment cost around $200,000, which was raised from donations from well-wishers from Cyprus and all over the world.

She was awarded a full scholarship, which would have lasted for the duration of her education at the school.

Aged eight she was given the Paphos Heart of Gold award for her courage, strength and inspirational attitude and has been nominated for the award every year since then. Last year, a new award. ‘The Paphos Herat of Gold Jasmitha award for courage,’ was introduced and will now be awarded on an annual basis to young children who are overcoming difficulties with a positive attitude.

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