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Hemas launches special AYATI song and Ideation Zone on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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Jude Fernando – Trustee of Hemas Outreach Foundation and Managing Director of Hemas Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd, Shiromi Masakorala – Executive Director of Hemas Outreach Foundation and AYATI Trust Sri Lanka, Prof. Nilanthi de Silva - Vice Chancellor of University of Kelaniya and Chairperson of AYATI Trust Sri Lanka, Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson – Group CEO of Hemas Holdings PLC, Prof. Janaki Hewavisenthi – Dean - Faculty of Medicine of University of Kelaniya, Roshan Mahanama – Brand Ambassador of Hemas Outreach Foundation and Trustee of AYATI Trust Sri Lanka and Dr. L. Ranaweera – Director of Colombo North Teaching Hospital- Ragama

Hemas Outreach Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of the Hemas Group marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities on the 3rd of December, with the release of a special song by Bhathiya and Santhush (BNS) dedicated to children with disabilities as well as the launch of an ‘Ideation Zone’ at the AYATI National Centre for Children with Disabilities in Ragama. Hemas, a truly Sri Lankan company that believes in championing an inclusive world where no child is left behind, joined the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya in 2016 to set up the AYATI Trust Sri Lanka, together with MAS Holdings Pvt. Ltd., Roshan Wijerama Foundation, Rotary District 3220, and built the centre with support from the Sri Lanka Army.

The dynamic musical duo BNS developed the AYATI song, to support the Centre’s campaign to eradicate the stigma related to disability, especially Down Syndrome. The lyrics of the song are based on the reality faced by children with disabilities and impresses on people that they too need to be loved, given equal opportunities to attend schools together with other children. Such inclusivity enables them to socialize with others, become independent and integrate into society as productive citizens in the country.

“At Hemas, we strive to enrich the lives of the communities of our nation and we work through the Hemas Outreach Foundation to create a more inclusive world. All children must be given the opportunity to unleash their full potential and it is vital that each of us play our part to empower children with disabilities and their families to lead a dignified life,” Kasturi Chellaraja Wilson, Group CEO Hemas Holdings PLC said, commenting on the initiative, further adding, “As a part of our commitment to make healthful living happen across the nation we launched the ‘Piyawara’ program in 2002. This program was initiated focusing on early childhood development in Sri Lanka to enrich the lives of children from underprivileged communities since we believe no child should be left behind. Earlier this year we launched ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ (Treat All Alike) a social movement aimed towards empowering children and families with Down Syndrome, creating a platform to recognize their rights and promote inclusivity in today’s society.”

Prof. Nilanthi de Silva – Vice Chancellor of University of Kelaniya and Chairperson of AYATI Trust Sri Lanka and Dr. L. Ranaweera – Director of Colombo North Teaching Hospital- Ragama together with a child from the Ayati Center ceremoniously cutting the ribbon.

With over 20% of children in Sri Lanka estimated to have some form of a disability, the AYATI Trust works towards creating an inclusive society to prevent those with disabilities from being subjected to prejudice and lack of access to specialized services.

Prof. Nilanthi de Silva, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya and Chairperson of AYATI Trust Sri Lanka spoke about the importance of the work done by the Centre. “This year’s theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is ‘Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world’.Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic combined with myths and lack of awareness and understanding about disabilities has led to the worsening of social isolation experienced by countless numbers of children. Though many children with disabilities have their innate talents, they are not given opportunities to shine in the same way as other children. At the AYATI Centre, we work towards bridging this gap.



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Pan Asia Bank posts steady performance during FY 2023 –

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Aravinda Perera- Chairman & Naleen Edirisinghe - Director CEO of Pan Asia Bank

Profit before Tax increases by 258% amidst external challenges

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reflected a steady performance amidst multitude of adversities emerging from challenging macro-economic conditions as the Bank reported its financial performance during 2023, which showed judicious portfolio management and prudency exercised in dealing with possible fallout on its asset quality in challenging times.

The Bank reported a Pre-tax Profit of Rs. 2,328 Mn for the year ended 31st December 2023, which is 258% increase compared to corresponding period last year, supported by improved net interest income, increased trading gains from government securities and reduced exchange losses.

The Sri Lankan economy has experienced some positive signs of gradual economic recovery and a measure of stability in macro-economic factors compared to the previous year, with the appreciation of LKR against USD and the IMF bailout followed by the Domestic Debt Optimization (DDO) announcement. The multiple economic scenario models used regarding collective impairment in 2022 were continued in 2023 to ensure that adequate buffers were in place to absorb any potential credit risk that could arise in the future. The allowance for overlays applied in previous year was continued and maintained during 2023 too. Meanwhile, the Bank managed to end the year with healthy credit quality matrices due to improved credit underwriting standards and concerted collection & recovery efforts despite the contraction in the loan book during 2023 which impacted the Bank’s Stage 3 Loan Ratio adversely.

Furthermore, the Bank increased impairment provision buffers held regarding investments in International Sovereign Bonds of Government of Sri Lanka (SLISBs) further during 2023 with the expectation of possible adverse outcomes of the on-going government External Debt Restructuring (EDR) programme. The Bank recognised an impairment charge of nearly Rs. 2 Bn regarding International Sovereign Bonds during 2023.

The interest income for the year 2023 rose by 39% due to the high interest rates that prevailed during the period under review compared to corresponding period of the last year and the re-pricing effect of facilities in response to the market conditions. Further, the growth in interest income was supported by the increased interest income from Rupee denominated securities of the Government of Sri Lanka (T-Bills & Bonds) due to increased investments and high interest rates offered on such new investments compared to the previous year. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 9% in 2023 compared to the last year. (Pan Asia Bank)

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SLT-MOBITEL celebrates the season of love with exciting giveaways

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a series of heartwarming promotions and networking activities, spreading love and joy for customers across the country.

Connecting hearts from all around the world on social media, SLT-MOBITEL invited participants to share their loving memories for a chance to win movie tickets. Customers were also given the opportunity to dedicate romantic ringing tones to their loved ones by dialling special codes.

As part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, SLT-MOBITEL also offered a special promotion, providing a special screening for the glamorous movie ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’, powered by SLT-MOBITEL. Furthermore, customers were treated to a surprise bonus of 10GB of free data upon recharging their SLT-MOBITEL mobile numbers with Rs. 500 or more through any banking app.

Taking love to the hill country, in a special engagement event at the Kandy City Centre, fans were able to participate in activities and interact with the ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’ cast including Hemal Ranasinghe, Sheshadri Priyasad, and many others.

Through these exciting promotions, SLT-MOBITEL helped spread love and joy this season while enhancing the customer experience with exclusive activities.

To discover more of SLT-MOBITEL’s Valentine’s Day promotions, visit https://www.facebook.com/SLTMobitel.

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Call for Proposals: Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024

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The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research.

The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of independent research and public policy engagement in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and the wider South Asian region. Dr. Kelegama was the Executive Director of the IPS from 1995 to 2017.

Fourth-year undergraduates studying economics or a related subject in a University Grants Commission approved university or higher education institution in Sri Lanka are eligible to apply. Proposals must be written according to the guidelines provided and emailed to tharakam@ips.lk on or before the submission deadline of 30 April 2024.

HOW WILL THE WINNER BE CHOSEN? The quality of the proposals will be judged for its policy relevance, feasibility, originality and creativity. Three finalists will be chosen and invited to present their proposals at the IPS, where the award recipient will be selected.

OUTCOMES OF THE GRANTS – The recipient will be expected to produce a Policy Discussion Brief within six months of receiving the grant. The research report can be written individually or jointly with an IPS senior researcher.

BENEFITS OF THE GRANT – The beneficiary will be awarded a one-time research grant of LKR 200,000 to carry out the proposed research and a three-month internship at the IPS. The recipient will be able to seek guidance from senior researchers and benefit from IPS resources to complete the proposed study during the internship. To enable students from all over Sri Lanka to benefit from this opportunity, the terms of the internship will be flexible. The internship can either be a fully in-house internship at IPS, or it can be an in-house plus online internship. In the case of the second option, the in-house component of the internship should be at least six weeks. To encourage research dissemination, an additional subsidy will be provided for presenting the research findings at local conferences and workshops.

Important Dates

30 April 2024 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals

01 June 2024 – Announcement of Finalists

23 June 2024 – Announcement of the Winner

Further information is available at: https://www.ips.lk/saman-kelegama-memorial-research-grant/

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