Sarvodaya Development Finance (SDF) marked World Literacy Day by highlighting its education-related initiatives. World Literacy Day is marked each year on the 8th of September, and is being celebrated this year under the theme, “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces”. World Literacy Day is an opportunity for individuals, organizations and societies to reflect on the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.
Commenting on the efforts of SDF in this regard, over the past years, Nilantha Jayanetti – CEO said, “Our Company is amongst the most active corporate entities in terms of social activism and creating genuine progress for education in Sri Lanka, in addition to its primary purpose of empowering Sri Lanka’s rural and urban communities through financial services. Our goal is to create better literacy learning spaces in Sri Lanka through initiatives such as the Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning, the Early Childhood Development Unit and a network of preschools under the Sarvodaya Suwasetha Society. Our preschools in particular are very dear to our hearts as they ensure that children receive a good educational foundation, based on the Sarvodaya philosophy. In addition to these ongoing projects, we have also provided a computer learning centre to promote IT literacy in rural areas, along with a programme to uplift education for rural students, this year. We intend to continue with these efforts and ensure that every Sri Lankan can enjoy a good education and the benefits that come with literacy, especially amidst the challenges we face as a nation.”
The Sarvodaya Institute of Higher Learning helps to build networks and bring good education and literacy learning spaces to rural areas, while also bringing organizations together to create a more unified curriculum. The Early Childhood Development Unit supports preschool and childcare centres in villages and rural areas to educate parents, children and the community. Sarvodaya Suwasetha Society Preschools and Day Care Centres operate under the care of trained instructors in early childhood development and under the direct supervision of the Department of Probation and Childcare Services. At present, the network operates 1,427 preschools and day care centres, where children are engaged and provided with safe and welcoming literacy learning spaces.
During the year, SDF has also set up a computer learning centre to uplift IT literacy in rural areas. This was the result of a ground-breaking initiative between SDF and Mithra Innovation, a leading software developer in Sri Lanka. Through this initiative, rural students are provided with opportunities to learn software programming and expand their horizons. Within the first 6 months of the initial pilot project, 25+ students were trained and provided with recognized certification and guaranteed job opportunities. SDF is presently working to expand the size of this programme to include 100 students per batch in the near term, with further expansion and development planned in due course.
In another initiative to uplift the standard of education in Sri Lanka, SDF collaborated with the University of Colombo Graduates Association to conduct seminars for GCE Ordinary Level students in rural areas who obtained less than 40 marks in mathematics at their last school-level examination. At the initial seminar, over 500 students participated in a 2-day programme at DS Senanayake Maha Vidyalaya in Ampara and Uhana Maha Vidyalaya, also in Ampara. SDF conducted another seminar at Kebithigollewa Central College recently with the participation of 17 schools from the Kebithigollewa Education Zone. The seminars are conducted by a competent and qualified teaching faculty, specializing in mathematics, in an easy-to-understand and concise manner that is appealing to students. Participants were provided with 2 meals each day, along with stationery and model exam papers, all free of charge. The goal of the programme was to give a boost to students with difficulties, to empower them to pass the GCE Ordinary Level. An assessment conducted across the students who participated found that 80% passed their mathematics exams, enabling them to continue with their higher studies.
SDF is a leader in development finance in Sri Lanka, particularly in the agricultural sector, including the North and East, with an islandwide presence.
Trio of collections to mark Vogue Jewellers’ 60th anniversary
Marking another milestone, Vogue Jewellers, Sri Lanka’s premier jeweller staged an unprecedented trio of jewellery collections at a lavish jewellery show held at Shangri-la, Colombo. The event featured Royal Majestic Collection – the third volume of Sri Lanka’s first ever branded patented 22 karat gold jewellery; Vogue Lace Collection – a Diamond encrusted 22 karat gold necklace collection inspired by Beeralu lace and the luxurious Diamond Necklaces Collection along with the complete set of Vogue Lotus Bridal Jewellery – 22 karat Kandyan bridal jewellery collection. The collections released exhibit Vogue’s instinctive ability to focus on fashion, uniqueness and everlasting value.
Each handcrafted necklace of the Royal Majestic Collection screams grandeur, wealth and value. They are absolutely versatile as they can be worn as a grand long centerpiece or by detaching the tassels that can be worn as a pair of matching earrings, and even by detaching the pendant to wear with a plain chain. They are 22 karat solid gold creations, Pure Brilliance SWAROVSKY Cubic Zirconia or genuine coloured stone encrusted necklaces that come with a 1 gm branded gold coin. Royal Majestic Collection with many designs. Ideal for gift giving, to pass on to the next generation and as a sound investment, these masterpieces are absolutely stunning creations.
Vogue Lace Collection, inspired by the traditional Beeralu lace is an intricately hand-crafted Diamond and Pearl encrusted 22 karat fine jewellery. As delicate as lace in their appearance, the luxury collection of necklaces and choker necklaces are truly exotic. Handcrafted to perfection, every necklace of this signature collection reflects mastery in design, craftsmanship and sheer elegance.
The newest array of Diamond Necklaces and Earrings released at the Vogue jewellery show brings a distinctly modern point of view to Diamond jewellery. Inspired by Vogue’s rich heritage in Diamond jewellery, the newest Vogue Diamond Collection comprises necklaces and earrings, accented with white gold, and in the case of some, rose gold, for that touch of colour. Each creation offers optimal style versatility with maximum sparkle.
In addition to the three new collections that were released at the jewellery show, the complete set of the 22 karat Kandyan Bridal Jewellery was paraded. Inspired by the much-revered Lotus, the divine symbol of purity, resilience and faithfulness, the Vogue collection is a made-to-order complete set of Kandyan bridal jewellery that includes the headdress and its accompaniments, earrings, seven necklaces, waist chain and the bangles. Available as a complete set or as individual items, it is a collection for those seek evolved designs in keeping with local traditions.
The jewellery show was choreographed by renowned Designer and Fashion Consultant, Michael Wijesuriya. Channa Wijewardena’s dance troupe lead by Aseka Wijewardena and Opera singer Stephane Siriwardhena added colour to the event. An elegant coffee table book was introduced to the distinguished invitees. The Kandyan bride was dressed by the popular bridal dresser, Mr. Dhananjaya Bandara.As with any item available at Vogue, the new collections too come with a lifetime guarantee. Visit the Vogue flagship store at Colpetty or any of its branches in Nugegoda, Kandy, Negombo and Kurunegala.
Innovate Lanka concludes with Demo Day and Finale
Innovate Lanka recently concluded with its 2022 Demo Day and Finale, where 10 finalists pitched their exceptional ideas to a high profile panel that encompassed Corporate Leaders, Domain Experts and Angel Investors.
Adjudged this year’s winner, AGC Innovate (Pvt) Ltd is a sustainable initiative pioneering technology to convert non-recyclable waste plastics into an industrial raw material called Plastic Modified Asphalt Concrete (PMAC) in Sri Lanka, which will be used for paving roads, car parks and yards. Since its inception in 2018, the company has already completed more than 15 projects, including for RDA, PRDA, Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, John Keells Holdings (Cinnamon Life and Crescat), CBL, French Embassy, etc.
The runner-up for 2022 was DirectPay (Pvt) Ltd, which connects everyone digitally, bringing them one step closer to a cashless society, by introducing modern payment methods for the financial and telecom industries. DirectPay is a FinTech application that provides direct debit facilities, Internet Payment Gateway and LankaQR and JustPay (National QR) technologies to enable customers to make payments across any boundary.
Also awarded was the “Best Female Entrepreneur” title, which was handed out to Bluefish Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd. This fish food manufacturer is dedicated to providing ready-to-eat, flavourful, and nutrient-dense fish products made with hand-picked natural ingredients with an authentic and distinct taste, while adhering to 100% hygiene standards.
A national initiative bringing together Sri Lanka’s main startup and SME ecosystem partners, Innovate Lanka is a program initiated by the Council for Startups (CFS) of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Lankan Angel Network (LAN) and Sri Lanka Association for Software Services Companies (SLASSCOM). This program will ideally also serve up the systematic change required to rebuild Sri Lanka, by providing personalized support for every entrepreneur while offering a one-stop-shop for incubation and acceleration, until exit, at the global level.
In addition to the winner, runner-up and “Best Female Entrepreneur” title holders, the Innovate Lanka Demo Day and Finale also offered up presentations by other top 10 finalists. These included WorkXFlow (Pvt) Ltd, EDUS Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, INGROW Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Ceylon Dhee Ayurved (Pvt) Ltd, Stag Space (Pvt) Ltd, Edutoys (Pvt) Ltd and CrossBorder Payments (Pvt) Ltd.
Garnering an exemplary 70+ entries during its initial, applications stage, Innovate Lanka later went on to thoroughly vet these submissions, ultimately whittling down its pool of startups and SMEs to just the top 10. This was achieved via an intensive pitching and evaluation process, which was facilitated by LAN.
Said LAN Chairperson Chandi Dharmaratne; “We at LAN, along with our global, national and eco-system partners, and the many incubators and accelerators that participated, are committed to supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs during the tough economic times ahead. Programs such as Innovate Lanka will keep dreams of scaling alive, until such time as our economy recovers and more startups and SMEs can bootstrap themselves into the global marketplace.”
Commenting further, CFS Chairman Prajeeth Balasubramaniam said; “Entrepreneurship is critical to stimulate long-term economic growth and national prosperity. As an entrepreneur, today there is no one private sector body representing them to help in all spheres of growth at the different stages. Innovate Lanka platform was created with this in mind as a national initiative that brings all the start-up and SME ecosystem partners together”.
Adding to this, SLASSCOM Chairman Ashique Ali said; “We were happy to partner in this programme as start-ups play a significant role in innovation, creating social, economic, and environmental impact, and generating export revenue. There are a significant number of start-ups which have the potential to scale regionally and globally. SLASSCOM together with other ecosystem partners aim to support these startups through their incubation to scale up journey, realising SLASSCOM’s goal of catalysing 1000 startups by the year 2025.”
LSEG Foundation joins ‘Manudam Mehewara’ initiative driven by corporate Sri Lanka
Aiming to Assist Over 200,000 Vulnerable Families
The LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) Foundation pledged its support as a corporate donor of the ‘Manudam Mehewara’ emergency relief programme, initiated by Dialog Axiata PLC, MAS Holdings, Hemas Holdings PLC, execution partner Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement and independent auditor PwC Sri Lanka, together with corporate partners CBL Group, Citibank, Sunshine Holdings PLC, Huawei Technologies Lanka Co., Pvt Ltd, and Unilever Sri Lanka.
Launched to support over 200,000 vulnerable families and communities across the country amidst the ongoing economic crisis, the ‘Manudam Mehewara’ initiative has currently distributed emergency relief across all 25 districts in Sri Lanka, where over 115,000 families in-need have been assisted to date. The Manudam Mehewara programme will conduct its relief efforts until a sustainable benefit transfer system is established in the country through an effective economic recovery plan.
Speaking on the occasion, Pulasthika Wirasinha – Head of Human Resources, LSEG Sri Lanka stated, “It has been inspiring to witness the many corporates who have stepped up to the frontline of Sri Lanka’s economic recovery. At LSEG, we embody the spirit of empowering communities, and we would like to thank the Manudam Mehewara corporate coalition for the opportunity to help in this time of need”.
Addressing the gathering, Hong Zhou Wong – Group Chief Financial Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC commented “Dialog along with our corporate partners rose to the call of need in early April by initiating Manudam Mehewara with the aim of assisting and supporting the most impacted communities across Sri Lanka in the backdrop of devastating economic hardship. Our partners and donors have not only contributed their financial aid to this initiative but also their resources and expertise to pave the road to recovery for Sri Lanka. On behalf of Manudam Mehewara, I would like to thank LSEG for joining us in this effort. Since April, Manudam Mehewara has supported over 115,000 families across all districts, but our journey has only just begun as we aim to reach 200,000 families. To see our mission to fruition, I urge other like-minded corporate partners to join us in this collective force for good”.
Manudam Mehewara invites all Sri Lankans and corporates to join its shared mission of supporting the most vulnerable families across the country and contributing to this cause. Individuals can now simply donate via their credit/debit card on the website – https://dlg.lk/donate/ or through a bank transfer, Star Points transfer, eZ Cash, genie, or even through a mobile top-up to 077 642 1421. Donors can also conveniently donate through a range of payment options via www.karuna.lk, Sri Lanka’s First Cause-verified Crowdfunding Platform.
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