“Almost 90% of all young people live in low-income nations, not feeling that a better life is possible can result in millions of young people floundering in poverty and frustration – bringing fragile nations down with them.” (Mercy cops, 2020)
Saturday, 23rd of April 2022, was a high time for us to talk about the economic crisis of Sri Lanka, where ‘Prathishta’; an initiative by ‘Team Sociospiring’ – Team 03 of Project Rota tomorrow initiated by the Rotaract Club of University of Kelaniya was implemented, with the intention of planting a new hope to the youth in Sri Lanka. Co-chaired by Rtr. Dinura Liyanage and Rtr. Pinsari Jayasundara, Prathishta could successfully guide more than 50 students in Rathnapura District who were not eligible for the G.C.E. Advanced level Examination or university entrance to find the best path to pursue their dream careers.
First to talk about the beginning of this venture, as a part of the project Rota tomorrow 2.0, team Sociospiring came up with the idea of creating a bridge between academics and vocational career by challenging the myth that “failing the O/L or A/L examinations will be a dead end to one’s future path”. The main objectives of our effort were to educate the students about new career opportunities available in the vocational field, to support them to identify the careers that suit their skills, to guide them to enrol in vocational training institutes and to direct the youth to job opportunities with proper education. Therefore, conceptually addressing the SDG 04 – Quality Education, SDG 08 – Decent Work and Economic Growth and the Rotary Focus Area – Economic and community development, the framework for Prathishta was formulated.
Then, after several challenges due to the prevailing situation in the country, the day arrived to convert our ideas into actions. On the 23rd of April 2022, all of us gathered at Sivali Central College, Ratnapura to offer a helping hand to our own brothers and sisters of our country. The project was organized in two sessions; in the morning session, the students were given a small test to identify their skills and interests followed by individual counselling sessions where they were provided with career advice based on their responses. In the evening session, representatives from vocational training institutes educated the students regarding the various opportunities available in different career paths. However, we were not alone in this massive social activity. Ceylon Career Guidance Association (CCGA), Vocational Training Authority (VTA), Gem & Jewellery Research & Training Centre, National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management, College of Technology – Ratnapura and Sri Lanka School of Agriculture – Karapincha, Kuruwita partnered with us to accomplish this great responsibility.
We are humbly proud of the success of our project which was clearly shown through the feedback of the students; mostly, the knowledge that they gained through Prathishta and their requests to continue with projects like this in future too. Although students who do not succeed in the O/L and A/L examinations are sometimes looked down upon as unsuccessful as unskilled, as team Sociospiring, WE BELIEVE IN THE POTENTIAL OF EVERY INDIVIDUAL. That is the very reason why Prathishta became not a mere dream but an inspiring reality.
~Written by: Rtr. Limali Walpola | Featured image designed by: Rtr. Dinura Liyanage~