Intel Chief Commends Government for its Efforts to Bridge the Digital Divide – Daily News – December 23, 2005

Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret
Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret
Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret

During his first visit to Sri Lanka, Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett discussed several initiatives to help the country use technology to improve access and education.


Intel Corporation Chairman Dr. Craig Barrett, who donated four brand new computers to the Horizon Lanka Foundation in Mahawilachchiya speaks to the members of the foundation.

Barrett commended the government for its efforts to accelerate technology adoption through its Nenasala program, a growing network of knowledge centres bringing information and communications technology to rural and semi-urban areas.

Earlier this year, Intel also collaborated with the government to launch the “e-Sri Lanka PC Program,” an initiative that makes technology more affordable and educates citizens on the benefits of using technology and computers.

“These programs have demonstrated that technology can change the way people learn and communicate with one another, offering new opportunities for distance learning and training, e-governance and remote health care,” said Barrett.

To advance education in Sri Lanka, Barrett announced that Intel will collaborate with the Sri Lankan Education Ministry and the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to introduce the Intel Teach to the Future program in select schools in Sri Lanka in the 2006 academic year.

This professional development program is part of a worldwide effort to help teachers integrate technology into instruction to develop students’ critical thinking skills and enhance learning.

Participating teachers receive extensive instruction and resources to promote effective technology use in the classroom.

Barrett also announced that Intel is collaborating with Sri Lanka Telecom to begin deploying an Intel-based WiMAX networks across the island nation by the end of this year.

WiMAX networks are being deployed around the world to deliver high-speed, low-cost broadband Internet access to homes, businesses, schools and government facilities. Once deployed, the network will connect rural and urban areas in Sri Lanka, helping to facilitate digital inclusion in the remote parts of the nation.

“Communications infrastructure is the key to connecting people and ideas,” said Barrett.

“Intel is driving the development and deployment of broadband wireless technologies such as WiMAX to promote an infrastructure that meets the needs of developing nations.”

Airspan, MTT successfully demonstrates next generation broadband Technology Airspan Networks, Inc., a leading worldwide provider of broadband wireless access networks, including WiMAX standard systems, and carrier class VoIP systems, announced recently that it has successfully completed a live demonstration of its AS.MAX WiMAX solution in Sri Lanka.

At an event hosted by Intel in Colombo, where Dr. Craig Barrett, Chairman – Intel Corporation, delivered a keynote address on Digital Inclusion (how Sri Lanka can capitalize on the digital evolution), the power of digital connectivity was demonstrated when, Mr. Barrett made a video call over a WiMAX link to the Mayor of Galle, a southern port city of Sri Lanka.

The call was carried using Airspan’s MacroMAX base-station platform and the nationwide Wireless Backbone Network operated by MTT Network (Pvt.) Limited.

The World’s first Indoor, Self Install WiMAX Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) provided by Airspan (Easy ST) was used on top of the perimeter wall of the Galle’s historical Dutch Fort to connect to an Airspan MacroMAX base station site located 2.5 kms away on the other side of the Galle Bay.

This base station installed at MTT’s Network Node at Rumassala was interconnected to the WiMAX base Station in Colombo via MTT’s SDH/PHD wireless back bone. Airspan and MTT were thus successfully able to demonstrate a two-way video call to a location where no other communications technology existed to provide the connectivity.

Mithila Mendis, Regional Director for Airspan, said: “We are very pleased that our technology was used to provide this demonstration. The success of event showed how our WiMAX technologies can be used in a seamless manner to provide a multitude of services including video.

We have developed an unparalleled product portfolio and skill-set for wireless deployments, which will bring significant value to operators in countries like Sri Lanka, where broadband wireless digital connectivity continues to grow.”

Chaminda Rathnayake, CEO of MTT Networks (Pvt) Ltd said “We are extremely pleased with the results of technology trial for WiMAX, where we were able to demonstrate that MTT’s Network is capable of integrating next generation Wireless technology.

MTT is committed to aggressively rolling out WiMAX based services across Sri Lanka such that its true potential is realized for the benefit of all end users”

Airspan’s AS.MAX product family has been designed for indoor, self-installable deployment of customer premises equipment, an essential requirement of operators for the economic rollout of broadband wireless.

The EasyST is the first product of its type to fully enable indoor plug-and-play WiMAX services. The product family became commercially available in the third quarter of 2005.

The products give businesses and consumers uninterrupted access to a rich variety of high bandwidth applications such as networked gaming, streamed digital music, TV, videoconferencing, and other real-time services at speeds faster than today’s 3G networks. Fixed WiMAX is expected to deliver end-user data rates greater than 1 Mbps-3 to 5 times faster than today’s commercial 3G networks.

Intel donates PCs

Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett responding to a request by the Horizon Lanka Foundation for used computers gave away four computers to the Foundation based at Mahawilachchiya – one of the most rural villages of Sri Lanka, which was started with limited resources.

The e-Village is a significant chapter in the development in the Mahawilachchiya community history. Here are some of the achievements of the foundation so far:

(1) Two hundred rural students are now receiving quality ICT education, through the Horizon Lanka Academy. Further information on this school can be found at www.horizonlanka.org.

(2) Over 30 computers are now established in the village. The Horizon Lanka Foundation hopes to promote ICT education in the village for the benefit of a wider population by providing PCs to all homes of the village. This it hopes to achieve through its Digital Butterflies program. Log on to www.horizonlanka.org for more information on how readers could help this worthy cause.

(3) Mahawilachchiya is the only rural Sri Lankan village with 24 hours ICT connectivity. This is symbolic and a message for marginal level communities all over the world.

(4) Mahawilachchiya is also one of the few villages in Sri Lanka with a fully equipped computer room and a practical ICT educational plan to educate each of the villagers.

7. Lien – Belgium

7. Lien – Belgium

Lindy and Lien in a canoe in Mahawilachchiya reservoir

Lien, Andytje Millimon and Lindy Deroo from Belgium visited Horizon Lanka in December 2005 and worked at Horizon for a month. See the tour report on their experiences while they were in Horizon Lanka.

Before I tell you about Horizon Lanka and our experiences as volunteers there, we want to introduce us.

We are Lindy, Andy and Lien, 3 young people from Belgium. We just finished with school. Lien and Andy are nurses and I am a social educator. Before we wanted to look for a job, we decided to travel for 4 months in the Asian countries of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. But because we wanted to make a combination between holidays and pick up experiences, we choose to do volunteer work in some of the countries. In India we worked in the Mother Theresa temples, we helped the sisters to take care of the sick people and people with disabilities. With help of our travel agency we found the Horizon Lanka Academy.

Because it was very busy before we left, we had less information about the work that we have to do there. But we knew that we were to be welcomed there and that a family was waiting for us. So that was enough to get our backpack and go for the adventure.

After a long drive with the car, we arrived in a little village called Mahawilachchiya. We stopped in the school Horizon Lanka. Our first impression was: where are we now? We had the feeling that we were dropped in the middle of nowhere. We saw the little huts with tables and chairs. No classrooms? But when we walked into the little building, we were amazed. It was a room with computers with connection to the Internet. And the amazement didn’t stop. The next day they brought a TV with a DVD player donated by some sponsor. Everything that the school has is bought with money from donations. What a good initiative?

When we heard the working of the school, we were very surprised. Horizon Lanka is a private initiative that organizes lessons on Saturdays for children of the village. The children come on their own initiative to school. What a difference than Belgium? In Horizon Lanka, they teach several subjects for example: mathematics, sports, English, computers, etc. The other days the school is open for adult students who want to use the computers and the internet.

The first day we were confused about their work. But in the meanwhile we had the time to learn the habits of the family and the Sri Lankan people. We met the students. Day by day it was made clear what they expected about us; be yourself and use your talents for teaching the children.

In the beginning we were insecure because we were not teachers, but we noticed that it’s not necessary to have experience, to teach the children. Just speaking English and talking to them is teaching. They learn so much out of a conversation. The children really want to learn and take every chance they get.
So, during the week we talked and chatted with the students, we played cricket and badminton with them, help them with their homework.

On Saturday we helped the teachers conduct lessons. To the smallest children we taught how to say their names, ask others’ names and read the clock in English. We talk about sports with them. For teaching them you can use your creativity. An example we used: we drew something on the blackboard and the children had to guess what it was and write the correct name on the blackboard. So they played and learnt at the same time. And with the older students we talked about different countries and famous places in the world to teach them geography. We give a PowerPoint presentation to the students about the important places we visited in Nepal, India and Indonesia. So, the students learnt about the culture in other countries.

We had also a very good contact with the teachers. They were very interested in the education system in Belgium. And they explained us the system and the way of working in Sri Lanka. The teachers are very open minded and want to learn things from us. But we also learned a lot of them. If we had questions about teaching the students they helped us as much as possible.

It depends what your talents and interests are and you can choose which subject you teach. You’re never forced to do something you don’t want. The staff of Horizon Lanka also has a great philosophy about volunteer work. They want to make a combination between work and pleasure. So they organize trips to the city Anuradhapura to visit the famous places like Sri Maha Boddhi, Mihinthale, and Thantirimale. So, there is a good balance between work and pleasure.

From the first moment we were there, we had a nice time and a good feeling. The families were we stayed with were so friendly. They gave us a homely feeling. They made great food for us, taught lots of things to us. Now we can speak basic Sinhala, we learned the habits of their lives: For example, eating with our hands. In Belgium we eat with knife and fork. So, the first days we were very clumsy. But some days later we become very good at it. We went with them to the temple on a Poyaday; a very important Buddhist day. This gave us a chance to learn about their religion. We have the feeling like we have a second mom and dad and also lots of brothers and sisters.

Everybody was working so hard to give us a great time. It is certainly an experience we never forget. And if we have the chance we want to get this experience again. And as we already knew it was very difficult to say goodbye to our new family and friends. We hope that we can keep contact with the people here with email, because now we have lots of friends there.

Lein on a motorbike on the reservoir bund
Lein on a motorbike on the reservoir bund
In Wilpattu National Park
In Wilpattu National Park
In Wilpattu National Park
In Wilpattu National Park
At the hosts' houses
At the hosts’ houses
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
With Horizon Lanka students
In Dambana, with the Veddah chief
In Dambana, with the Veddah chief

6. Lindy Deroo – Belgium

Lindy Deroo

Lindy and Lien in a canoe in Mahawilachchiya reservoir

Miss Lindy Deroo, Mr. Andytje Millimon, and Miss Lien  from Belgium visited Horizon Lanka in December 2005 and worked at Horizon for a month. See the tour report on their experiences while they were in Horizon Lanka. 

We are Lindy, Andy and Lien, 3 young people from Belgium. We just finished with school. Lien and Andy are nurses and I am a social educator. Before we wanted to look for a job, we decided to travel for 4 months in the Asian countries of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. But because we wanted to make a combination between holidays and pick up experiences, we choose to do volunteer work in some of the countries. In India we worked in the Mother Theresa temples, we helped the sisters to take care of the sick people and people with disabilities. With help of our travel agency we found the Horizon Lanka Academy.

Because it was very busy before we left, we had less information about the work that we have to do there. But we knew that we were to be welcomed there and that a family was waiting for us. So that was enough to get our backpack and go for the adventure.

After a long drive with the car, we arrived in a little village called Mahawilachchiya. We stopped in the school Horizon Lanka. Our first impression was: where are we now? We had the feeling that we were dropped in the middle of nowhere. We saw the little huts with tables and chairs. No classrooms? But when we walked into the little building, we were amazed. It was a room with computers with connection to the Internet. And the amazement didn’t stop. The next day they brought a TV with a DVD player donated by some sponsor. Everything that the school has is bought with money from donations. What a good initiative?

When we heard the working of the school, we were very surprised. Horizon Lanka is a private initiative that organizes lessons on Saturdays for children of the village. The children come on their own initiative to school. What a difference than Belgium? In Horizon Lanka, they teach several subjects for example: mathematics, sports, English, computers, etc. The other days the school is open for adult students who want to use the computers and the internet.

The first day we were confused about their work. But in the meanwhile we had the time to learn the habits of the family and the Sri Lankan people. We met the students. Day by day it was made clear what they expected about us; be yourself and use your talents for teaching the children.

In the beginning we were insecure because we were not teachers, but we noticed that it’s not necessary to have experience, to teach the children. Just speaking English and talking to them is teaching. They learn so much out of a conversation. The children really want to learn and take every chance they get.
So, during the week we talked and chatted with the students, we played cricket and badminton with them, help them with their homework.

On Saturday we helped the teachers conduct lessons. To the smallest children we taught how to say their names, ask others’ names and read the clock in English. We talk about sports with them. For teaching them you can use your creativity. An example we used: we drew something on the blackboard and the children had to guess what it was and write the correct name on the blackboard. So they played and learnt at the same time. And with the older students we talked about different countries and famous places in the world to teach them geography. We give a PowerPoint presentation to the students about the important places we visited in Nepal, India and Indonesia. So, the students learnt about the culture in other countries.

We had also a very good contact with the teachers. They were very interested in the education system in Belgium. And they explained us the system and the way of working in Sri Lanka. The teachers are very open minded and want to learn things from us. But we also learned a lot of them. If we had questions about teaching the students they helped us as much as possible.

It depends what your talents and interests are and you can choose which subject you teach. You’re never forced to do something you don’t want. The staff of Horizon Lanka also has a great philosophy about volunteer work. They want to make a combination between work and pleasure. So they organize trips to the city Anuradhapura to visit the famous places like Sri Maha Boddhi, Mihinthale, and Thantirimale. So, there is a good balance between work and pleasure.

From the first moment we were there, we had a nice time and a good feeling. The families were we stayed with were so friendly. They gave us a homely feeling. They made great food for us, taught lots of things to us. Now we can speak basic Sinhala, we learned the habits of their lives: For example, eating with our hands. In Belgium we eat with knife and fork. So, the first days we were very clumsy. But some days later we become very good at it. We went with them to the temple on a Poyaday; a very important Buddhist day. This gave us a chance to learn about their religion. We have the feeling like we have a second mom and dad and also lots of brothers and sisters.

Everybody was working so hard to give us a great time. It is certainly an experience we never forget. And if we have the chance we want to get this experience again. And as we already knew it was very difficult to say goodbye to our new family and friends. We hope that we can keep contact with the people here with email, because now we have lots of friends there.

Lindy Deroo
Lindy Deroo
Lindy Deroo with friends
Lindy Deroo with friends
Lindy Deroo with friends in Wilpattu National Wildlife Park
Lindy Deroo with friends in Wilpattu National Wildlife Park
Lindy Deroo with friends in Wilpattu National Wildlife Park
Lindy Deroo with friends in Wilpattu National Wildlife Park
In Dambana, with the Veddah chief
In Dambana, with the Veddah chief
Lindy Deroo with friends in Nuwara Eliya
Lindy Deroo with friends in Nuwara Eliya
Lindy Deroo with friends with a tamed elephant
Lindy Deroo with friends with a tamed elephant

5. Andytje Millimon – Belgium

Andytje Millimon

Andytje Millimon

Andytje Millimon, Lien and Lindy Deroo from Belgium visited Horizon Lanka in December 2005 and worked at Horizon for a month. See the tour report on their experiences while they were in Horizon Lanka.

Before I tell you about Horizon Lanka and our experiences as volunteers there, we want to introduce us. We are Lindy, Andy and Lien, 3 young people from Belgium. We just finished with school. Lien and Andy are nurses and I am a social educator. Before we wanted to look for a job, we decided to travel for 4 months in the Asian countries of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. But because we wanted to make a combination between holidays and pick up experiences, we choose to do volunteer work in some of the countries. In India we worked in the Mother Theresa temples, we helped the sisters to take care of the sick people and people with disabilities.

With help of our travel agency we found the Horizon Lanka Academy. Because it was very busy before we left, we had less information about the work that we have to do there. But we knew that we were to be welcomed there and that a family was waiting for us. So that was enough to get our backpack and go for the adventure. After a long drive with the car, we arrived in a little village called Mahawilachchiya. We stopped in the school Horizon Lanka. Our first impression was: where are we now? We had the feeling that we were dropped in the middle of nowhere. We saw the little huts with tables and chairs. No classrooms? But when we walked into the little building, we were amazed. It was a room with computers with connection to the Internet. And the amazement didn’t stop. The next day they brought a TV with a DVD player donated by some sponsor. Everything that the school has is bought with money from donations. What a good initiative?

When we heard the working of the school, we were very surprised. Horizon Lanka is a private initiative that organizes lessons on Saturdays for children of the village. The children come on their own initiative to school. What a difference than Belgium?

In Horizon Lanka, they teach several subjects for example: mathematics, sports, English, computers, etc. The other days the school is open for adult students who want to use the computers and the internet. The first day we were confused about their work. But in the meanwhile we had the time to learn the habits of the family and the Sri Lankan people. We met the students. Day by day it was made clear what they expected about us; be yourself and use your talents for teaching the children. In the beginning we were insecure because we were not teachers, but we noticed that it’s not necessary to have experience, to teach the children. Just speaking English and talking to them is teaching. They learn so much out of a conversation. The children really want to learn and take every chance they get. So, during the week we talked and chatted with the students, we played cricket and badminton with them, help them with their homework. On Saturday we helped the teachers conduct lessons. To the smallest children we taught how to say their names, ask others’ names and read the clock in English. We talk about sports with them. For teaching them you can use your creativity. An example we used: we drew something on the blackboard and the children had to guess what it was and write the correct name on the blackboard. So they played and learnt at the same time. And with the older students we talked about different countries and famous places in the world to teach them geography. We give a PowerPoint presentation to the students about the important places we visited in Nepal, India and Indonesia. So, the students learnt about the culture in other countries. We had also a very good contact with the teachers. They were very interested in the education system in Belgium. And they explained us the system and the way of working in Sri Lanka.

The teachers are very open minded and want to learn things from us. But we also learned a lot of them. If we had questions about teaching the students they helped us as much as possible. It depends what your talents and interests are and you can choose which subject you teach. You’re never forced to do something you don’t want. The staff of Horizon Lanka also has a great philosophy about volunteer work.

They want to make a combination between work and pleasure. So they organize trips to the city Anuradhapura to visit the famous places like Sri Maha Boddhi, Mihinthale, and Thantirimale. So, there is a good balance between work and pleasure. From the first moment we were there, we had a nice time and a good feeling. The families were we stayed with were so friendly. They gave us a homely feeling. They made great food for us, taught lots of things to us. Now we can speak basic Sinhala, we learned the habits of their lives: For example, eating with our hands. In Belgium we eat with knife and fork. So, the first days we were very clumsy. But some days later we become very good at it. We went with them to the temple on a Poyaday; a very important Buddhist day. This gave us a chance to learn about their religion. We have the feeling like we have a second mom and dad and also lots of brothers and sisters.

Everybody was working so hard to give us a great time. It is certainly an experience we never forget. And if we have the chance we want to get this experience again. And as we already knew it was very difficult to say goodbye to our new family and friends. We hope that we can keep contact with the people here with email, because now we have lots of friends there.

Andytje Millimon with Lindy and Mr. Wanni
Andytje Millimon with Lindy and Mr. Wanni
Andytje Millimon with students
Andytje Millimon with students
Andytje Millimon with students
Andytje Millimon with students
Andytje Millimon with students
Andytje Millimon with students
In Dambana, with the Veddah chief in Dambana
In Dambana, with the Veddah chief in Dambana
Andytje Millimon in Nuwara Eliya
Andytje Millimon in Nuwara Eliya
In Habarana, with tamed elephants
In Habarana, with tamed elephants
In Habarana, with tamed elephants
In Habarana, with tamed elephants
With a porcupine
With a porcupine
With a baby
With a baby

IT Giant Imtel Commends Sri Lanka’s Efforts to Bridge the Digital Divide -ICTA – December 14, 2005

Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret
Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret
Radhika, Ruvini, Iresha and Nanda Wanninayaka with Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barret

The highest ranking professional in global IT industry to visit Sri Lanka, Intel Chairman Dr. Craig Barrett arrived in the island 8 th December 05. His arrival marked growing investor confidence in Sri Lanka as a destination for technology adoption and ICT enabled development. Intel has been working in close partnership with Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and recently announced the launch of the “eSri Lanka PC”, a programme that seeks to improve PC penetration and usage in the country.

The purpose of Dr. Barrett’s visit is to meet with His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to signal Intel’s growing commitment to Sri Lanka. In a swift response to His Excellency’s request in October 2005, Intel is now embarking on a national teacher training programme, Teach to the Future in partnership with ICTA and the Ministry of Education. During this visit, Dr. Barrett congratulated His Excellency for setting up an apex body, the ICT Agency, to oversee ICT development of the country, an achievement even the US has not been able realize.

Intel’s Teach to the Future programme is a worldwide effort to help teachers to integrate technology into instruction, to develop students’ higher-order thinking skills, and enhance learning. The ultimate goal is 100,000 trained teachers. Intel will also undertake to set up regional training centres, to ensure localisation and translation of training content and create teacher networks to ensure teacher support and motivation following their training.

Dr Barrett addressed a gathering of over 750 members of the Sri Lankan ICT community at a grand event held in Colombo on the 9 th of December 05. During this multimedia presentation, he outlined Intel’s vision of working towards a digitally advantaged Sri Lanka. The artfully structured presentation was interspersed with video presentations and onstage interactions with Sri Lankans who have taken ICT to the next level in several fields. In the field of entrepreneurship, Harsha Purasinghe, CEO Microimage, presented his work with local language mobile applications. Rural ICT, and the real potential of, was demonstrated by Nandasiri Wanninayaka and his students of Horizon’s Lanka Foundation. Video presentations showed progress of the ICTA Nanasala project and highlighted the ultimate possibilities achievable through technology, as narrated through the Kandurupitiya Kudathammanava viduhala story. The highlight of the event was the live demonstration of WiMax technology through a video conferencing between Dr. Barrett and the Mayor of Galle.

The Government of Sri Lanka has shown a great commitment to using ICT as an enabler for development. Sri Lanka though its e-Sri Lanka project implemented by ICTA has sent a clear message to the world that the country is a serious player in the ICT arena. Dr. Barrett’s visit to Sri Lanka is a clear indication that the world is ready to take Sri Lanka seriously!