Who is Malala?

Horizon Lanka students with Malala's picture as the walpapetr in their PCs.
Horizon Lanka’s Malalas with Malala’s picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.

Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation

Despite all the conspiracy theories against her, I am a great admirer of Malala Yousafzai, world’s youngest ever Nobel laureate from one of our neighboring countries, Pakistan. Like most of the other non-Pakistanis, I too heard about her after being shot by the Talibans on October 9, 2012. I followed news casts after that about her deteriorating health and near death experiences. Just like the rest of you, I too was shocked as to how on earth a man can shoot such an innocent and beautiful butterfly like Malala (or any other child for that matter.) I was relieved once I heard the news that she would survive.

Horizon Lanka students with Malala's picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.
Horizon Lanka students with Malala’s picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.

Ever since I followed news about her. After her book “I am Malala” was published, I immediately downloaded the audio version of the book and listened to it zillion times. I still do. I also downloaded the e-book version and read that too. As if it was not enough, I also bought the printed book and read that too. Read my blog post about Malala’s autobiography “I am Malala” in here.

Horizon Lanka's Malalas with Malala's picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.
Horizon Lanka’s Malalas with Malala’s picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.

I also recommended the book I am Malala to the university undergraduates who learned English and English literature from me and they enjoyed discussing and reading it a lot. I made it the compulsory book to read and discuss with the English and English literature class I am doing for English teachers and young graduates who learn from me at Horizon Lanka. She is a big inspiration to them as well.

Horizon Lanka students with Malala's picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.
Horizon Lanka students with Malala’s picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.

Recently, I found a good picture of Malala with her famous slogan “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world” in the background. I set the image as the wallpaper of my laptop. Not only that, I set it as the wallpaper in my mobile phone also. So, the Horizon Lanka students asked who that cute girl was. I said she is Malala. Then my students asked the same question the Taliban terrorist asked Malala seconds before shooting her, “Who is Malala?”

Malala's picture as my laptop's wallpaper
Malala’s picture as my laptop’s wallpaper
Malala's picture as my mobile phone's wallpaper
Malala’s picture as my mobile phone’s wallpaper

Then I opened up the Wikipedia page about her and some of the images taken while she was wounded and her speeches, interviews, etc. in YouTube and briefed about her life and the great risks she took in fighting for the right for girls’ education. My students were greatly inspired and wanted to set the same image of Malala I used as my wallpaper in the other 10 PCs at Horizon Lanka too. This is how their PCs look like now. I don’t know when they will replace with someone/something else but definitely not any sooner according to their love towards Malala. Now all the girls here want to be Malalas.

malala-horizonlanka5
Horizon Lanka students with Malala’s picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.

Sri Lanka does not have a big issue when it comes to girls’ education. In most of the schools, colleges and universities girls constitute more than the boys even in challenging fields such as technical, engineering, medical, etc. fields. Even Muslim girls here excel in higher education and in professional careers. But we need more Malalas here to promote education among both girls and boys, especially in rural areas where there is less facilities and urge to go for higher education.

Horizon Lanka students with Malala's picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.
Horizon Lanka students with Malala’s picture as the wallpaper in their PCs.

Sunday Movie at Horizon Lanka – 2 – Zathura: A Space Adventure 

Zathura: A Space Adventure Poster
Zathura: A Space Adventure Poster

Last Sunday (December 20, 2015), we showed the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure at Horizon Lanka Foundation, Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. This is a very beautiful movie on a space related plot. It was an adventurous thriller.

A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure

Zathura: A Space Adventure  is an American science fiction fantasy adventure film directed by Jon Favreau, and is loosely based on the illustrated book Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg, author of Jumanji. The film stars Josh HutchersonJonah BoboDax ShepardKristen Stewart, and Tim Robbins.” – Wikipedia

A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure

On Sunday 13, December 2015, we started showing a movie at Horizon Lanka Foundation. This continues every Sunday sharp at 7.00 pm. The movie we select can be enjoyed by all age levels from kids to older people. We show good movies in any language which are subtitled in English for the audience to learn some English too while having fun. Movies are shown free of charge purely on educational (or rather edutainment) purposes. We have a multimedia projector and a screen along with a decent sound system which give the audience a better movie experience. Showing English subtitled movies has been very effective in students getting very good grades at the national level English examinations in the past. Reading English subtitles is a catalyst for the students to venture into reading English language books, etc. too.

It was unanimously agreed to go ahead with the movie schedule even if there is a wedding, a funeral or a religious, etc. event in the village. If these sporadic events are taken for granted, we will hardy have a chance to screen a movie in a village where there is a 22,000-strong population. Visit http://mahawilachchiya.ds.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=57&lang=en for more statistics about Mahawilachchiya. We will cancel the movies only if there is a national catastrophe. (Luckily there hasn’t been any such incident since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami  that devastated the coastal belt of Sri Lanka and a few of our neighboring countries.)

A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
Kristen Stewart, a star of the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure
A scene from the movie Zathura: A Space Adventure

 

Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance at Horizon Lanka

Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance

We are practicing a dance item for the popular song Ivan Pavuloosha these days. We hope to perform this dance item at our forthcoming concert in January 2016. The original song of this dance item was produced as a special project of University of Colombo. If you know more about this song, please add them as comments below this page. You can see the original song in YouTube below these pictures of our dancers.

Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance
Horizon Lanka Dancers Practicing Ivan Pavuloosha Dance

Sunday Movie at Horizon Lanka – 1 – George of the Jungle

A still from the movie George of the Jungle
A still from the movie George of the Jungle

From last Sunday (December 13, 2015), we started showing a movie at Horizon Lanka Foundation sharp at 7.00 pm. This will continue every Sunday evening. The movie we select can be enjoyed by all age levels from kids to older people. Movie will be screened even if the number of audience is just one. We show good movies in any language which are subtitled in English for the audience to learn some English too while having fun. Movies are shown free of charge purely on educational (or rather edutainment) purposes. We have a multimedia projector and a screen along with a decent sound system which give the audience a better movie experience.

George of the Jungle movie poster
George of the Jungle movie poster

It was unanimously agreed to go ahead with the movie schedule even if there is a wedding, a funeral or a religious, etc. event in the village. If these sporadic events are taken for granted, we will hardy have a chance to screen a movie in a village where there is a 22,000-strong population. Visit http://mahawilachchiya.ds.gov.lk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=57&lang=en for more statistics about Mahawilachchiya. We will cancel the movies only if there is a national catastrophe. (Luckily there hasn’t been any such incident since the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami  that devastated the coastal belt of Sri Lanka and a few of our neighboring countries.)

A scene from the movie George of the Jungle
A scene from the movie George of the Jungle

Everybody attended the screening of the movie George of the Jungle enjoyed it a lot as it was a Tarzan-like movie full of fun and adventure. Showing English subtitled movies has been very effective in students getting very good grades at the national level English examinations in the past. Reading English subtitles is a catalyst for the students to venture into reading English language books, etc. too.

Horizon Lanka Upgrades its Computers to Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2010

DiGiTECH COMPUTERS team installing new software at Horizon Lanka
DiGiTECH COMPUTERS team installing new software at Horizon Lanka

DiGiTECH COMPUTERS in Anuradhapura, the company which we bought our computers from, upgraded the operating system of our computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2007 to 2010 on our request today. They also did the servicing of the PCs. They did not charge any money for the services.

Now we practice computers with the new operating system. Windows 10 is easier to operate than Windows 7. We like Office 2010 too. We want to upgrade our knowledge with the new software.

DiGiTECH COMPUTERS team installing new software at Horizon Lanka
DiGiTECH COMPUTERS team installing new software at Horizon Lanka
DiGiTECH COMPUTERS team installing new software at Horizon Lanka
DiGiTECH COMPUTERS team installing new software at Horizon Lanka

An Arduino Electronic Development Kit from Mr. Chinthaka Porawagama from the USA

Arduino Electronic Development Kit
Arduino Electronic Development Kit
Chinthaka-Porawagama1
Mr. Chinthaka Porawagama

Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation

Mr. Chinthaka Porawagama, a past pupil of the Central College, Anuradhapura, the same school I studied for Advanced Level for a year in 1990, contacted me after reading one of my blog posts in my personal blog, https://wanni.wordpress.com. According to him, he had been searching for an old book of his childhood which was about Guglielmo Marconi in Google and had found this link in my blog., which had the exact same pictures that his book had and the original article!!!. He was so happy to see this and through my blog he had read about Horizon Lanka. Then he immediately contacted me and asked whether I was interested in receiving an Arduino Electronic Development Kit from him.

Mr. Porawagama now works as an engineer in the United States. He graduated from the University of Peradeniya and University of Moratuwa and then migrated to the United States. He had a passion for electronics since he was a kid, and that’s the reason he loved to do experiments with this type of gadgets.

The main components in the Arduino Electronic Development Kit he donated are these.

  • Arduino – Uno
  • Arduino Mega 2560
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Breadboards & connecting terminals
  • Power supply units for Arduino / Raspberry Pi projects
  • Servo motors (3)
  • Stepper motors (1)
  • Sensors (ultrasound/ proximity/ gyro/ etc.)
  • LCD screen
  • Programmable IR remote
  • Other related stuff

He bought all these components from LankaTronics. (Arduino boards he bought were original ones, since they have their own copies.)

Arduino and Raspberry Pi are fast growing and advancing electronic development trends used by professionals and enthusiasts, and the best thing is that there is a huge online information and knowledge base in the internet which are shared free by the Arduino and Raspberry Pi developer communities.

Chinthaka Porawagama's father donating the Arduino kit to Ramani (Left Chinthaka Porawagama)
Chinthaka Porawagama’s father donating the Arduino kit to Ramani (Left Chinthaka Porawagama)
Arduino Electronic Development Kit with a laptop
Arduino Electronic Development Kit with a laptop

Mr. Porawagama’s parents who live in Sri Lanka brought the kit to Anuradhapura and handed over to a member of Horizon Lanka. We thank Mr. Porawagama and his parents for this kind gesture displayed towards Horizon Lanka Foundation.

If you are new to Arduino and raspberry pi, visit these YouTube links.