A Farmer’s Son Becomes a Qualified Accountant

Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna

Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna
My name is Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna. I am a graduate of commerce in the University of Sri Jayewardenepura – the best university in Sri Lanka for Management and Commerce studies. In 2010, I finished Advanced Level Examination with 3 A-passes. I also completed a couple of other professional qualifications to advance in my career path. Now I have been working as Junior Executive of Demand Planning in Sunshine Healthcare Lanka Ltd. This is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Sri Lanka.

I grew up in a rural village named Mahawilachchiya as a son of a farmer and a housewife. If not for the education I received from Horizon Lanka, maybe I would have ended up as yet another farmer by taking over my father’s field. My first encounter with a computer was at Horizon Lanka. No word could describe the magical feeling I got while I was drawing my first painting on MS Paint program that day. I then learnt about the Internet, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, etc. I could even be able to create web pages which were a huge deal at the time. 5 years spent at Horizon Lanka had changed my life and my attitudes towards life forever. Not only education, Horizon Lanka also gave me financial support, a used computer and then a brand new laptop to ease my education.

Thanks to Horizon Lanka, I started thinking big. Not only it opened our world to the modern world outside, it equipped us with the skills and the knowledge needed to join that world. And I am deeply grateful for that.

Now I am able to fulfill my parents’ dream. They always want us to have a better life than they had. They dream of us being successful in whatever profession we choose.

Now I am working in Supply Chain and moving to Finance. I have completed CAD II Level at the Institute of Chartered Accountants. With this degree, I hope to join MAS Holdings, Brandix or Unilever to get more experience in this field. My next dream is to finish an MBA and have my own business.

Life has changed so much since I was that little boy who saw the computer for the first time at Horizon Lanka. I will never forget that thanks to those early days, I am now able to see my dream more clearly and work my way to achieve it.

I am thankful for Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka.

Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura
Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna at the University of Sri Jayawardenepura
Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna at his university
Tharanga Sampath Senavirathna at his university

 

A Bicycle for My 13th Birthday – Thank You Dinidu

Aruni Apsara Wewalage

Aruni Apsara Wewalage

I got a great present for my birthday from Dinidu Samaranayake, the only son of Mr. Nuwan and Mrs. Kumari Samaranayake. I received a new bicycle as the birthday gift from them. The bicycle is black and it is very beautiful. I can ride it very fast. I like it. My old bicycle is broken and I couldn’t go to school by bicycle. I had to walk to school every day. My family can’t afford a new one so I am very glad that Mr. Samaranayake gave me the bike.

I thank the Samaranayake family for helping me. Not only this, they are sponsoring me with a MicroScholarship and also paid for the expenses of the Czech volunteer who we are hosting at our home. I can learn English very fast with her.

I would like to go by bike to school with my friends – Sachini, Nimanthitha, Prabodha and Tharani. But they don’t have bikes because their parents need bikes at work. So, it would be great if those who read this page can help those girls to buy bicycles.

Aruni Apsara Wewalage – Grade 8 – Horizon Lanka Academy

Aruni on her new bicycle on her birthday
Aruni on her new bicycle on her birthday
Aruni and her mother
Aruni and her mother

Horizon Lanka Gets a New CDMA Phone Connection

kids with a CDMA phone

kids with a CDMA phoneAfter reading this story in our website, a gentleman in Australia sent the necessary money to Horizon Lanka to buy a CDMA phone. He prefers to remain anonymous. We thank him for the generous donation.

Now that we have a phone, we can pass the messages to our friends and families while we are at Horizon Lanka. We also learn phone communication ethics from our staff. We bought a Dialog CDMA phone connection as they have the best coverage and the cheapest rates. Besides, Dialog Axiata has helped us several times in the past.

Tharani Madhara Rathnayaka Grade 8 tharani@horizonlanka.org

Tharani calling home from Horizon Lanka
Tharani calling home from Horizon Lanka

A Water Filter for Mahawilachchiya Rural Hospital

RO Water Filter

RO Water FilterThe RO water filter installed in Mahawilachchiya Rural Hospital is broken for a few months now. Once Kularathna Rajapaksha of Mahawilachchiya raised funds to repair it but recently, a technician confirmed this is beyond repair now. Around 3000 patients are treated monthly at the Out Patients Department (OPD) and around 300 patients are treated in the two wards per month.

Mahawilachchiya is one of the villages in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD.) As a result, everyone is advised to drink filtered water. People in the village will thank you all if you can contribute to install a brand new RO water filter in the hospital premises. (Earlier, Horizon Lanka was instrumental in finding a donation through Lak Saviya Foundation, Australia to donate a backup generator to the same hospital.)

A new 150 LPH (liters per hour) RO purifier will cost 292,000 LKR (2006 USD.) The Hospital Committee will take care of the maintenance cost. If you can contribute to this, please contact us through info@horizonlanka.org. We will ensure every cent is transparently spent and a good quality machine is installed.

Nimanditha Thathsarani Disanayaka and Prabodha Sandeepani Kalotuwawa of Grade 8

The broken RO water filter in Mahawilachchiya Rural Hospital
The broken RO water filter in Mahawilachchiya Rural Hospital
The broken RO filter in Mahawilachchiya hospital
The broken RO filter in Mahawilachchiya hospital
The broken RO filter in Mahawilachchiya hospital
The broken RO filter in Mahawilachchiya hospital
The broken RO filter in Mahawilachchiya hospital
The broken RO filter in Mahawilachchiya hospital

Donate Bicycles for Horizon Lanka Students – A Bicycle for Each Student

Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village

Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the villageMahawilachchiya is a village shadowed by the great Wipattu National Park of Sri Lanka. Despite its remoteness, Mahawilachchiya’s residents maintain an amazing green lifestyle with limit of plastic consumption, oil-engine usage and garbage produce. You would be amazed by how clean and organized this village is the first time you step foot here.

Almost every household has a bicycle which is mainly used by the children for school and everyday commute. Children love their bicycles. Whenever you don’t see them at home or studying, they are on their bicycles wandering around the village.

The bike allows the students to participate in more social and community events which make them more active, out-going and tighten their relationship with others. Moreover, it’s easy to see that the amount of workout bicycling requires has made the kids more physically strong and lessen common diseases. Not to mention the positive effect this type of commute could bring to the environment.

Bicycling is an all-in-one type of commute that we want to promote to more and more people. At Horizon Lanka, there are even bicycles for the kids to lend if their family could not afford one. Unfortunately, we still don’t have enough for the ones in need. The problem is that even is some families possess a bicycle, the parents and the other members of the families constantly want to use the bicycles for their day to day chores depriving young students to use them.  Hence they have to walk distances and be late for schools.

There are 5 girls who are in need of a bicycle: Aruni, Nimanditha, Proboda, Sachini, and Tharani (in alphabetical order.) Since none of their family could afford one, we are raising money to buy all of them new bicycles. These bicycles will be used mainly by them for school and other activities, however, will be lend to other children at Horizon Lanka whenever someone in need. (The ownership of the bicycle will remain with Horizon Lanka and we will assign the bicycles to the children as long as they are students of Horizon Lanka and if and when the relationship ceases, we will assign those bicycles to some other student at Horizon Lanka.

These 5 bicycles will surely bring joy and happiness to these girls and many other kids at Horizon Lanka. We are calling for help and support from our long-term friends, well-wishers, partners to make their wishes come true. Once these girls get sponsorship to the bicycles, we will seek help to provide bicycles to the five boys.

A used Japanese bicycle cost with the repair costs will be around 10,000 LKR (68.53 USD / 61.70 EUR.)  You can donate this amount to Horizon Lanka through https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/empowering-children-in-rural-sri-lanka or by sending money to our bank account. For bank details, please drop an email to info@horizonlanka.org.

Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village

Bicycling, along with being the most efficient mode of human locomotion, is also one of the best all-around activities for improving our health. From head to toes, cycling’s health benefits are hard to beat.

7 Health Benefits of Cycling

  1. Cycling is good for your heart: Cycling is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease.
  2. Cycling is good for your muscles: Riding a bike is great for toning and building your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body – your calves, your thighs, and your rear end. It’s also a great low-impact mode of exercise for those with joint conditions or injuries to the legs or hips, which might keep them from being active.
  3. Cycling is good for your waistline: You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace, and cycling has been associated with helping to keep weight gain down. And cycling has the added benefit of ramping up your metabolism, even after the ride is over.
  4. Cycling is good for your lifespan: Bicycling is a great way to increase your longevity, as cycling regularly has been associated with increased ‘life-years’, even when adjusted for risks of injury through cycling.
  5. Cycling is good for your coordination: Moving both feet around in circles while steering with both your hands and your body’s own weight is good practice for your coordination skills.
  6. Cycling is good for your mental health: Riding a bike has been linked to improved mental health.
  7. Cycling is good for your immune system: Cycling can strengthen your immune system, and could protect against certain kinds of cancers.
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village
Horizon Lanka students riding bicycles in the village

Sponsor a Sri Lankan Student at Horizon Lanka – MicroScholarships Project

Horizon Lanka Students

Horizon Lanka StudentsMahawilachchiya is a rural village adjacent to Sri Lanka’s biggest wildlife park, Wilpattu. Most of the young villagers here are unemployed or underemployed. The avenues open to them are low productive agriculture and work in garment factories. Most options, especially agriculture, do not generate a living wage, forcing these people into a vicious circle without the ability to come out of poverty. Thus, for the rural students to be able to come out of poverty and to be competitive in obtaining jobs with living wages the education they receive and their English abilities and ICT proficiency need to improve.

Here at Horizon Lanka, our work is not only focused on providing these kids with better education but also to help them prepare for their future mentally and financially.

We started our MicroScholarships Project 15 years ago aiming to get the students funded for their future. Since last 15 years the Horizon Lanka Foundation has produced a large number of ICT professionals including computer engineers, engineers, doctors, accountants, teachers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. and now they are doing very well in their careers. We also invite them to sponsor a student at Horizon Lanka.

If you want to contribute to this project, please do so through https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/empowering-children-in-rural-sri-lanka or send an email to info@horizonlanka.org to get our bank details. The total amount for a full yer of sponsoring a child is 24000 LKR (147.96 EUR / 165 USD)

These are the students waiting in line to be sponsored.

  1. Nimanditha Thathsarani (Grade 8) (To be sponsored)
  2. Prabodha Sandeepani (Grade 8) (To be sponsored)
  3. Aruni Apsara (Grade 8) (Sponsored by Dinidu Samaranayake, Houston USA)
  4. Sachini Tharuka (Grade 8) (To be sponsored)
  5. Tharani  Madhara (Grade 8) (Sponsored by Himidri, Houston USA)
  6. Nimesh Chaminda (Grade 8) (To be sponsored)
  7. Surendra Heshan (Grade 8) (To be sponsored)
  8. Kavindu Madusanka (Grade 8) (To be sponsored)
  9. Ashen Chandoopa (Grade 7) (To be sponsored)
  10. Gihan Buddhika (Grade 7) (To be sponsored)

This is how the project works:

  1. We start a separate bank account to receive sponsorship money and transfer that money to students’ individual bank accounts in the village Rural Bank.
  2. Out of every donation of 2,000 LKR (13.70 USD / 12.33 EUR) per month, the students have to pay 500 LKR (3.42 USD / 3.08 EUR) for Horizon Lanka as class fees and Horizon Lanka retains another 500 LKR (3.42 USD / 3.08 EUR) for the admin cost of the Horizon Lanka. The students can retain 1,000 LKR in their personal bank accounts to save for future needs such as high school expenses, college expenses, university expenses, etc. In addition to this, Horizon Lanka also provides each student a regular bicycle, a laptop and course books and dictionaries free of charge. This justifies the 50% of their scholarship money going to Horizon Lanka as this helps the student and the sustainability of the Horizon Lanka Foundation. {The total amount for a full yer of sponsoring a child is 24000 LKR (147.96 EUR / 165 USD) }
  3. Everyone can donate through their credit cards in safety guaranteed site through https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/empowering-children-in-rural-sri-lanka or directly depositing money in our bank account. Write to info@horizonlanka.org to get our bank details.
  4. We will send each of the donors who donate money a scanned copy of fund transfers to students’ account and a scanned copy of Horizon Lanka bank statement every three months.
  5. We will also send a scanned copy of students’ progress reports after the end of every term tests.

To ensure your money be in good use:

  1. Each student is expected to write a minimum of 2 emails per month, one video on YouTube per month explaining their academic achievements to the sponsor with the supervision of the Manager of Horizon Lanka, Miss Anupama.
  2. Each student is expected to maintain a personal web page inside Horizon Lanka domain and update it minimum 2 updates per month. (Once there is reliable internet access the student is expected to have 4 updates a month.)
  3. Each student is expected to maintain a small home garden to provide organic fruits and vegetables for their home consumption.

We are doing our best to make sure that every penny you spend is in help of these children’s future. 15$ a month will let one kid secure their way to advance education, raise their chance to have a better life. We believe you know how much your help means to us and we are deeply thankful.

Horizon Lanka students
Some of the Horizon Lanka students
Horizon Lanka students
Some of the Horizon Lanka students

HORIZON LANKA WORKSHOPS – 02 – FREE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE (FOSS)

NImanditha Thathsarani

NImanditha ThathsaraniThe idea of conducting weekend workshops at Horizon Lanka came from Mr. Danishka Navin, a Linux enthusiast and a Fedora contributor. He also contributes to LibreOffice and Mozilla/Firefox projects. He is also the Founder of Akura, a students welfare foundation. As a result, Horizon Lanka Foundation held the first weekend workshop on ICT last weekend – July 02 and 03, 2016. (We are open to other subject areas such as English, science, mathematics, dancing, music, drawing and sports also if there are any local volunteers to teach the children in Mahawilachchiya free of charge during weekends.)

This weekend Danishka invited two local volunteers Mr. Namal Jayasuriya and Mr. Lakshith Ekanayake from the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) to hold the workshop. They arrived at Horizon Lanka on Friday night to hold a workshop on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Namal and Laksith held the ICT workshop on July 9, 2016. Both of them are graduates from the prestigious University Of Colombo. Currently they work at the UCSC research lab.

They installed Fedora 24 in all our PCs and laptops and students too learnt how to install Linux with Windows as a dual boot option. They also taught students to use Libre Office. We thank them and Danishka for organizing the workshop.

Mr. Namal Jayasuriya and Mr. Lakshith Ekanayake teaching the students
Mr. Namal Jayasuriya and Mr. Lakshith Ekanayake teaching the students
Mr. Namal Jayasuriya teaching the students
Mr. Namal Jayasuriya teaching the students

 

Horizon Lanka e-Mentoring Project

Horizon Lanka Students

Horizon Lanka StudentsE-mentoring Project is designed with the hope of bettering Horizon Lanka students’ academic and extracurricular performance by communicating electronically through, emails, social networking, chatting with text, audio and video, etc. Here each student is introduced to a known e-mentor (both local and foreign people with good English commnicative skills) to communicate with a student electronically with the outright supervision of a staff member at Horizon Lanka. If you have free time and ready to help a student at Horizon Lanka please let us know through info@horizonlanka.org. With a brief communication, we will assign a student to you

Code of Ethics for the Students

  1. Write an email at least once a week to your assigned e-mentor. Copy all emails to Miss Anupama anupama@horizonlanka.org, who is a staff member of Horizon Lanka and the coordinator of e-Mentors project.
  2. Do not request any favors from the e-mentor assigned to you, unless the e-mentor is willing to help. E-mentoring program is designed to improve your academic skills. Not to help you financially. For that we have a separate project called MicroScholarships.
  3. You may request your e-mentor to add you in social media if they wish to do so. However, communication should take place only while a staff member of Horizon Lanka is present in the computer lab.
  4. Always be respectful towards the e-mentor. The approved salutations are Mr. Mrs. Miss & Ms. when addressing one’s e-mentor, unless they request not to do so and address them using their first name.
  5. You are free to communicate with your appointed e-mentor, about your academic goals, relating to education and scholarship, extracurricular activities, your aims and goals for your future. etc. If they request information about you family composition, your age and birthday, etc., it’s OK to accede to that request.
  6. All communications should be approved by Miss Anupama or any other staff member(s) present in the computer lab before being sent.

For the e-Mentors 

  1. All communication with the student must be cc’d to Miss Anupama anupama@horizonlanka.org so that she could moderate the communication as and when necessary.
  2. The students are not supposed to request anything of monetary value from the e-mentor. But, if you are satisfied with a student’s performance and wish to help the student further, you may provide them with any material help,  preferably with an educational value (such as DVDs, USB pens, computer related equipment, books, etc.) with the approval of Miss Anupama.
  3. You are most welcome to visit the students of Horizon Lanka at the premises or their homes with prior notice to Miss Anupama.
  4. You are free to discuss your cultural values with the student, with the hope that they get exposure to the wide world outside, thereby improving and enhancing their own outlook & values to suit to the present day world, considering these are children from rural Sri Lanka.
  5. You are free to help the students with academic and career guidance when they reach high school, college or university levels. Horizon Lanka encourages the students to go for higher studies in both local and foreign higher educational institutes and if possible, help the students secure scholarships, bursaries, grants, etc.
  6. Try your best to pay attention to use correct grammar, spelling, upper case and lower case, etc. when you communicate with the students as they are penalized in the school system in Sri Lanka for wrong English.
Horizon Lanka Students
Horizon Lanka Students
Horizon Lanka Students
Horizon Lanka Students

 

Horizon Lanka Workshops – 01 – FREE AND OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE (FOSS)

Horizon Lanka Students

Horizon Lanka StudentsThe idea of conducting weekend workshops at Horizon Lanka came from Mr. Danishka Navin, a Linux enthusiast and a Fedora contributor. He also contributes to LibreOffice and Mozilla/Firefox projects. He is also the Founder of Akura, a students welfare foundation. As a result, Horizon Lanka Foundation held the first weekend workshop on ICT last weekend – July 02 and 03, 2016. (We are open to other subject areas such as English, science, mathematics, dancing, music, drawing and sports also if there are any local volunteers to teach the children in Mahawilachchiya free of charge during weekends.)

This weekend local volunteer Mr. Nuwan Indika held a workshop on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) on July 02 and July 03, 2016. Nuwan is a graduate of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) and currently working as a Software Engineer in Colombo. In addition to his day job, he is contributing to Fedora Project as an Ambassador.

Nuwan Indika
Nuwan Indika
Horizon Lanka Students
Horizon Lanka Students
Horizon Lanka students at the workshop
Horizon Lanka students at the workshop
Horizon Lanka students at the workshop
Horizon Lanka students at the workshop
Horizon Lanka students at the workshop
Horizon Lanka students at the workshop
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka, Mr. Wasantha Athapaththu and Mr. Nuwan Indika with the students
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka with the students
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka, Mr. Nuwan Indika with the students
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka, Mr. Nuwan Indika with the students
A lesson on an inside of a computer
A lesson on an inside of a computer
Some of the parents of the Horizon Lanka students
Some of the parents of the Horizon Lanka students