Horizon BPO – Providing Jobs for Rural Sri Lankan Youth

Horizon BPO – Providing Jobs for Rural Sri Lankan Youth

Maniyanthoddam is a small fishing village close to Jaffna in Nallur Divisional Secretariat Division and its inhabitants lead just a hand to mouth existence. The underprivileged villagers who had faced the brunt of the thirty-year-long Civil War that raged along the Jaffna peninsula and left most of their houses razed to the ground, are always wondering where their next meal is coming from and a good education for their kids is merely a luxury too exorbitant even to dream about. Many youngsters leave school just after or even during the middle school to join their fishermen fathers in the battle for life in the rough seas.

Even though things are slowly getting back to normal with the restoration of peace after the end of the bitter war, poverty lingers hauntingly behind denying them of many basic needs such as education and jobs for the youth. 

Reverend Father Santhiapillai Sebastian

It is to such a desolate place Reverend Father Santhiapillai Sebastian brings love and hope through his mission to eradicate poverty and provide proper education to the village kids with the assistance of Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF.) Father Sebastian, riding his bike all around the village serves the community as best as he can, without limiting his love and generosity to his own congregation.

Father Sebastian with some of the students of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam

Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam was established in the year 2018 with generous support from local and foreign volunteers.  Quite a number of foreign volunteers have offered their services in teaching the village kids and youth English, IT, sports and fine arts.  The deprived but smart kids have shown their talents in learning fast and persevering to excel in both studies and extra-curricular activities.

Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF), founded in 1998 in Mahawilachchiya, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by a young and innovative teacher, Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka – who prefers to identify himself a coach, an artist and a social entrepreneur; all of which he is, of course – has a lot of experience and expertise in managing community development projects and has provided consultancy to many other organizations and even Sri Lankan government in the best practices and proper management in such ventures.  The HLF has accumulated a lot of ardent fans, well-wishers and supporters both in Sri Lanka and overseas who provide financial, material and service level support and assistance.

BISTEC Global’s CEO, Mr. Johann De Cruz is a longtime supporter and admirer of Horizon Lanka who went an extra mile to provide BPO job opportunities for past students of Horizon Academies through their CSR activities. Recently BISTEC entrusted Horizon Lanka with a Data Extraction Project based on Google Maps.  Currently 10 Horizon Lanka past students are working on the project guided by Horizon Lanka’s former Model e-Village Project Manager, Mr. Ranjith Gunarathne who rejoined as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the HLF, especially to lead its BPO wing.  BISTEC is quite happy with the performance so far and they are planning to extend the BPO work by adding a couple of new projects for which Horizon BPO is eagerly awaiting with high hopes of a long and mutually rewarding relationship.

Ranjith Gunarathne training the youths at Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna

To appreciate and recognize Father Sebastian’s hard work and commitment to the children and the youth in the area the HLF decided to start the BISTEC-supported BPO project at Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna. The performance of the youths there are amazingly satisfactory in the BPO work assigned.

The Horizon Lanka Foundation expects to extend the BPO work opportunities to all its 10 Horizon Academies in Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya, Jaffna, Ampara, Kandy and Kurunegala districts in the coming months.

Other clients also are encouraged to contact us if they have BPO work to be given to the youth in the above districts where Horizon Academies operate.

Contact us on info@horizonlanka.org | Mobile and WhatsApp 0094-777702678

Donate “Essential English Grammar” books by Raymond Murphy for Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Raymond-Murphy-Maniyanthoddam-0
Raymond-Murphy-Maniyanthoddam-0

From the inception that I became a teacher of the English language in 1997, I have used this book “Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy, with students from ages 11 to 19 years [Grade Six to High School (Advanced Level in Sri Lanka)]. This book is inexpensive in Sri Lanka, the cost of one copy being 375 LKR or 2.23 USD, 1.89 EUR. Yet, for the most of the students at Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka, even this is beyond their parents’ means as they do not have a regular source of income, most being day laborers.

Having heard of this situation, Mr. Nalaka Jayarathne, a former student of mine from Niwaththaka Chethiya High School in Anuradhapura, now a software engineer in Singapore, sent 4,000 LKR which enabled us to buy 10 Essential English Grammar books and also one English /Tamil dictionary which usually costs 750 LKR or 45 USD, 3.79 EUR. Ten copies of this book and one dictionary were purchased (with the discount the bookshop in Jaffna offered us for buying 10 books). We distributed these books amongst the senior students who are getting ready to sit the G. C. E. Ordinary Level (a national level examination held this December.) Grade 10, 11 and 12 students. The aim is to complete this book by December. This is mainly a self-study book with ample exercises on basic English grammar. Also, local and foreign volunteer teachers will help the students. The answers and very valuable appendixes are given at the end of the book.

Since Grade 6, 7, 8 and 9 students also wanted the book – they are smarter than the senior students in English – Mr. Lionel Balasuriya, a Sri Lankan American from California, USA, also immediately sent money, sufficient for 10 Essential English Grammar books. These 20 books would be adequate for the students for the present time.

There is also another an adult women’s English class at the Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, solely handled by the foreign volunteer teachers at the Academy and there are around 10 young and middle-aged women in this class. It would be ideal if anyone could please donate 4,000 LKR, [23.74 USD, 20.22 EUR] for us to buy another 10 Essential English Grammar books and one copy of the English to Simple English/Tamil dictionary too. Thank you

Nanda Wanninayaka, Founder & the Chairman of Horizon Lanka Foundation nanda@horizonlanka.org.

Happy 12th graders of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna Sri Lanka with the “Essential English Grammar” book by Raymond Murphy.
Happy 12th graders of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna Sri Lanka with the “Essential English Grammar” book by Raymond Murphy.
“Essential English Grammar” book by Raymond Murphy

Lessons with “Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy

Lessons with “Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy

Lessons with “Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy

Lessons with “Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy
“Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy
“Essential English Grammar” by Raymond Murphy
Little Lifco English-Tamil Dictionary
Little Lifco English-Tamil Dictionary

Opening a Horizon Academy Branch in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Father S. M. Sebastian

Father S. M. Sebastian

Nanda Wanninyaka, Founder and Chairman of the Horizon Lanka Foundation

Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF) was inaugurated in 1998 under the shade of a mango tree in my garden at Mahawilachchiya. The day I started the HLF, I did dream of starting similar academies in Jaffna & Nuwara Eiya where the majority of ethnic minorities reside in Sri Lanka.

But it took me 20 years to realize two of these dreams, thanks to this gentleman named Mr. Gunasegaran Ponniah from Nanu Oya, Nuwara Eliya. He had sent me a letter sometime back in 2014 and sought my help for the public school where he was a teacher at the time.  His was a snail mail, I forgot (or ignored) to answer. It happens with most of the snail mails I (rarely) get. Besides, we were not in a position to help any others at that time, as the HLF too was struggling to survive at the time. (I now strongly believe that I should have answered his letter even with a negative message.)

Sometime in 2015,  when the students were doing a ‘clean up’ of the Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya, one of the girls showed me Gnasegaran’s letter (which was to go to the dustbin, but was destined for something greater), which  I was forced  to answer. Since there was a telephone number, I called Gunasegaran and he answered.  I apologized for not answering his mail and told him that I will not be able to do much without visiting his village. I casually asked him to call me on Fridays to check if I can make it to his village in Nuwara Eliya. Would you believe it?  That he called me  every Friday and reminded me about my (possible) visit for two long years,  till I actually managed to visit him on the Sri Lankan New Year day this April with one of my German volunteer’s;  19-year-old Miss Pauline Dinkel? Such was his commitment, I felt really bad for not visiting him earlier.

With Gunasegaran’s tireless efforts we started a Horizon Academy franchise in Nanu Oya last May with the arrival of two Swiss volunteers Mr. Alain Horst & Mrs. Laura Horst. The official launch will be organized soon. While speaking with Gunasegaran, I asked if he has any contacts in Jaffna who would like to join us to start a Horizon Academy there and he readily introduced Father S. M. Sebastian to me from a little hamlet called Maniyanthoddam in Jaffna. I communicated with the latter via the phone and he sounded the ideal person to have from Jaffna as he commands a lot of respect from the village and elsewhere and also he has amazing organizing skills. He was so patient and soft-spoken and always made allowances for my hasty and abrupt decisions and arrangements.

We scheduled a visit to Maniyanthoddam during a weekend with our foreign volunteers. But I could not make it as I fell ill. But the foreign volunteers from the HLF went ahead with the visit and did a marvelous job by meeting with Father Sebastian and the people there and convincing the people there the importance of stating a Horizon Academy franchise in Maniyanthoddam. Our French volunteer, brave Miss Clara Charrière, a 19-year-old charming young lady from France, instantly decided that she would volunteer in this former troubled land, which was reduced to rubble during the 30-year-old civil war. (All I see in her is the same determination shown by Sarah Jordan Beauford (Angelina Jolie) in the Hollywood movie “Beyond Borders,” a terrific movie made on volunteering in hostile lands.)  Luckily for her, Jaffna is not hostile or troubled anymore. People in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna are very friendly and helpful. I especially like the young there, who ride their motorbikes quite fast at night and still have some time to share a smile with us.

I eventually did visit Maniyanthoddam on May 19th with Clara and Mr. Sagara Kularathna, an employee at Dialog Axiata who was an adult student of mine some years ago and mastered English at a record speed and Miss Paulin Oswald, another 19-year-old French volunteer of Horizon Lanka, who also joined us and said she would love to volunteer at Maniyanthoddam with Clara.

We did a presentation to the students and the parents about HLF and its achievements and the franchise system that we recently introduced to expand the Horizon Academies throughout the island. Clara and Pauline stayed back in Maniyanthoddam at two students’ homes and Sagara and I returned to our respective residences in Colombo and Mahawilachchiya.  On the following Sunday May 26th Sagara and I visited Maniyanthoddam once again , this time Sagara donated his Wi-Fi connection as a personal gift to the Horizon Academy in Maniyanthoddam. All of us trained the children in some dance items and the announcements for the Official Opening Ceremony of the Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam on Saturday 02, June, 2018.

Today I am going to Maniyanthoddam with a few teenage students and their parents and these students will perform with the students from Maniyanthoddam at the Opening Ceremony we have scheduled at 6.00 pm on Saturday 02, June. Please join us at that time and if everything goes as planned, we will livestream the two-hour Opening Ceremony and the concert through Facebook. You may subscribe to my official FB stream at https://www.facebook.com/nanda.wanninayaka.official and that of the Horizon Lanka’s at https://www.facebook.com/horizonlankafoundation/.

Paulin Oswald and Clara Charrière at the Raiway Station, Anuradhapura to board a train to Jaffna
Paulin Oswald and Clara Charrière at the Raiway Station, Anuradhapura to board a train to Jaffna

Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka doing the presentation while Father Sebastian translating it into Tamil
Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka doing the presentation while Father Sebastian translating it into Tamil

Local and foreign volunteers at the presentation
Local and foreign volunteers at the presentation

Proposed building for Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam
Proposed building for Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam

Volunteers and the staff of Horizon Academy - Maniyanthoddam
Volunteers and the staff of Horizon Academy – Maniyanthoddam

Miss Clara Charrière at her host's house
Miss Clara Charrière at her host’s house

Miss Pauline Oswald at her host 's house
Miss Pauline Oswald at her host ‘s house

Pauline with her new friend
Pauline with her new friend

Having dinner with Father Sebastian after work.
Having dinner with Father Sebastian after work.

Roads in Maniyanthoddam
Roads in Maniyanthoddam