Microsoft, in collaboration with Ministry of Telecom and Digital Infrastructure and Sarvodaya-Fusion organised this event #YouthSparkLive at Trace expert City on December 3rd , to inspire youth in Colombo to learn coding, get right advice on career guidance, and have tons of fun doing that. The reason for Microsoft to have this event in Colombo was because youth in colombo were excited after seeing the 5000 youth training program happening in rural Sri Lanka.
The event is simple in design: full of energy, lots of space, bean bags, music, laughter, networking, talks by IT industry leaders, one on one career counselling sessions, and finally a coding relay where teams of 3, from Universities, schools etc compete getting through code.org coding modules. The fastest to complete the given modules, win.
One of the teams was from Nisala Nenasala, Udubaddawa. This centre led by Santhusa Jayathilaka was one of the first Grass Root Partners of Sarvodaya-Fusion since 2008. I was happy to see them there, competing shoulder to shoulder with leading universities and schools in Colombo. There was so much energy in the hall, I did a facebook live session ( first in my life).
Something magical happened. The team from Udubaddawa won.
A team of 3 young boys from rural Kurunegala -unassuming, calm, focused, enthusiastic in their hearts, understanding internet has finally levelled the opportunity to anyone in the world, proved, surprised all ( including me) that tech education is Sri Lanka is ripe for disruption.
What brought me to Sarvodaya-Fusion in 2006, was my belief that basic IT education and ability to read and speak English will help any rural youth to find opportunities fitting their passion and strength.
We’ve been doing this for more than a decade. We saw the transformation through out, but on this day, these young men shattered doubts in anyone’s mind -they are capable of careers in IT, with proper guidance, confidence and unconditional belief in them.
Cheers to team at Microsoft, especially Janakie Karunaratne and Wellington Perera.