November: Arabella Green Donation
Thanks to 12-year old British student Arabella Green, SRI has been able to donate 230 books to Sri Dewananda Central College just outside of Tissa.
Arabella completed a five-kilometre fun run in Derbyshire, England and raised £300 from her family and friends.
We asked Sri Dewananda's school librarian, Mrs Padmini and she requested story books for the younger children and some school text books.
Pictured above left is project manager Jaya with the school principal, Mrs Ramayalatha, the librarian Mrs Padmini and a few of the students.
We were very glad we could give more books to the school library, which we renovated in 2015.
Prior to that, it had been in a terrible condition.
Since the library opened, Mrs Ramayalatha has been very efficient and set up a borrowing programme for the students.
She says it has already made a big difference to the grade five exam results.
This year, 88 students from three parallel classes sat the exam.
Of this number, 11 got more than 156 marks out of 200, while 59 got more than 100 marks.
It was a good school to help as it has over 1,200 students and is one of two schools that takes in students with the top marks after the country's grade five exams.
November: Programming Seminar
A group of computer programmers from Colombo gave up their weekend to come to Tissa to help students on our diploma course. The four spent a Saturday afternoon explaining how programming is used in the corporate world and the job opportunities available.
The seminar was led by Dilan Anushka, a former programmer at MIT and director of Capsurf, a software solutions provider he established with a group of friends.
Dilan is currently updating the course materials for our programming module for 2017 and is helping to design a software solution for the MCTC’s own student registration and monitoring.
October: Logo and Banner Design Workshop
We held a special workshop for our diploma students after they requested extra help with some of the practical elements of their desktop publishing module.
A trainer from a design company in Colombo gave up their time to come to Tissa to teach the workshop.
Students learnt how work with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to create a leaflet, a basic banner and a logo with practical sessions from the trainer.
October: Sponsorship Students
Project manager Jaya is pictured left meeting some of SRI's sponsorship students in our Tissa office.
All of these students are being sponsored by SRI Director Jonathan Back. At the moment he has 65 students.
All of the students come from low income families. Many of their fathers are labourers or paddy farmers, while their mothers are at home looking after other children.
Many of these families are getting by on as little as $30 per month.
September: Hardware Certificate Ceremony
Students from some of our hardware courses came to the centre to pick up their certificates.
Congratulations to MM Dineshaka Prasanna from Hardware II who scored the highest marks.
DW Pawithra Prabodya came top of Hardware III and is now helping Nuwan to repair computers at some of the schools in the area.
Top of hardware IV was RD Aveesha who scored 87% in his final exams.
July: Elephant Awareness Event
We are starting a programme to hold elephant awareness events at different schools in the area.
We are targeting grade nine students as they have less exam pressure but are old enough to understand some of the conflicts between humans and elephants in Sri Lanka.
The sessions are being led by project manager Jaya.
First stop was Pustollamulla School as there are wild elephants in the area.
July: Community Class 46 Finishes
This was one of our biggest Community Classes attracting 33 students to sign up.
Pictured left is deputy MCTC manager Nuwan with some of the students who sat the final exam.
July: Community Class 45 Finishes
A total of 25 students were registered, with 13 passing the final exam.
All these students are A/L level students who were waiting for their their results.
Top marks went to Dilini Akalanki (second row, second from left) who scored 72%.
June: MCTC Trip to Colombo
MCTC Manager Tharindu took some of the diploma students on our one-year course on a one-day trip to Colombo so they could visit a large IT company.
A number of these students had not visited the capital before and almost none of them had spent time in a modern computerised company.
The recruitment manager at Virtusa (pictured left) explained what skills they would need and told them how important it was to learn English as well as IT to have an office-based career.
They also had a tour around the company, which included the large servers it operates.
Lunch was at a modern shopping mall called Majestic City and for quite a few of the students this was their first Kentucky Fried Chicken meal.
After lunch, the group spent time at Unity Plaza next door. This is the main IT hub in Colombo and there are a lot of computer shops and expertise. It is where we source all of our IT parts from, for example.
The was made possible thanks to the MCTC's sponsorship by the UK’s Barclays Bank.
June: MCTC Leadership Training
Mr Jayadewa, the principal of Debarawewa Central College, asked us if we could sponsor a leadership programme he wanted to arrange for the school monitors.
Thanks to a donation from Naveet and Rob McMahon from Hong Kong we were able to do so.
The Principal wanted to teach his students that exams are important, but so is the way they conduct their life.
June: DPPC Special Needs Safari
Thanks to a generous donation from Naveet and Rob McMahon in Hong Kong, we were able to take the special needs children from our special needs centre at Debarawewa President's Primary College (DPPC) on their first safari.
It was also a great occasion to mark the eighth anniversary of the centre we established in 2008.
The centre currently has 24 students of whom twelve have Downs Syndrome, two are deaf, six have autism and four have a range of other disabilities.
They have one teacher, Mrs Isangika and one assistant, Mrs Chamila. The latter is also deaf and first came to our attention when she came to our training centre at Mahasenpura School to learn computing.
We decided to go to Yala National Park for the trip as it is right on the students' doorstep.
We were lucky that the Department of Wildlife allowed the students to come in to Yala free so we only had to pay for the adults’ entrance tickets.
The children were probably most happy on Pataganala beach at the end of the day. We spent one-and-a-half hours here playing in the waves before returning home again.
May: Community Classes Certificate Ceremony
Pictured left are some of the students who came to collect their certificates while SRI Director Mark Bucknall was visiting Sri Lanka.
Thanks to Barclays support for our training centre we were able to continue funding lots of new classes this year.
We awarded certificates to students attending diploma class III, community classes 36 to 43 and kids classes IV and V.
Congratulations to all the students who passed.
April: DPPC Special Needs Lab TV Donation
We donated a computer to our special needs centre at Debarawewa President's Primary College to mark its eighth anniversary.
The school’s IT teacher who is partially-sighted will teach some of the children. The rest will be taught by Mrs Chamila, who is deaf.
She is also being sponsored by the charity and we first came across her when she came to the MCTC to learn computing herself.
March: MCTC Exams
Some 86 students sat their exams for the Microsoft Certificate Course in March.
Here they are pictured with their teacher Thushari and our intern Nisansala outside the centre.
Most of the students completed their O-levels in December and came to the centre for three months to study for the certificate while they wait for their results.
March: Osuwinna IT Parts Donation
Following Nuwan’s grand tour in January, we supplied a large number of IT parts in March.
At Osuwina School, we donated two power units and two RAM cards.
This is one of the remotest schools that SRI serves and is located on the border of Yala National Park towards Katharagama.
March: Ranminithenna IT Parts Donation
The school had a broken LED monitor so we provided a new one to keep its IT lab fully functional.
This is the neigbouring school to Osuwina and also has a very remote location close to Yala National Park.
This was one of the first schools that SRI helped when the charity was set up in 2007.
March: KG05 IT Parts Donation
We donated a power unit and a RAM card to repair the computers at this school.
KG05 is a mid-sized school with about 300 pupils, but because of its rural location it teaches right up to A-levels.
In 2015 we paid to re-wire the IT lab as it only a few plug points, which were getting overloaded.
We also replaced some of the furniture.
March: Uduwila IT Parts Donation
At Nuwan’s request we supplied a new motherboard to keep one of the computers running.
Pictured left are Nuwan and Dineshika one of the hardware students who came to the school to gain some practical experience fixing the computers.
This is a lab SRI created with funding from Barclays Bank in early 2015.
January: Ikkapalama IT Parts Donation
We made a donation of six CMOS batteries and two LED monitors to the school in March.
We did not build the IT lab at this school, but Nuwan has regularly fixed its computers over the years.
It is a mid-sized school situated inland between Tissa and the coastal village of Kirinda.
Pictured is one of Nuwan's students Kasun from the hardware III class who is helping to fix computers.
January: Weligatha IT Parts Donation
This year the school needed five new power units to keep some of the computers running.
MCTC Deputy manager, Nuwan supplied the parts when he visited the school with one of the students from his hardware course.
Pictured left is Pawithra who came top of the Hardware III Course fixing one of the computers.
January: Community Class 43 begins
A total of 25 students registered for Community Class 43.
All the students finished their A-levels in August and received their results in December.
Most will then go on to university in the coming September, or will return to school to re-sit their exams again. It's common for students to re-sit A-levels up to three times as there are limited university places and only straight A-students get in.
W.A Thakshila Darshani ended up recording the top marks for the class.