December: Kids Class 8 and 9 Finishes
Children from Grade III at Mahasenpura School where our centre is based are pictured left with their certificates.
We teach them the very basics through the course, which takes places after school every Monday.
The course includes lots of drawing with MS Paint and simple lettering.
Once they reach grade five, the children start to come to our centre regularly as part of their normal school lessons as well.
November: MCTC Internship
We have arranged an internship for Vishmi Bihali who is currently looking for a job after completing her A-levels in the summer of 2018.
She previously studied the Microsoft Office Certificate course at the centre.
She is also hoping to continue her studies by enrolling for a part-time BIT course at the University of Colombo School of Computing.
At the MCTC, she's working as a demonstrator and helps with student registrations.
November: O-Level IT Camp
We held our annual IT seminar at Mahasenpura School to prepare students for their O-level exam the month after.
A total of 120 students and 16 IT teachers from the area attended the one-day seminar alongside the MCTC team.
We took over much of the school so we could separate the students across different classrooms and the centre. We also provided refreshments and lunch.
October: HSBC Outreach Day
A group of volunteers from HSBC travelled to Tissamahamaharama to help local school students and their parents learn how to gain necessary skills to thrive in the modern workplace.
The 15-strong group from Colombo, spent a day in the areas as part of a horizon expanding exercise.
Part of the day was spent at Mahasenpura School where our MCTC is based and two rural schools, Osuwinna and Ranminithenna.
During the morning session, individual team members related their personal life stories.
This was to show students that even those from the poorest and most rural backgrounds can aspire to similar jobs if they work hard to gain the right educational qualifications.
The team explained why IT and English are particularly important for office-based jobs.
They also highlighted why gaining real world experience through job placements is as important as educational certificates in the eyes of many future employers.
In the afternoon, the HSBC team handed out prizes to students from the Hambantota area who had participated in our zonal-wide Power Point competition.
October: World Children's Day
It was great to celebrate World Children’s Day on October 1 with 60 students and teachers from Sri Rohana school.
This school is situated near the entrance to Sri Lanka’s Lunugamvehera National Park, which is north of Tissa and adjoins the famous Yala National Park.
A very big thanks to park warden, Chintaka Abeyrathna, for laying on lots of jeeps.
This meant that grades nine,10 and 11 students could visit the park and see the wild animals for the first time.
They also learned how Chintaka and his team maintain it.
SRI paid for lunch and tea at two different circuit bungalows deep inside the park.
Before they set off in the jeeps, I (Project Manager Jaya) explained the importance of environmental conservation.
I wanted to show how the tourism industry not only plays a role in protecting the country’s natural resources but could also boost their family incomes.
August: World Elephant Day
We held an awareness day with students from Nadigamwila’s Environmental Club and Dr Prithiviraj Fernando.
The latter is one of Sri Lanka’s foremost elephant conservationists, who founded and runs the Centre for Conservation and Research (CCR).
The first stop was SRI’s office where I (Project Manager Jaya) demonstrated how radio tracking aids conservation efforts, alongside one of Dr Fernando’s officers.
The students also learnt about human-elephant conflict.
This is a big problem in Sri Lanka because villagers keep encroaching on elephants' home ranges to build new houses or plant crops.
Each year this leads to the deaths of about 80 people and 250 elephants.
We then got into two jeeps to travel to Yala National Park and had lunch on the beach.
We then viewed a herd of elephants and two bull elephants that had been tagged.
The students were able to observe animal behaviour at close quarters.
Seeing other tourists taking photos from their jeeps was also very useful as it showed the students that elephants are a revenue generator for the country rather than just a nuisance for villages.
July: Employment Skills Seminar
We held an employment skills seminar at the MCTC led by Sarath Kumara, the owner of the Hibiscus Garden Hotel in Tissa.
The seminar was organised for A-level and post A-level students to help them identify future careers and the best approach they can take to appeal to potential employers.
This is very important as a lot of students spend a lot of time focusing on getting certificates and exams rather than real-world experience.
July: MCTC Intern Akila
Akila Ayesh has joined the MCTC as our latest intern.
Like his predecessors, Akila recently completed the Microsoft Office Certificate Course after completing his A-level exams.
His long-term aim is to set up a computer repair shop in Tissa.
His main role at the centre is supporting the teachers as a demonstrator. Here he is pictured helping Community Class 62.
July: Kids Class 8 Finishes
Congratulations to the grade three students who have completed our latest Kid’s Class this month.
The class is held every Monday after school for two hours.
As part of the course, the children learn to use the keyboard, draw pictures and type some text using MS Notepad.
It's taught by the charity's finance manager, Mrs Nimeshika, pictured left with some of her pupils.
June: Dehigahalanda Science Lab
This school has been transformed thanks to ongoing help from the nearby Shangri-La Golf Resort & Spa in Hambantota.
Dehigahalanda School is the main local beneficiary of the hotel’s group-wide Embrace project.
This ongoing project improves educational opportunities as part of its CSR remit.
SRI has also been partnering with the hotel for the past two years, collecting revenues from its quarterly garage sales for a renovation project.
This June, we were delighted to project manage the refurbishment of the school’s science lab, which was in dire need of repair.
The opening ceremony also tied in with the resort’s third anniversary.
It was attended by general manager, Moshi Perera, and CSR manager, Palinda Perera (both pictured left).
SRI has previously refurbished a classroom to create a special needs centre at the school and is funding a special needs assistant thanks to sponsorship from CIMA’s Students Society.
June: Chinese Teaching
SRI would like to extend a big thanks to Jill Goh who has been a volunteer Chinese teacher for the past year.
Jill, who is originally from Indonesia, lives in Colombo and has been teaching mandarin to a number of individual students from the Hambantota area – partly remotely and partly in person.
June: Ranminithenna IT Parts Donation
This school has a very dedicated IT teacher who always support the students to do their studies.
It was great to support her by donating some hardware items. The MCTC's Nuwan also repaired two computers and installed operating systems into three computers.
We donated the following parts thanks to HSBC’s sponsorship funds: a keyboard, mouse, speaker set and two monitors.
May: Mahasenpura IT Parts Donation
Mahasenpura school is the place where the MCTC is located and it also has its own separate computer room that we help to maintain.
Buddhi from Diploma Class V joined deputy manager Nuwan to gain some practical experience in repairing the computers recently.
Thanks to HSBC’s sponsorship, we were able to donate three mouses, three keyboards, one power unit, one RAM card and one speaker set.
May: Osuwinna IT Parts Donation
This was one of the first computer labs we established back in September 2007. Since then, another SRI donor Cate Thomas, has re-built it.
When hardware manager, Nuwan went to visit, eight of the 11 computers were not working properly.
Thanks to HSBC’s sponsorship, we were able to fix them all with new parts: one mouse, two keyboards, three power units, one RAM card and one speaker set.
May: Kawantissapura IT Parts Donation
This rural school has eight computers, but two had hardware issues and three had software issues.
Once again thanks to HSBC’s donation, we were able to fix them by donating one mouse, one keyboard, two power units and two RAM cards.
Deputy MCTC manager, Nuwan, was ably assisted by Punsara Hasanga from his Hardware Batch V class.
April: Vidyarta IT Parts Donation
This school has a very dedicated IT teacher who always participates in all the MCTC’s events and competitions so it is one we are always glad to assist.
We donated the following parts using HSBC’s sponsorship: two mouses, five keyboards, three power units, one speaker set, two RAM cards.
March: HSBC Colombo HQ Visit
As part of its MCTC sponsorship, HSBC invited a group of students to its Colombo HQ . We took a group of students from our diploma and post A-level classes along with a few of their parents.
Many of the students had never visited Colombo before and certainly not to a big organisation like HSBC.
In addition to seeing how a modern office works, the students also gained valuable insights about how to think about their future careers.
March: Nadigamwila Networking
This school has one of the most dedicated principals in the whole area and a good IT lab, which lacked one thing: a network. So Nuwan set this up for them with the help of Lakshan from his diploma class at the MCTC.
The two also fixed a number of harware and software issues among the 10 computers.
They needed three new mouses and eight of the computers needed a new operating system.
March: Job Placement
As part of its outreach work, the MCTC places students at local companies to gain work experience. Here is Nimni Madushani, who completed the Microsoft Office Certificate Course last Autumn.
Nimni will be going to university in September, but wanted to gain some practical experience so we set her up at loan and HP company LHG Marketing Services.
She helps to prepare invoices and payment lists with her new-found IT skills. When she leaves university, she hopes to work in the accounts department of a bank.
March: Community Class 61
Pictured left, MCTC Manager Tharindu gives an introductory talk to the students who have signed up to the latest Community Class.
Tharindu always asks each of the students to stand up and explain why they have joined the class and what they hope to gain from it.
It really helps us to understand how computer knowledge is growing in the area and how we optimise our class materials and teaching methods.
March: Uduwila IT Parts Donation
Pictured are some of our diploma class students gaining practical experience repairing computers at Uduwila School.
They've all volunteered to continue fixing computers at their locals schools, which will be a great help to Nuwan in the future.
Thanks to HSBC’s sponsorship, we were able to fix the school’s 12 computers.
In total, the group needed to install a new operating system into three computers and provide the following hardware items: three mouses, four power units, one motherboard, one hard disc, one speaker set, one monitor and two power cables.
February: Ikkapalama IT Parts Donation
This school has a very dedicated IT teacher who is closely involved with the MCTC so is always on Nuwan’s round for repairs.
All 12 computers received a new operating system and we also donated and/or installed the following hardware items: four mouses, two keyboards, one LCD monitor, one power unit and one speaker set.
January: IT Awareness Uduwila School
We held an awareness programme for the students and parents of Uduwila school.
There were 24 students and nine parents at the programme, which was organised to help spread the message about why studying ICT at O-level is so important for the students’ future career prospects.
January: IT Awareness Ranminithenna School
We held an awareness programme for the students and parents at Ranminithanna school.
There were 15 students and four parents who attended the talk, which was designed to encourage more students to sign up for ICT at O-level and to come to revision classes at the MCTC.
January: IT Awareness Osuwina School
We held an awareness programme for the students and parents of Osuwinna school.
There were 20 students and 18 parents at this programme, which was organised to maximise sign-up for ICT O-level at the schools.
Osuwinna is located in a very rural area and most of the parents are farmers. Therefore, awareness about the benefits of studying computing is lower than at other schools.