The Foundation of Goodness is a holistic rural development model that seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide in Sri Lanka via 10 empowerment divisions across 900+ villages island-wide, and reached over 307,000+ beneficiaries in 2022 alone by way of 15 Empowerment Centres, free of cost.

Writing their stories of success – The OYOB Centre of Excellence Graduation Ceremonies

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At the core of the Foundation of Goodness lies an unwavering commitment to bridge the urban-rural divide and foster empowerment within rural communities. Our mission is to equip these communities with essential skills and knowledge, enabling them to lead sustainable and fulfilling lives both as individuals and thriving communities. For years, the OYOB Centre of Excellence in Seenigama has stood as a beacon of hope and progress for the villagers in the surrounding areas. Serving as a vibrant hub, it provides a nurturing environment where individuals can discover, learn, and hone new skills that open doors to a brighter future. 

 

Through a diverse range of comprehensive training programs, the Centre empowers rural children, youth and adults alike with practical skills in various fields, such as vocational training, technology, and more. By offering access to valuable knowledge and expertise, we aim to ignite a spirit of self-reliance and collective growth within these communities. As beneficiaries pass through the OYOB Centre of Excellence, they not only gain proficiency in specific skills but also develop a sense of confidence and determination as seen by the many success stories of the former beneficiaries. 

This year the Women’s Empowerment Centre held its 31st Graduation Ceremony at the OYOB Centre of Excellence on the 14th of July 2023. Under the gracious presence of Chief Guest, Ms. Chamathka Ratnayake, Attorney -at-Law and aspiring policy maker, Founder and Chief Trustee Mr. Kushil Gunasekera as well as a very special guest of honor, Ms. K.M. Nishadi Pankaja, a former beneficiary of the Women’s Empowerment Centre who now owns her own successful business Pankaja Clothing.

 

The morning event started with the ceremonial lighting of the traditional oil lamp and an exhibition of the graduate’s work completed over the last 6 months from the Dressmaking and Advanced Dressmaking, Bag Making, Curtain Making, Cake Pastry & Bakery, General Cookery & Food Processing students. The Chief Guest Ms. Chamathka Ratnayake inspired the graduates and encouraged them to take charge of their futures and start the journey no matter what challenges they may face and to not be afraid to fail. Mr. Kushil Gunasekera also encouraged all the graduates to keep pursuing their dreams and make the most of what they have learnt. Ms. K.M. Nishadi Pankaja, spoke about her experience and expressed her heartfelt gratitude in an emotional speech about the Foundation of Goodness and the teacher who helped her start up her own bag business which helped her become more empowered and independent. 

 

The proceedings were followed by a glamorous showcase of the bridal collection by the graduates of the beauty culture course. The vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. Ramya Priyadarshani, another former beneficiary of the dressmaking & bag makingprogrammes who shared her own story of success. 

There were a total 180 students who graduated from the various courses of the Women’s Empowerment Centre. The certificates were awarded as follows: 

Best Performers – 08 Students

Dress Making – 40 Students

Cake Pastry & Bakery Course – 42 Students

Bag Making – 22 Students

Curtain Course – 09 Students

General Cookery – 18 Students

Advanced Dress Making – 13 Students

Food Processing – 17 Students

Beauty Culture – 19 Students

 

 

OYOB Centre of Excellence also held the 35th Graduation Ceremony of the IT, Business Skills and Language Training courses on the 15th of July 2023. This occasion was graced by the presence of Mr. Ruwan Keragala Chief Operating Officer at MAS Holdings who was the esteemed Chief Guest of the event. The Guest of Honour for the ceremony was Mr. Nithila Neranja, a Trainee at the Parliament of Sri Lanka who was also a successful beneficiary from the Graphic Design & MS Office courses at the Centre in 2015. 

 

The occasion commenced with an uplifting and inspiring speech by Mr. Ruwan Keragala who also donated 30 reconditioned laptops on behalf of MAS Holdings to the beneficiaries of the Foundation of Goodness and pledged to donate more laptops in the future. 

Guest of Honour Mr. Nithila Neranja delivered a heart-warming speech about his journey of success since he was part of the courses at the Foundation of Goodness. 

 

There were a total 204 students who graduated from the various courses over the last 6 months (January to June). The certificates were awarded as follows: 

Best performers – 22 Students

Beginners IT Course – 60 Students

Coding Beginners Course – 13 Students

MS Office Course – 19 Students

Graphic Design Course – 12 Students

Coding Advanced Course – 13 Students 

English Advanced Course – 24 Students

Spoken English Course – 05 Students

Tamil Advanced Course – 02 Students

Photography Course – 17 Students

Compering Course – 08 Students

Electrical Installation & Maintenance – 02 Students

Housekeeping & Hospitality Course – 10 Students

Japanese Language Course – 19 Students

 

A very special and heartfelt thank you to the teachers at the Centre of Excellence, who are the heart and soul of our mission. Their unwavering dedication and expertise empower students to acquire valuable skills and transform their lives. We are forever grateful for their selfless commitment to building a brighter future for the community.

Dress making & Advanced Dress Making Lecturer – Ms. Volga Subashini

Beauty Culture Lecturer – Ms. Rashika Krishanthi

Cake Pastry & Bakery Course Lecturer – Mr. Wenura Sajith

Bag making & Curtain Lecturer – Ms. Thilaka Ranjani

General Cookery & Food Processing Lecturer – Ms. Kamani Dhammika

Volunteers Coordinator & IT Lecturer – Mrs. Ludmila Ushani 

Electrical Installation & Maintenance Lecturer – Mr. T.M.A. De Silva 

English Advanced Course Lecturer – Mrs. Chandra Abeynayake 

Photography Lecturer – Mr. L.Sudath Wijerathna 

Tamil Language Lecturer – Mrs. W.W.I. Kanthi Lanka 

Compering Course – Lecturer Mr. Daya Cyril Dhammika 

Japanese Language Lecturer – Mrs. Milini M. Hettiarachchi 

Housekeeping & Hospitality Lecturer – Mr. H.D.A.Waruna Natha 

MS Office Lecturer – Mrs. Gayani Nadeeka 

Web Design & Coding – Lecturer Mr. Raveendra Kapuge 

Assistant IT Training Center Mr. Pasindu Kanchana

 

Special mention must be made of the driving force behind the OYOB Centre of Excellence Mrs. Thanuja Wijesingha, Director – Centre of Excellence as well as her team Mrs. Champa Samanmali, Deputy Director – Centre of Excellence, Mr. Amila Dilruk, General Manager – Centre of Excellence, Mr. Ishanka Ravishan, Sector Head – IT / BPO / KPO, Co-ordinator Women’s Empowerment Centre Ms. Rangi Lakshika Wijerathna as well as Rumeshi and Vishmi. 

The Foundation of Goodness remains dedicated to continuously expanding and refining its programs, responding to the evolving needs and aspirations of rural communities. Through the OYOB Centre of Excellence and other initiatives, we envision a future where rural youth not only dream big but also have the tools and knowledge to turn those dreams into reality, ultimately creating a more equitable, sustainable, and harmonious society for all.

 

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