Avinya Foundation

#26 Be my Valentine, Upcycling and the Elements

As I write this I’m sitting in a borrowed Educator office space with a ‘sea view’ room (well at least a beautiful water body called the Metta pond), I hear the soft murmurs of a school and realized how much this is a part of me. I observed the Educators have a stronger spring in their step as we finally walked through the doors and into our very own Avinya Academy Bandaragama. It’s home. It’s a solace of learning and innovation.

There were several moments this week as I walked through the spaces and realized. It’s real! It’s happening. All that hard work and commitment from this amazing team has finally paid off. The first campus is alive and buzzing!


This week has been a long one as we welcomed some well wishers and donors on Sunday for an Open House and got to talk about our amazing learning spaces and the story behind it all. On Monday the Avinya team and students all settled into our new home.

And…they lived happily ever after.

Who am I kidding right? 🙂

This isn’t a fairytale. This is real life and to make it work, it takes a lot of hard work, perseverance and a great team called Avinya 😉


“You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it requires people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney


I keep saying it and I’ll say it again, this was a dream a year ago and here it is a reality and it’s because of this incredible team bursting with passion, commitment and a whole lot of hard work. The bees are now out of the hive pollinating knowledge, 21st Century skills and adapting holistic learning principles to guide and nourish young minds. We are all about leveling the playing field, making them future ready and giving them the same opportunities of privileged counterparts. Maybe it isn’t as obvious to them yet as it is to us, but here begins the journey where the ownership and control of their futures is slowly and steadily shifting back into their hands.


The entire Avinya team is making wonders work every day through sheer hard work and dedication. I’d love to say it’s been a walk in the park, but that has definitely not been the case.

It’s been an interesting obstacle course kind of week. Lots of fun but then lots of hoops to jump through. Similar to the coin toss and the be creative race students did this week for their extracurricular or elbow/ balloon chain activity.


We’ve had challenges but we’ve also had some very surreal highs too.


Let me talk about the challenges first and then end on a high 🙂


A new building has many hidden secrets waiting to be unraveled. Some good ones and some not so good ones. In typical Avinya style where we can improve is now tracked on a spreadsheet and urgent ones are prioritized.

Logistics – running an Academy is no easy feat as I’m sure everyone whose been involved knows. Combined with our ambitious logistics of meals for students, resources, school duties we certainly have a lot of curveballs heading our way.


The other challenge has been settling into a disciplined system. Don’t get me wrong, we are all about creativity, innovation and critical thinking. However, self direction, social skills and perseverance are also part of 21st Century Skills. Ying is as important as yang 🙂 I say, what do you think?


It certainly has been an interesting time balancing the two in our innovative and future focused Academy. It’s led to some trials and testing of our existing processes and let’s see what the winning combination will be. We are still getting there.


So what have been the highs?


Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela


A school is born. The world awaits.

We are all walking around in a bit of a haze because we can’t believe it’s real. We have our first Avinya Academy! One step closer to changing the world, changing futures and expanding hope in communities.


As we now walk down the corridors of our new campus facility, we sat, hovered and breathed in all the places that we had dreamed of over the last year.


“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


A trail has begun. A brand new trail 🙂


The Educator team has done some marvelous work this week building confidence, language skills, creativity and innovation skills to name a few.


Love or kindness or both?

Valentine’s day was more than just love. It was all about kindness.

Our students came up with some amazing ideas and work and our Educator team looked fabulous in red!




Continuing on from last week, this week has been all about upcycling and there hasn’t been a dull moment at the campus. Throw in some creativity, innovation and a dash of entrepreneurial skills and you have some pretty outstanding ideas in the works. We can’t wait for their final exhibits and presentations and we hear that a special guest will be in attendance on the day. Here’s a sneak peek for those of you as eager and curious as I am to get a glimpse.


Earth, wind, fire, air


What do the elements have to do with Avinya? Easy, these are the chosen House names and all students were assigned a house this week and it’s translated into some very intense house competitions this week. The cheering now has reached new heights and students have settled in well to their House groups and activities.


Project 1


As PBL project 1 comes to an end this week, I still have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. It’s such a great milestone to have reached and the weeks have just flown by. The students have grown so much in confidence and have really started engaging. It has been heartwarming to see the levels of enthusiasm and passion that they’ve brought to their first project.

Two weeks ago, most had no idea what upcycling was about and now they’ve already repurposed plastic bottles into water spray cans to clean windows during their school duty time and innovated so much more.


It’s been a fun ride despite the bumps and we are incredibly privileged to be a part of this journey.


Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” —Maimonides


Though it takes time to teach ‘em to fish and as tempting as it is to sometimes give them the fish instead, we know that in the longer run, the harder path is the lasting one 🙂

Have a good week everyone!

– Anju