Greetings dear readers!
As we wrap up a very short week at the academy, the Avinya Scoop comes to you early this week. This blog features our educator Vihan and his thoughts on wrapping up our first project: My Digital Passport as well as some other tidbits of information by yours truly. Let’s dive in!
The last few weeks here at Avinya have been nothing short of a whirlwind. Apart from the hustle and bustle of setting up our new batch – which our uber talented AI team handled with grand finesse might I add, I myself in particular was handed the mother of all projects to conjure up in a mere three weeks. This meant more than a few sleepless nights, visits to coffee shops, scribblings on a larger than life whiteboard and the occasional bout of pulling my laptop out in the staff transport and typing frantically before an idea faded away.
Designing this project was different in many ways – step-by-step instructions, screen grabs for each task and constant meetings to keep everyone updated of any tweaks/hiccups we might have encountered throughout the day pushed us to step away from our conventional PBL process, but I’m pleasantly surprised to say that we still made it as activity centric. Big hugs go out to my team for listening to me rant about Pivot(Pivot!) tables for an unhealthy amount of time (for the better part of a month).
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Timo Cruz, Coach Carter(2005)
Of course, I’d quote a movie – just not ANY movie. This quote – a favorite of mine, are words spoken by a struggling teenager realizing his place in the bigger picture that is the world. Originally from “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a course in Miracles” by Marianne Williamson, this quote resonates with me strongly as we bring to a close the first project for our second batch of students in Bandaragama, more so than when kicked off the term having now had some time to bond with them. We see such a bright light in these kids, waiting to shine. The eagerness to learn is slowly being found in many, and it’s a tough journey ahead but I have no doubt our students will find their way.
In other news, we were happy to host our second guest speakers, Mr. Supun Udana and Colonel Mayadunna from the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board. If you’ve been following our blog, you might remember them from their session with our previous Empower Program batch. We are grateful that they returned for a session on the prevention of drug abuse and creating awareness about this critical issue. Their informative speech was accompanied by equally captivating (albeit alarming) visuals. However, these visuals were critical for our students to understand the gravity of the drug problem in our society and the statistics and real-life stories they shared were eye-opening. We thank them for conducting such an informative and impactful session.
Team AI has been focusing on consolidating and reviewing our existing processes to ensure that we continue to provide the best possible support to our students.
One of the key areas we’ve delved into is our student recruitment process. While we felt our process for Empower 2023b was a one up from 2023a, we’re big believers in constantly evolving and refining our own methods. We’ve been busy examining every step of the recruitment journey to make it even more efficient. There may have been some mishaps with a flowchart here and there but we’re on our way to some detailed documentation and visual representations of the revamped process.
In addition to refining our recruitment process, we’ve met with the Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission (TVEC) to better understand their certification processes and which of the certifications best align with our program. There is quite a bit of admin work involved and we thank our resident star Sanduni for doing such a fabulous job navigating this maze for us. We’re committed to providing our students with not only the necessary skills but also the best qualifications where possible. We hope to have more optimistic updates on this topic soon!
Last but absolutely not the least, we want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to one of our first ever donors to pledge to sponsor a student in our Gifts of Change program at the Avinya Foundation! To find out more about our Gifts of Change program and how you can contribute please check out our website: https://avinyafoundation.org/get-involved/donate/
Soon, we will have a special page on our website dedicated to acknowledging and thanking our donors who play a key role in helping us work towards making our vision a reality!
We’re immensely thankful for the support and look forward to seeing the positive impact on our students’ lives.
We are excitedly looking ahead to next week, where we will be launching our new project, “Face Your Face.” Another nostalgic project which we’ve tweaked and upgraded. We can’t wait to see what the students will come up with this time around! We have a lineup of other exciting events and activities planned in future. Stay tuned for updates and we hope everyone enjoys the lovely long weekend ahead!