Avinya Foundation

Series 2, Blog #11 – Community Connections, Runway Designs and Hakas

Hi everyone!

Lovely to be back contributing  to the Avinya Scoop. 

Wow, just like that, we’re in November! Where has the year gone? It feels like only yesterday that our second set of fledglings arrived at Avinya Academy.  I am incredibly thankful for my role as Educator as it allows me to nurture and empower another set of deserving students. My Homeroom Class is once again the Dolphins and I have also had the privilege of being the project teacher to the Bears and Bees classes during the project rotations. It has indeed been a pleasure watching the students adapt to challenges and grow in so many ways in such a short time.  New friendships and bonds have been created, and just like our pioneer group of students, this batch is proving to be a truly unique, adventurous, fun, and loveable lot.

The past week at Avinya Academy saw our classrooms being  transformed into fashion studios with Project Runway.  It has been a fun adventure for both students and teachers alike as we all delved into the world of fashion. I was delighted to be able to capture  students by surprise when they secretly played dress up or were strutting on a make believe catwalk when they thought I was not watching!

In the words of the legendary Miuccia Prada, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” The students at Avinya Academy are not only learning to speak this language but also expressing their unique voices through the art of fashion.

This project has unleashed the many hidden fashion designers, tailors and models.  Creativity was at its peak as students sketched, designed, and created their unique fashion pieces. It was incredible to witness the boundless imagination of our young designers as they made innovative use of old clothes and materials. 

Collaboration is another key element of this project. Students worked together in teams, combining their strengths and ideas to create outfits. It was heartening to see them smiling, laughing,  supporting and encouraging each other, fostering an environment of camaraderie and teamwork. 

Project Runway aims not only to nurture creativity and teamwork but also instill the importance of sustainability. The students had the challenge of designing clothes for a given category, ensuring that the end products were all upcycled. As the students embraced the concept of upcycling, they not only demonstrated their commitment to environmental responsibility but also learned valuable lessons about resourcefulness and ingenuity. It was wonderful to see how they could take seemingly unrelated items and turn them into stunning fashion pieces.

In addition to the creative aspect, Project Runway has also taught students about dress etiquette. They had to consider not only the aesthetics of their designs but also the appropriateness for various occasions and settings. This added a layer of practicality and real-world application to their fashion journey.

The culmination of this project will be a fashion show. The  entire school is buzzing with anticipation as everyone awaits  the  unveiling of the incredible creations our students have designed. Esteemed judges will be present to evaluate the students’ creations, adding a touch of real-world competition and critique to the mix. It’s a moment of nervousness and excitement for our fledgling designers, models and presenters and I wish them all the very best! I  am sure in true Avinya style, this will be an unforgettable show. 

– Dilani 

Thank you Dil, for the detailed update on the AD front. In other news, last Friday, our community session was an absolute hit (if I do say so myself :D) to all our collective delight! The session was attended by nearly 30 enthusiastic kids from the neighborhood to experience an evening of fun, English based activities with us. Thank you Isuru and Vidushi for conducting an engaging and delightful session that captured the kids’ attention from start to finish. The children were not only engrossed in the activities but left with an eagerness to return for another session in November. It was amazing to see both kids and their parents so excited about these events! We’re excited about this development and the progress we’re making in strengthening the bonds with the community around us.

In addition to our continuous efforts to educate and protect our young minds, we had another essential session led by Ms. Gishani Umenga. This is the third session in a series dedicated to drug prevention awareness. We believe it’s crucial to provide regular reminders and refreshers to ensure that our students do not stray into dangerous waters and are aware of the serious consequences of drug usage. We hope that Ms. Umenga’s session served as another stark reminder of the dangers associated with substance abuse and that going forward, our students will make informed choices regarding their futures.

Down in the cafe that doubles as a classroom sometimes, our IT-focused students have had an incredibly eventful week. They’ve been busy connecting with their mentors and gaining valuable insights into everything IT. One of the highlights this week was an informative session on interview preparation and an introduction to the IT industry by Mr. Jayanga Dissanayake, Senior Technical Lead at WSO2. As with all sessions held at Avinya, we hope the takeaway will help our students prepare for a promising start in the tech world.

Additionally, the IT kids embarked on an exciting outdoor training session on team building with Dialog. I have been told an enthusiastic hustle and bustle was observed from our young, tech gurus normally seated at their laptops. One of the exercises was to create a “Haka” (which you may have seen performed by the New Zealand team at rugby matches) and if the war cries echoed through the school that day, it simply invigorated the spirits of those who heard it!

Signifying the end of another noteworthy week at Avinya, I do not believe a Haka is an appropriate manner to bid farewell so here’s my attempt at a haiku instead:

Goodbye, dear reader,

Avinya Scoop awaits you,

Next week’s tales, anew!

– Sinalie