Another week, another Avinya Scoop! However, this one sits a little closer to all of our hearts at Avinya because it’s the last blog of the year on a collective, nostalgic walk down the memory lane of 2023. Before I start rambling any further, our resident author Anju, has some thoughts to share with our readers.
As we end yet another year I personally wonder where the year went. 2023 flashed by in a blur!
I remember writing an end of year blog in 2022 and in it were etched lessons of 2022 and the hope for 2023. We didn’t have a physical building at that time yet and we had just over a month to go to start operations at the Academy in Bandaragama. Our ship was being prepared for sail but we knew we would be heading for some choppy waters of reality as we set sail.
Looking back on that voyage of 2023, I want to reflect on some lessons which I’d like to take into 2024. The experiences, though at times turbulent, have contributed to our collective growth and resilience.
- Believe in yourself—because if you don’t, who else will? Trust in your hopes, dreams, passions, and skills. Everyone’s got something to bring to the table. Sure, sometimes it takes a bit of time and some ups and downs along the way to figure out what that is, but don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
- Take a step back / Take a breather – In the whirlwind of 2023, I often found myself in uncharted territory, surrounded by responsibilities, info overload, and pure chaos. Sorting through it all was like diving into a sea of uncertainty. What saved me? Stepping back and tapping into my inner well of wise counsel, life lessons learned and experiences. They’re like your personal life compass, guiding you through the unexplored.
- When you feel overwhelmed, burnt out and stuck in rut – try a deep, meaningful conversation with a deep, meaningful person – I’m by nature an introvert so I have to be nudged and reminded by the parts of my inner being that I do need to include others. Seek out those conversations that go beyond the surface—ones that fuel your soul. Not every chat leads to dream exploration or provides a safe haven for problem-solving. When you find those people who get you, who create that safe space, they’re your tribe. Also, don’t forget to return the favour 🙂
- Value your team as individuals – Yes, I know, it sounds cliché, but we’re not islands. A team is like the engine where all the gears mesh perfectly. Appreciate each person for who they are—they’re not just colleagues; they’re individuals contributing to the bigger picture.
As we set sail into 2024, I want to take a moment to appreciate each member of our fantastic team. Reflecting on the lessons learned in 2023, it’s clear that our journey wouldn’t be the same without the unique contributions of each individual.
Big kudos to Sanjiva, the maestro behind this venture, for bringing us together and offering the opportunity to be part of something so fulfilling—changing lives every day.
Dee, the Christmas reindeer of our team, brings her high energy and enthusiasm to everything we do. Ilma, our Campus Lead/Principal, whose voice is not just one of reason but also exudes calm diplomacy has solved many a crisis with just a look. Nalaka, our Finance and Admin star, has skillfully navigated a myriad of numbers, bringing our first set of audited accounts into the light. Yujith remains the serene introspector amidst the IT storm, and Lahiru, always with a smile, troubleshoots our day-to-day IT campus issues with ease.
Special shoutout to Ashan, our gentle giant capable of effortlessly relocating cupboards, and Geeth, the wizard who transforms the realms of IT, coding, and software development into something that feels a lot less Greek 😉
Vidushi, with her dramatic flair, colourful dresses and interesting anecdotes always brightens our days. Dilani, with her beautiful smile and tireless efforts to untie Santa at the brilliant Christmas assembly cannot be forgotten easily. Anuki, with her repertoire of activities to make learning fun and memorable also possesses the unique ability to read in a storm.
Roshani, who now has a penchant for organic gardening, can build rapport in seconds and then sometimes lose it too by being a tad too honest 😉 (just kidding!)
Isuru, our YouTube celebrity, brings the energy of a bouncing ball to the team but always has time for us little people.
Vihan, the social media whiz, is our go to for digital lessons and goes the extra mile to entertain us without cracking a smile. It’s a skill I tell you!
Sinalie, our spreadsheet conqueror, effortlessly crafts stats and possesses the writing finesse of a seasoned professional but, every now and then, executes a not-so-graceful dance with gravity.
And Sanduni, our problem-solving wizard, possesses the charm to sweet talk a banana from a monkey and nurtures an individual love for each student lead we acquire.
A heartfelt thank you to each one of you for simply being yourselves and bringing your unique magic to our team.
Our gratitude also extends to you, our wonderful readers, partners and supporters for aiding us in growing the community essential for collaborative efforts in changing and making a difference in the lives of the next generation.
Here’s to an extraordinary 2024 brimming with more laughter and shared triumphs!
Thank you, Anju for making me look for my box of tissues!
We hope all of you returning to Avinya Scoop this week enjoyed a lovely Christmas or if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then a lovely break filled with joy and an abundance of treats! I know I certainly enjoyed the time to unwind and let myself have some “me” time again. Until I started writing the blog this week, I don’t think I truly processed the enormity of waves that rippled through 2023 and how much of a mind-blowing year it has been. I’m sure a lot of our readers can resonate with me and I know for a fact that Avinya can.
As the pages of another year are about to turn, I’d like to countdown with 3 highlights from this year, 2 things we look forward to in 2024 and 1 more person to be grateful for! Please allow me the writer’s prerogative to start off with number 1 first because Anju messed up (as usual!) my order with her blog addition 😀
Jokes aside, I want to express our collective gratitude to the co-author of this blog, who’s been one of the biggest cheerleaders of Avinya since day one, her presence echoing in the countless endeavours of the academy along with the occasional, questionable joke. Thank you, Anju for being the invisible guardian angel behind the scenes!
Before we move onto a new set of adventures next year, we can’t leave 2023 behind without visiting some of its most monumental moments.
The Launch of Avinya
When I say “launch” I feel there are many moments that can encompass this word. From Sanjiva’s initial spark to the day the website and applications went live officially or the day of the first interviews, workshops even. However, I believe we all agree when I say each of these steps were a precursor to the day Avinya truly launched: when our students stormed our almost completed campus in their distinctive blue and grey uniforms. From there on we leapt into learning, empowerment and adventure. From there on we all truly came alive.
Graduation of the first Empower batch
As bittersweet as it is about thinking about the first day, it’s just as nostalgic thinking about the day our first batch of students took flight, with an additional cape added to their garb to denote their graduate status. As you may know, we still keep in touch with our students and their success stories are what motivates us to walk forward every day and to see them triumph at the end of the journey!
Recruitment of the second Empower batch
On the heels of our first batch graduating, we admitted the second batch a short month later and it hasn’t dimmed our excitement in the least. We’re currently on another journey with them, it’s the same yet it’s different but nevertheless, the bottom line remains the same. Giving hope, creating vision and changing lives.
These may be the highlights but there have been quieter moments too. The first time a student spoke in English, the first time they opened up to a homeroom teacher, the first time they got the chance to use a computer. Every single moment and every collection of those moments where Avinya was able to impact a student’s life for the better has been a win as monumental as the big headliners.
As we lay 2023 to rest, there will be, without a doubt, many things to take in stride in 2024. I want to tentatively and hopefully share two of our goals with you, as mercurial as they may be because our plans are always in motion and never at rest!
Expansion of Avinya
Hold your horses! I don’t mean we’re opening a new academy (yet) because we would’ve let our readers in on that secret if it was in the works. We want to and hope to spread the message throughout the community as we are still the fresh sprouts in the neighbourhood garden, just starting to unfold our leaves in this fertile soil of possibilities. Our aim has always been to touch the lives of many children as possible and Empower them towards greener pastures. We invite our dear readers to join us on this venture as well, ideas are welcome on how we can go about achieving this resolution!
This may not be new news per say as we are always on our toes to make sure our program is up to date with the latest technology, skills and student needs. Nevertheless, we hope to amp it up a notch in the upcoming year and many a navel gazing sessions are underway in order to achieve this objective. It may or may not pan out the way we intend it to and this may remain a checkbox unticked at the end of 2024, however, we’ve all put on our architect hats for the time being and we’ve got our hands, brains and creativity working on the Empower Program.
And there we have it! 3…2…1… a (premature) Happy New Year from all of us at Avinya! It’s impossible to express the gratitude towards each and every person who have believed in us and remained with us through this adventure. Our only hope is that you will continue to do so and see us through this journey next year as well.
Thank you, cheers to a new year and we’ll see you again in 2024!