Avinya Foundation

Series 2, Blog #26 – Wrapping Up, Nostalgic Reflections and Civic Wisdom

Hi folks!

It’s Dilani, and I trust this blog finds you well. Can you believe we’re already halfway through February? Time seems to be on a sprint in 2024, and I guess it’s true what they say – time flies when you’re busy having fun!

It feels like just yesterday when I was writing about the culmination of our very first Empower Program, and here we are again, wrapping up the second batch. Let me take you through the whirlwind of activities our students have engaged in during their final week with us. Ah, the bittersweet sigh that comes with the end of another empowering journey!

Our grand finale, the “Let’s Vlog It” project, arrived perfectly timed at the program’s tail end. Over the past two weeks, students poured their hearts into creating vlogs that not only reflected their Avinya journey but were also deemed social media-worthy. The process was a load of fun, with repeated takes and bloopers leaving our students in stitches. Many even joked about avoiding showbiz if creating an 8-minute vlog felt this exhilaratingly exhausting! And guess what? Our educators had a moment  in the spotlight too, with many of us earning roles as stars in the vlogs!

The final edited vlogs were a true treat, showcasing the remarkable distance our students have traveled since their first day at Avinya. Hearing them reminisce about being scared, unfamiliar with laptops, lacking confidence, and struggling to understand English on day one, highlighted a transformation that is nothing short of remarkable. These heartfelt reflections from our students stand as a testament to the success of Avinya’s efforts.

As project-based learning ended, students found themselves immersed in additional activities. English Score Tests, assessing proficiency in grammar, vocabulary, reading, and listening. It is commendable to see how our students have  overcome the  challenges and fears of learning a new language, showcasing their commitment to personal and academic growth. 

Adding an enriching layer to the week, we welcomed a special guest,  Mr. Bandula Ranathunga, Head of IT at the Colombo Municipal Council and Program Manager of the Election Commission. His interactive session on Civic Education delved into four key areas:

The true meaning of education; The importance of Critical Analysis vs. Going with the Flow; How voters should behave; The responsibility of youth in elections.

Mr. Bandula’s insightful discussion emphasized that education extends beyond classrooms and exams, lasting until our last breath. He creatively used the tale of Chicken Licken to encourage questioning and informed decision-making in an age of information overload. His presentation served as an encouragement for our students to understand their civic duties, especially as many approach voting age. The importance of informed, responsible, and engaged voters was discussed, highlighting the pivotal role the youth plays in bringing about positive change.

Amidst these activities, the Avinya family is gearing up for the eagerly awaited graduation of our second batch of students on February 16th. Distinguished guests and proud parents will join us to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. Behind the scenes, students are perfecting their performances and speeches, while our principal, Ms. Ilma, ensures that every  detail of the day’s proceedings is meticulously arranged.

As an educator, the time of graduation always stirs mixed emotions – a blend of pride and sadness. Every batch holds a special place in the heart of an educator, and this group is no exception. Nostalgia isn’t unique to educators; this week, one of my students unexpectedly burst into tears, overwhelmed with emotion, expressing how much she’ll miss me and her friends. Such moments are the essence of what makes my profession so precious.

While the journey for Avinya’s second batch may be reaching its conclusion,  we all will hold on to the memories created and lessons learned . To our graduating students, I extend heartfelt wishes for success in all your future endeavors. May the skills acquired and friendships formed at Avinya lay the foundation for the exciting adventures that await you. In the wise words of Michelle Obama, “Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.” 

~ Dilani