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John Keells Foundation pilots a Family Empowerment Programme in Mullaitivu

6 Nov , 2017,
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John Keells Group’s CSR entity, John Keells Foundation (JKF) piloted a family empowerment programme in partnership with Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) with the objective of increasing the income of 30 low-income families in the villages of Iranaipalai in the Puthukkudiyiruppu DS Division and Puthumathalan in the Maritimepattu DS Division.The six-month initiative is a highly intensive programme comprising both group and individual family interventions, the provision of seed capital to begin or expand a business venture and coaching on entrepreneurship and business plan development to ensure a sustainable business venture that results in doubling each family’s current monthly income.

The majority of the beneficiaries have decided to pursue livestock and poultry farming while others have purchased sewing machines and raw materials for producing fishing nets with the seed capital provided by JKF. It is interesting to note that the beneficiary who has decided to pursue weaving fishing nets is a former beneficiary of fishing nets in 2012 under the JKF Village Adoption Project. Now that those nets have succumbed to wear and tear he is planning to use that netting along with the raw materials purchased with the capital provided to weave new fishing nets. The beneficiary who opted to purchase a sewing machine too has a history of association with JKF. Her youngest son was a recipient of an English Language Scholarship from JKF. Thus, the pilot project is both building on existing relationships whilst forging ties with new beneficiaries thereby uplifting the lives and living standards of disadvantaged persons and groups by empowering them to build and develop themselves and their communities in a sustainable and entrepreneurial manner.

SLRCS monitors the progress of the families through periodic one-on-one visits while JKF plans to monitor the outcomes of this pilot over time towards replicating the model in other villages under its Village Adoption Project. JKF Village Adoption Project drives poverty alleviation at the grassroots through an integrated and sustainable development programme including Essential Infrastructure, Education and Skills Development, Livelihoods and Market Access, Youth and Gender Empowerment and is aimed at fostering self-reliance and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged rural communities.

Phase 3 of Science Day Programme initiated in Ratnapura

23 Oct , 2017,
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John Keells Foundation in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science conducted the 5th session of the Science Day Programme (SDP) in Ratnapura on 12th October. The initiative is aimed at promoting science amongst school children of six underserved districts – namely, Ampara, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Monaragala, Ratnapura and Vavuniya – for three consecutive years, towards enhancing the interest of pre-O’Level students in Science as a means of increasing the numbers pursuing of Science in higher education and beyond to better serve the development needs of the country. 129 students and 9 teachers from 9 schools participated in the Programme held at Eheliyagoda Central College, Ratnapura.

John Keells promotes Science Day programmes in Disadvantaged Districts

6 Oct , 2017,
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John Keells Foundation conducted another two sessions of the Science Day Programme (SDP) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science in Vavuniya and Anuradhapura on 27th and 28th September 2017 respectively. The initiative is aimed at promoting science amongst school children of six underserved districts – namely, Ampara, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Monaragala, Ratnapura and Vavuniya- for three consecutive years, towards enhancing the interest of pre-O’Level students in Science as a means of increasing the numbers pursuing Science in higher education and beyond to better serve the development needs of the country. 77 students and 7 teachers from five schools participated in the SDP held in Vavuniya while 89 students and 8 teachers from seven schools participated in the SDP held in Anuradhapura. Phase 3 has attracted great interest among students through the introduction of experiential learning including practice in coding robots. It also included an interactive panel discussion explaining the benefits of pursuing a career in science, a poster competition combining artistic skills with scientific knowledge to address controlling epidemics in the country and a MCQ session to evaluate their knowledge in the field of science.

English Language programme for the School for the Blind

4 Oct , 2017,
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JKF together with the Gateway Language Centre also launched a pilot initiative to develop the English Language skills of the students of the School for the Blind in Ratmalana . This initiative is two pronged: Speech and Drama programme for students of Grades 1-3 and a Total Immersion Camp for students of Grades 10 to 11. The Speech and Drama framework has been designed to enhance communication skills, listening skills, vocabulary and usage of certain grammatical tenses that are used in every day conversation along with appreciation of poetry, when spoken out loud. The activity based 5 day Total Immersion Camp concentrates on developing communication skills and confidence to speak the English language. A parents’ briefing was conducted by JKF on 4th of August towards enhancing parents’ understanding of the importance of enhancing English language skills of their children in order to improve their opportunities for higher learning and social and economic independence. The briefing was graced by the Principal, Board members and staff of the School for the Blind, Head of CSR, Carmeline Jayasuriya and Project Champion, Kumudu Munasinghe and received a good response from the parents of the children.

Annual Career Guidance Programme

27 Sep , 2017,
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The annual Career Guidance programme was conducted on the 21st of September 2017 comprising sessions on personal effectiveness and leadership, CV preparation and an overview on career prospects including how to face an interview conducted by V.Poobalasingam. A practical demonstration on dining etiquette was conducted by Dinusha Harshana from the Cinnamon RED Learning and development department with the assistance of one of the participants. This was followed by a presentation on Personal Grooming and Hygiene by Niranga Madiwala from Hikka Tranz training and Development department.

The next session was a presentation on career opportunities and entry level requirements in the Group. This was conducted by the learning and development departments of Cinnamon RED, Cinnamon Lakeside and Jay Kay Marketing Services. The programme was open to Grade 11 students from the 6 schools supported under the John Keells Neighbourhood School Development Project. A total of 134 students were in attendance. Coordinated with support from school principals, Director of Zonal Education and Group businesses, the Career Guidance Programme aims to provide relevant skills and knowledge to successfully enter the workforce as well as highlight opportunities provided by John Keells to youth who are not eligible to pursue Advanced Level studies. Previous vocational trainees currently working at Cinnamon Hotels were also present to share their experience and encourage others to apply for this valuable work experience and skills development programme. The full day programme was conducted at the auditorium of the Sri Lanka institute of Tourism and Hotel Management and included lunch and the refreshments.

Introduction of Total Immersion English Camp at the Ruhuna University

26 Sep , 2017,
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John Keells Foundation piloted a total immersion English camp at the University of Ruhuna from the 11 -15 September 2017 for the benefit of 42 undergraduates of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. This initiative was undertaken at the request of the Chairman of the University Grants Commission towards enhancing the English language skills of students particularly of the Arts Faculties of State Universities.

The 5-day workshop conducted in collaboration with Gateway Language Centre involved activities on analyzing poetry, drama and public speaking. Thus improving their opportunities for higher learning and sustainable employment in an increasingly competitive world.

The closing ceremony held on 15th September was attended by the Dean Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Head of Operations CSR of JKF, Head of English Language Teaching Unit and included four performances by the students.

Providing water access to rural farmers

25 Sep , 2017,
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Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations, CSR of John Keells Foundation (JKF) and R. P. Upali, Director of Agriculture, Trincomalee commissioned the rehabilitated D8 Tank in the Morawewa Division, Trincomalee Range on 31st August 2017 as part of JKF’s Village Adoption Project in Morawewa. The Morawewa Irrigation Scheme which is essential for the largely agriculture-dependent community was badly neglected during the long-drawn civil conflict resulting in a scarcity of ground …water for paddy cultivation. JKF initiated and funded the D8 Tank Rehabilitation Project in 2015 implemented in collaboration with the Trincomalee District Secretariat and the Irrigation Department.

A ceremony to mark the completion of the rehabilitation work was held at the D8 Irrigation Scheme on 31 August 2017 with the participation of the Director of Agriculture, Trincomalee, the Irrigation Engineer of the Morawewa Division, Resident Project Manager, Trincomalee, officials from the Provincial Department of Irrigation, representatives of JKF and World Vision Lanka and members of farmer organisations and the Morawewa community. The ceremonial plaque was unveiled by Carmeline Jayasuriya and R.P. Upali while a handover document was also signed between JKF, Irrigation Engineer and the Perakum Farmer Organisation of Morawewa.

The rehabilitation of the D8 Tank will not only support the livelihoods of the farmer community but also enhance the ground water table of the entire area, thereby improving water security of a community severely affected by water scarcity. JKF’s Village Adoption Project drives poverty alleviation at the grassroots through an integrated and sustainable development programme including Essential Infrastructure Development, Education and Skills Development, Livelihoods and Market Access, Youth and Gender Empowerment and is aimed at fostering self-reliance and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged rural communities.

Grade 05 Scholarship Revision Workshops – Morawewa

25 Aug , 2017,
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John Keells Foundation conducted Grade 05 scholarship revision workshops for the benefit of the school children in the Morawewa North DS Division under the John Keells Village Adoption Project. The revision workshops were coordinated with the support of the Gomarankadawala Zonal Education Office for both Sinhala and Tamil medium students. 103 Sinhala Medium students from 7 schools attended the workshop held at the Morawewa South Vidyalaya, while 52 Tamil students from 4 schools attended the workshop at the Nochchikulam Girls School on 12th of August 2017.

Grade 05 Scholarship Revision Workshops – Rajawella

Aug , 2017,
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John Keells Foundation initiated a Grade 05 scholarship revision workshop in Nithulemada, the recently adopted village under the John Keells Village Adoption Project. The revision workshops were coordinated by the Victoria Golf and Country Resort with the support of the Zonal Education Office-Theldeniya. A total of 106 students participated from 4 schools namely, Senarathwela Maha Vidyalaya, Dharmashoka Vidyalaya, Mahaberiyathenna Tamil Vidyalaya and Hijjapura maha Vidyalaya. The Sinhala medium workshop was held in Senarathwela School, while the Tamil medium workshop was held at Mahaberiyathenna Tamil Vidyalaya on Friday 11th of August 2017.

Grade 05 Scholarship Revision Workshops

8 Aug , 2017,
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John Keells Foundation conducted its annual Grade 05 scholarship revision workshops for the benefit of disadvantaged school children in Colombo 02 and Colombo 03. The revision workshops were organized with the support of the Zonal Education Department with participation by students from 7 schools supported by our Neighbourhood Schools Development Programme– namely, Al Iqbal Muslim Balika Vidyalaya, Holy Rosary Tamil Vidyalaya, Siri Sariputta Maha Vidyalaya, T.B. Jayah Zahira College, St. Anthony’s Balika Vidyalaya and St. Mary’s Balika Vidyalaya benefitting 180 children. A total of 03 workshops were conducted in both Sinhala and Tamil medium by resource persons from top National schools in Colombo on 18th and 20th of July, 3rd and 4th of August 2017.