I had been involved in uplifting the lives of the children and youth in Mahavilachchiya for the last 10 years. Though we were able to produce significant positive results by producing scores of ICT skilled and English language competent children and youth only few wanted to replicate the Horizon Lanka model in other villages. Instead of following a living example within Sri Lanka, many were keen on finding role models from other countries while some other counties adapted Horizon Lanka model with our support.
It was at this juncture Mr Lalith Weeratunga, the Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka, visited Mahavilachchiya in November 2006. Having seen the children’s talents and how ICT related infrastructure was booming in Mahavilachchiya he was interested in replicating the Horizon Lanka model around Sri Lanka.
Mr Weeratunga was able to get the Mahavilachchiya eVillage replication project implemented through the Secondary Education Modernization Project (SEMP) of the Ministry of Education with the auspices of the President’s Office. However, going through the Ministry of Education became a hidden blessing as we could directly address the young minds of the school. The younger ones learn fast and they are ready to change fast as well. The project became a success and within the six-month long pilot project with 5 rural villages in 5 provinces and the project was able to achieve a lot. This clearly shows that if the basic infrastructure and the guidance are provided any rural community in the island can perform similar to urban areas or even better. Now we are in the process of expanding the project to 25 more villages.
EWIS’s support in providing fully pledged computer labs to all 5 eVillages will further enhance the potential of ICT related job opportunities for the village youth as it happens in Mahavilachchiya right now. The communities in the villages will be benefited immensely as well. We thank EWIS for being a partner of this nationally important project and invite other corporate sector organizations to follow suit by giving a helping hand to expand the eVillage project.