Thurunu Saviya Rural Youth Organizations

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1 Thurunu Saviya Rural Youth Organizations A Project By Karuna Trust, February 2013 A project to re-vitalize fading cultural values and morality in our rural community by forming youth organizations that could produce the next generation of leaders. 0

2 Executive Summary After the decades long war, Sri Lanka is marching forward with rapid development goals, intended to create growth in both urban and rural sectors. With the development process, there are strong indications to suggest a significant erosion of traditional cultural values in the society. Morality & values, high degree of self-sufficiency, hard work, strong family and community bonds, were key characteristics of our ancient villages. Unfortunately, today these attributes have weakened considerably creating many socio-economic issues that were not seen before. Our rural communities which were once bastions of our cultural heritage and values seem to be transforming into barren cultural landscape, devoid of values, and devoid of good quality people with brains and hearts capable of providing the right leadership for the village to evolve and flourish. Good capable people are leaving the village in pursuit of better opportunities and living conditions in the cities. Growing disparity between the rural household incomes and the cost of living is effectively putting the villagers in a very difficult situation. Children are preoccupied with increasingly competitive education system and parents also have to dedicate much of their time to work to keep up with the growing aspiration and need to earn more. To make things worse, media and other forces of change are pushing these villagers to a lifestyle that seems to be un-sustainable and alien to these communities. A weak community is a burden on the rest of the society, and a potential breeding ground for social unrest and crime. Tharuna Saviya brings in a long term strategy to give strength to these villages. Some areas of crucial importance are listed below: Strengthen the values, morality and community bonds in the village. Create environment to retain good people in the village and develop a solid core of people rich with values and skills Make family to be a strong central unit of the community Invest in the younger generation to make a lasting change Develop social and environmental responsibility in both children and adults Drive to increase economic output from the village, create more employment opportunities in the village while preserving our value system. Introduce sustainable development practices to the village, while making the best use of technology. Proposal With the above backdrop, Karuna Trust has initiated Thurunu Saviya, a program to help develop the next generation of rural leadership based on our traditional cultural values and the skills needed to be successful in the modern society. Tharuna Saviya seeks ways to encourage rural children to grow up with a responsibility to play their roles as volunteers and active community members so as to nurture self-reliant local communities with a promise of building a strong and vibrant civil society alongside a strong and effective state, keeping our cultural heritage intact 1

3 This program is designed to identify students with promising potential at a young age and provide them necessary training and financial assistance to grow into young leaders who would take on the responsibilities of development of their communities. Under this program 10 clusters will be formed in selected rural communities with 30 students each. These students will be provided special training in areas such as IT, English, Leadership training and team work, community service, Drug and Alcohol prevention, social and environmental responsibility. Students will also be provided with a monthly scholarship for their education related expenses through their university level education. Selection Process Children selected for this program will not be strictly on financial hardships. Idea is to maximize the potential future benefit from these students to their respective communities. As such the following general framework has been proposed for the selection of the students. - Overall selection process is carried out by a committee of 4 5 responsible people from the community including the principal of the Dhamma School. - The program is to be initiated around the Dhamma schools which have served as the backbone for infusing values and morality to young generation. The schools will also be an integral part of the program. - Good standing in education. Minimum of 100 marks at grade 5 scholarship. Students who pass grade 5 scholarship from these rural communities usually get other opportunities to enter schools in the towns, therefore such cases are excluded. - Students will be selected from Grades 6,7 and 8. Ten students from each grade. - Good respectable conduct on part of the family: parents should be living a respectable life in the community with good values and social responsibility. It is encouraged to select students from low to mid income families who will benefit from this program the most. - Students who show exceptional talent in certain areas. - Final selection based on recommendations from the village temple, school and selection committee 2

4 Skill Development The selected students will be provided special training in specific focus areas with the intent of developing the next generation of rural leadership. These skill development programs will supplement the regular education obtained from the schools and Dhamma School. It is anticipated that the selected team would have to spend extra time in classroom as well as in the field to obtain this additional knowledge and skills - Traditional cultural values and morality: special sessions through the dhamma schools and qualified village elders to teach traditional cultural values morality. The team is required to observe sil on poya days and expected to live by the five precepts, which has been central to our cultural values for centuries. - Leadership training and team work: It has been emphasized that leadership training is very important for the students to succeed in the modern society. As such, special programs will be arranged using experts from both rural settings and the city. - Drug and alcohol prevention: ADIC which is a leading institution for prevention of drug and alcohol will provide a methodical program to train the students in this area. It is expected that the student team will train more people from the village and surrounding areas on drug and alcohol prevention, amplify the effect. - Community service: The team is expected to perform one community project per month. Examples would be work involving public places like hospitals, schools, roads and places of worship - Social and environmental responsibility: Special workshops to drive the social and environmental responsibility into young minds. These would be conducted by experts in the relevant fields. Programs would be designed such that aspects of both our traditional systems and modern society are covered. Students are required to develop a home vegetable garden and plat at least 2 Jack fruit trees. - Information technology: Training programs to develop basic computer skills at a young age. Villages selected for these programs would either have existing computer labs and teachers or there would be a solid plan in place to enable computer facility. - English: Special English training with emphasis on spoken English and basic written English skills needed in the day to day life. 3

5 Other Benefits Apart from the skill development programs above, the following benefits will be part of the program - Monthly scholarships to cover educational expenses till the students complete their university or equivalent level of higher education. The student will be periodically evaluated and the committee will make recommendations for the continuation of individual scholarships. - Clothing fabric to prepare Daham Pasal uniforms. - T-shirts to be worn during community services and other team projects. - Where there is no computing facility, Karuna Trust will provide maximum assistance possible to setup a fully equipped computer lab. In this process Karuna Trust may join hands with other organizations willing to provide the required facilities. Next Steps 1. Identify the 10 locations to start this program. About 5 locations have already been selected. 2. Educate the parents, students and the community about the program and its benefits. 3. Inaugural full day session to be held at Sri Lanka foundation institute in March. 4. Depositing scholarship money in student accounts from April of Align resources and ramp up other training activities. Expected to establish all training programs by mid Future - Explore ways to establish vocational training centers and small scale industries in these communities to generate more employment opportunities. - Provide assistance with skill based training in cities and job placements in cities. 4

6 How You Can Help If you wish to support this worthy cause please do contact us at: or by phone. You can help in providing these kids needed items like computers, books, bicycles or you can support the scholarship program. Your kind contributions can be routed to Karuna trust by using the instructions below. Please include the reference Thurunu Saviya Project along with your donation. You can wire funds to: Name on Account: Karuna Trust Account Number: Bank Name: Bank of Ceylon Bank Branch: Homagama Country: Sri Lanka ABN (SWIFT) code: BCEYLKLX Please write your cheques in favor of Karuna Trust. About Karuna Trust Karuna Trust is kindness in action. It is a voluntary organization dedicated for improving the living standards of materially poor people in Sri Lanka. It receives its inspiration from Mr. Mahinda Karunaratne, who is the chairperson of M/S Karunaratne & Sons Ltd. a reputed printing establishment in Sri Lanka. Operated entirely by volunteers, Karuna Trust works solely to provide help for extremely deserving cases, which may otherwise have little or no recourse. Donors looking to support Karuna Trust need not worry about where their donations go, all money contributed goes fully to charitable purposes, with no administrative withholdings. Karuna Trust conveys its heartfelt thanks to you for doing your part as a sponsor, advertiser, or as a member. Thank you for helping us to help the helpless. Check out our website for past and ongoing projects: Karuna Trust No. 67, U.D.A. Industrial Estate Katuwana Road Homagama Sri Lanka. Postal Code: Tel : , Fax: Web : Reform the man first; then the society will be reformed 5