Sunday, September 12, 2010

Imalka de Silva at LPF Academy

In a few hours of delightful inspiration! Where passion for a better world takes precedence over the mundane existence of individual lives. LPF academy hosts Imalka de Silva, the first Sri lankan to set foot on Antarctica. Representing Sri Lanka, she joined the World Wide campaign to draw attention to climate change.

The Antarctic continent is one of the most remote, inhospitable environments on earth. Harsh and inaccessible, covered by over 5 million square miles of solid ice, it is the world’s highest, driest coldest and windswept continent.

This event was organized by the Peace Gang, a group of very young children devoted to promoting peace within the community as well as peace within each individual, Peace Gang has been a major part of extracurricular activities in the La Petite Fleur Schools since 199…

Bernadine Anderson, the mind behind the Peace Gang, has inculcated the Peace Curriculum into her schools to promote integral learning. Mrs Anderson believes that “the Life of children should be more than just school work and tution, but the development of a wholesome individual.”
LPF Academy, a small school with a large dream, has held onto its beautiful ideology of Integral Education, once visited by Martin Luther king Jnr. The school holds on strongly to true Montessori values of educating the child.

Peace Gang, an initiative which promotes the participation of the Colombo community reaching out to the poor children in rural Sri Lanka , has actively promoted the cause of collective effort with the participation of the very young and their parents.
On this Satuday morning, as the group of children from the Peace Gang, and parents and teachers sit to listen to the inspiring journey to Antarctica. lmalka, an energetic and delightful speaker, holds the audience spell bond with wonderful sights and anecdotes from her unique experience .

Imalka’s animated presentation to these young minds, stimulates the young to reach out to become all that they can be, thinking beyond the confines of a school curriculum, and take responsibility for changing the world.
Behind her youthful and humble demenour is a gentle spirit in tune with nature , her exuberance shines through, as Imalka de Silva, A PhD student nominated to join the 2010 Antartic expedition, tells of the sights and sounds of melting ice. Of pristine beauty and wildlife untouched.

Imalka explains that Sri Lanka was selected because it was going thru a “transition to peace”. Beginning with a glimpse of her childhood, and paying tribute to her parents for making her everything that she has become; “from my father I Iearnt strength and discipline, and from my mother kindness and humility” , all these attributes reflect in her accomplishments, which have culminated into this daring journey to Antarctica.

Imalka, who describes herself as a “war child”, had her childhood in the height of the war. Yet she chose a mind frame which was to be in harmony with Nature. “Nature protects, you when you are in tune with nature, you become nature’s child”.

Imalka, starts the presentation by telling her audience about the phone call that will change her life, and leads the enraptured audience through the experience of intense preparation at Ushuaia in Argentina , where they practiced hiking and received lectures; Training the participants to “walk like penguins”.

Sailing on a Russian ship, with food from South Africa, the journey began, Passing Drake passage into the Antarctic Peninsula. Imalka takes us along with her on the journey into the Continent dedicated to peace and science. Imaginations follow her, through the stilled images of snap shots of baby Seals and Penguin colonies.

Imalka tells of the disruptive effect of global warming she experienced first hand, she describes the disruption of the circle of life. The warm temperatures of the sea kill the Krill bills, an important food source for penguins. This reduction in food source affect the seals and other wild life in the Antarctic who in turn feed on penguins.

Despite the pristine beauty of ice formations and Antarctica blue seas, it’s sad to hear the tale of the melting ice, swept away by the rising temperature of the sea water. This is caused by the carbon dioxide emissions of the industrialized world; finally she reveals the war path of man against nature.

An hour later, the children are still spellbound, listening to the importance of each individual taking responsibility for caring for the planet. Their young minds might not fully comprehend the magnitude of the task ahead, yet the seed has been planted, and they will some day hopefully, devote themselves to ending this damage to our planet. Imalka ends her presentation with the importance of keeping track of carbon foot print, ‘if every one acted responsibly, eventually this trend will be reversed”.

On a proactive note, the Peace Gang’s Commitment to caring for the environment, has attracted the Green Army, a team of teenagers who are dedicated to encouraging recycling in Colombo . Umar, a student of LPF Academy, originally from South Africa tells another tale of an underprivileged Community in South Africa, who took a barren land, and fertilizing it with compost, worked together to create a beautiful garden, a park for the small community. This project took troubled youth of the streets, and diverted their energy into something worthwhile.
With the young working together for a cleaner and safer environment, there is hope for the future. Such events ensure that climate change and the importance of protecting the environment will always be at the fore front of life style decisions. When the Green Army joins the Peace Gang, there is no doubt that such youthful energy will lead to significant change for a better Sri Lanka.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

UnNigerianization of my Son

My ten year old son (half Sri Lankan) has been finding it very difficult to process the stories he is hearing about Africa. Derogatory references to the continent of his birth, and his mother’s Race is stirring up unsettling vibes and a mild identity crises.

Recently he repeatedly told me about the pictures of starving children his class teacher had shown his class. The malnourished images etched into his mind the hardship and depravation suffered by a race he belongs to; a harsh reality all children of African origin have to face eventually.

On another incident, some other teacher was talking to the class about cannibalism, and she gave the example “in Africa, some people eat parts of the body of their enemies because they feel it would give them strength”. She told me of his dramatic reaction, as he yelled “I am not one of them!” animatedly gesturing for emphasis.

I worry that he will grow up with a very negative self image. Being African is not a choice, it never was for any of us, we are born in the continent and have to make the best of what ever opportunities we have, while facing bravely all the threats that come our way.

I still cringe, when I hear or read the “single story” references about Africa, on poverty, violence, corruption or disease. If as an Adult I am still so affected by the African Stereotype then, I can’t imagine what he would be experiencing as child. A young mind in its formative years, constantly hearing more and more of Africa bashing, will grow up detesting the continent, and what I fear more, the part of himself that is African.

All people have their challenges, but ours seem to be the only one, where our woes seem to seriously out weight our blessings. There is a high probability, that he will soon want no part of the continent in his identity, and try to form a self perception based on his preferred Nationality (most likely Sri Lankan).

I might be wrong, but I worry that, rejecting a part of our identity is a great loss. How can you face yourself in the mirror everyday, if you can’t stand the stark reality that you are ‘black’ and the all connotation there in? The only option is to love the blackness, with all its flaws, and then perhaps we can some how transcend the negativity.

When he was younger, he had once said to me, “I wish we were German”! This was back in Nigeria when we were living in an expatriate neighborhood, I am not sure why he said it, but I would speculate that he must have observed the differences in the living standards of his father’s German colleagues, as compared to the other LDC nationalities.

As it often happens, a lot of innocuous comments children make, have deep meaning. But my challenge as a mother is to put aside my own melancholy about the continent and seek to find some sunshine in the Dark Continent.

Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly paint myself and my children white, and migrate to a colder climate. Adopting a new accent and embracing a cultural identity without so much baggage. Or, I could also from the comfort of my economically stable nation, scream my Africanesss, wearing the colorful uniform of ancestral traditions in other to gain attention and adoration of my culture hungry fans.

Sadly, that option is not available, so for the sake of my son’s self esteem, I have to bury my African demons, retire my nagging Naija doubts. Because I don’t want him growing up and wishing he was anything but who he is, African- Asian, and everything else in between.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beggers on the Bus; an unbearable burden!

Nothing humanizes a person like going by public transportation. Many car owners in developing countries may never know the trauma experienced in public transport. Beggers that i would usually feel pity for : i find very difficult to feel sorry for when they are taken advantage of the situation of cramped spaces in congested buses. Many are known drug addicts and alchoholics, who formulate lies to get pity from the already low-in-come earning bus commuters.

Having moved to Srilanka from Nigeria, I have been bitten by a comparison bug and I find myself constantly comparing the two Countries. In both countries Public transportation as in other places of the “third world”, is a major reminder of the almost subhuman existence people are forced to live in due to poverty.

Though there are varying degrees of distress when it comes to public transportation in the third world, such as the hazardous rusty “Danfos” in a city like Lagos, or the risk of being robbed by other “passengers” in the FCT. This article is about the City of Colombo, the commercial Capital of Srilanka. It is based on my observations, discussions and experiences in the couple of years I’ve been here.

Traveling over long or short distances in uncomfortably close proximity with strangers, particularly during rush hours is never a pleasant experience. The tightly packed spaces of buses will confound any sociologist as it is a very unique dynamic in human interaction. Standing or sitting with just enough space for you and in most cases others leans onto you.

While many people whom during normal situations would not come anywhere near you will be rubbing their bodies so close to you as they go in and out of the bus. You will pretend it didn’t happen, because acknowledging it will make life just too unbearable; So many perverts taking advantage of the close proximity to assault young women.

Neat or well dressed people, standing or sitting so close by is even tolerable, but what is unbearable is when beggars (some with possibly contagious diseases) come into this limited space, clutching the same bar handles you will be holding onto as you get on or off the bus, parading their illnesses for already desolate eyes to see.

It doesn’t seem fair to me that they should be allowed on buses during rush hours, there’s more than enough to contend with, the sweat drenched scents and on the rare occasion a pervert who decides to take advantage of the situation and lean in too closely even for the sardine -like arrangement of people inside the fast moving vehicle.Beggars on buses in third world countries are quite common, especially in major cities. Many with, cancers, amputations or fire accident victims usually move from their street corners into buses which is seemingly more lucrative.

On buses there can be no hasty rushing away, stuck in the vehicle till they reach their destination, passengers are a perfect target for sympathetic ears.The unavoidable sights such as stray dogs, street hawkers and poorly disposed garbage, are part of all urban cities. Beggars are a part of the landscape in Colombo's city center.

Majestic City, a major shopping mall in the heart of the city is a major tourist attraction. Yet even there several helplessly crouching beggars with various degrees of deformities and illness sit from morning till night waiting with hands outreached for rupees that passersby can spare.

I heard from reliable sources that they are picked up and dropped every day by a very well organized cartel that run the show. It’s indeed a sad life for them, to be shuttled to and fro in a daze of an unforgiving and harsh reality.But just in case you missed them on the street not to worry, many of them ply bus routes, some of them I’ve been told give a small percentage to the bus conductors, who also get a small side income from the misery and suffering of the helpless beggars
Usually on most days, going by buses is a very pleasant considering the very low cost and its availability. Hundreds of numbered buses crisscross through several routes around the city, plying constantly from morning till night; one is unlikely to ever get stranded due to lack of transportation.

They are consistent and safe on most days, even pick pocketing is not very common despite the rush hour congestion.Often enough, a man suffering from Elephantiasis the disease caused by lymphatic filariasis will limp into this already compact space, displaying his swollen leg as he appeals for money. With so little space for the sweat drenched workers returning from work, it’s a terrible assault to the senses. No matter the sympathy one might have for beggars, it truly is an unpleasant experience!There are other categories of beggars that come on the bus, some that allow a certain level of pity to flow; these are usually children, malnourished figures begging for arms in melancholic singsong voices.

Mothers with infants are another heart wrenching sight that make one ponder the whole point of existence just watching them walk from seat to seat with hands outstretched.
It comes as a big relief to the Colombo Citizens, that the government has banned beggars from going on buses from the month of May, 2010.

This is From a Sri Lankan Daily

I wish to thank Private Bus Owners’ Association President Gemunu Wijeratna on behalf of Colombo City Citizens’ Committee for banning begging in buses with effect from end of April.
He informed that this decision was taken to improve the service and make it commuter friendly, he added. Wijeratna said he will introduce a system of fines. A fine will be imposed on bus drivers and conductors who allow begging. The proposal for this will be announced officially.
A C M RAUFF - Secretary
Colombo City Citizens’

Edward Weerasinghe Kelaniya group correspondent

The banning of begging on trains is a timely move, although it has taken such a long time for the relevant authorities to realize the inconvenience caused to commuters. The same rule should apply to CTB and private buses as beggars have become a nuisance.
Most of the bus-commuters told the ‘Daily News that besides beggars, others who frequent public transport collect funds for medical treatment and surgery, some who identify themselves as university students collect funds to organise cultural shows, vendors of ‘Book-marks’ and picture postcards, musical entertainers, lottery ticket sellers and differently abled persons.
A regular traveller from Yakkala to Colombo Nimal Jayasinghe said that individual beggars engaged in their daily routine for years with infants which they once carried have grown over the years to become skillful child beggars.
Hence this menace should be banned in private buses and CTB buses as early as possible with the assistance of the police.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Movie Maraton

Need i Say more? this is the best moivie i've seen, i look forward to an entire series, this is the new startrek!

The first Hindi movie i've seen in a while, its totally hilarious!
Will Smith was brilliant in the drama, the ending was really intense!
and i think i just learnt how to pronounce Vegan!

Is it just me, or Jude Law and Robert Downey have both grown as actors, They were both sensational in this flick!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Movie ; Mangement

Hey Whats happening to me? i am begining to love romantic movies...growing up i guess!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mustard Seed: Marketing Article for ICBT

Mustard Seed: Marketing Article for ICBT

International College of Buisness and Technology, Srilanka

Marketing Article for ICBT

Increasing the scope of careers in childcare

For the first time in Sri Lanka, ICBT City Campus, Bambalapitiya offers BTec Higher National Diploma in Advanced Practice in work with children and families .

This Edexcel UK qualification is an eighteen month programme especially for all involved in childcare professions. AMI Diploma and A level graduates now have a chance to develop a range of skills and techniques essential for success in childcare career.

Addressing the need to give a multidisciplinary training in leadership, quality assurance and management in the early year's sector, ICBT offers this unique programme that encourages students to think critically about theoretical and practical issues concerned with the education and care of children.

This Higher National Diploma in Advanced Practice in work with children and families focuses on providing education and training for a range of careers in the early year's sector. School Administrators, parents and other professionals in the early years sector will have this opportunity to achieve an internationally recognized qualification, which may be used as a qualification for migration and greater employment opportunities in many countries around the world including UK.

The Higher National Diploma in Advanced Practice in work with children and families is a vocationally specific qualification, resulting in UK National Qualification Framework level 5 Certification. It is an opportunity for those wishing to enter into employment as well as for those who wish to advance academically.

This education and training will improve the skills and effectiveness of the early years workforce and provide advanced training for those who work with children and their families.

ICBT provides quality training, culminating in UK qualifications at a fraction of the cost it would take to do it in UK. As the leading Edexcel provider in Sri Lanka it has been awarded A grade approval for five consecutive years as well as ISO 9001:2001 certification.

This programme is conducted by a highly qualified panel of experienced academics and industry experts. Apart from the knowledge and experience of work with children and families gained from employment and this training, you will also develop additional effective transferable skills, such as writing skills, group working, leadership, communication, giving presentations and IT.

This training is for professionals working in the public sector, voluntary organizations and privately funded institutions to support the welfare and care of children, young people and families.

The HND is a recognized 'stand alone' qualification, and there is also a progression path to a B.A. in Early Childhood Studies. There are many recession proof Career Opportunities in health services, children charities, and preschool education, even for those interested in living outside Sri Lanka, this will provide the qualification to work in this highly regulated profession.

The teaching technique includes group lectures, which will outline knowledge and concepts specific to the module, and workshops where activities will create a link between theory and practice. Presentations, role play, group and individual research are other methods used to optimize the learning experience.

With more than ten years experience in the educational sector, ICBT is positioned to offer training in Social Care and education which are among the largest employment sectors in the world today, a field where opportunities are buoyant.

For further information regarding this programme, please contact ICBT City Campus hotline: 011-4869999 .

By Maryanne

Lecturer - ICBT City Campus

About Me

My photo
On a Journey to discover the taste of the Living Water!

Blog Archive

Favourite Authors

  • Bessie Head
  • Doris Spelling
  • Fey Weldon
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Steven King
  • Thich Nhat Hanh