With the desire to encourage and empower the next generation of professionals in Sri Lanka, Sysco LABS worked with the Educate Lanka Foundation in 2017, an organization that supports the education of talented under-privileged youths in Sri Lanka. As a part of the collaboration, Sysco LABS also joined the Educate Lanka Mentorship program, a program that three of the mentors from Sysco LABS completed together with their mentees from ELF.
Supun Muthutantrige, Stefhan Sebastian, and Pubudu Dodangoda embarked on the mentorship program to give back to the community by guiding and empowering young mentees who need more than mere book knowledge to get ahead in life.
The Educate Lanka Foundation (ELF) is a global peer-to-peer micro-scholarship program, which matches sponsors with socio-economically disadvantaged youths in Sri Lanka empowering them to complete their higher education. The Educate Lanka Mentorship program (ELMP) aims to further empower these students by pairing them with professionals in the industry they wish to eventually work in and taking them through a 10-unit course developing their personal and professional skills.
Speaking on his successful completion of the mentorship program and his hopes for his mentee’s future Supun Muthutantrige said, “I was lucky enough to be a part of the Educate Lanka mentoring program which allowed me to work with some of the brightest minds in the universities, who are eager and passionate in achieving excellence. I was assigned a mentee for 10 months and guided him according to a well-structured program under multiple categories. This allowed my mentee to receive career exposure and industry knowledge before becoming a professional. After completing the program, my mentee has now gone on to set up his own start-up. I strongly believe that my mentee will become a successful entrepreneur in the future.” Supun’s mentee – Solomon Jayasena commended both Educate Lanka and Supun saying, “This was a turning point in my life and Educate Lanka Foundation introduced me to a good mentor, who was a senior software engineer at Sysco LABS. As a result of this program, I was able to start my own business which has already secured key clients from the USA. I have also been sharing my story and experiences by visiting many schools with less privileged students.”
Sampath Ganegala’s mentor, Stefhan Sebastian, commended the efforts of the Educate Lanka Foundation (ELF) and the way they have structured the program saying, “The Educate Lanka Mentorship (ELM) speaks to the depth and care with which the Educate Lanka Foundation is run. As I was being briefed on the program, the ELF representatives advised me that this program was designed to create ‘a full and well-rounded human being’, surpassing the scope of academic education alone. Influencing someone’s perspective and how they understand the opportunities in front of them are vital in empowering them to reach their potential, and that was the core focus of ELM. The program was very rewarding for me personally. It provided an opportunity for me to examine my life and all the factors that have helped me, in a structured way, and to then pass on as much of that as I could to someone else. It covered areas of knowledge in personal and professional development that is currently unavailable in our national education system, the kinds of things that one learns from the success of one’s seniors or parents if one is lucky. I think it is remarkable that ELF has had the wisdom to include it as a part of their scholarship program. I would highly recommend this program to anyone considering being a mentee, as it may be the only time you get to learn lessons like this in a structured way. To anyone considering being a mentor, I can’t recommend this program enough; occasions to share your wealth will present themselves frequently, but occasions to share your time, attention and wisdom in such a devoted and involved way are few and far between.”
Pubudu Dodangoda who mentored Dulip Chandana shared the value of being a part of the program and the benefits he has gained as an individual from taking part: “The Educate Lanka mentorship program is indeed a remarkable experience. We were exposed first-hand to the struggles that children in our generation go through, both in their education and life, and this program was a great opportunity for me to quench my thirst to give back to society. The program provided us with a fair amount of resources and guidelines to help us guide the mentees in the right direction whilst also giving us the flexibility of bringing our own experiences to the mentoring sessions to make the interactions more genuine, authentic, and interesting. By the end of the program, not only did I have the pleasure of helping someone, but I was also lucky to make a dear friend for a lifetime.”
Speaking on the partnership with Sysco LABS and the success of these three mentors, Manjula Dissanayake, Founding Executive Director of Educate Lanka said, “As we reimagine education for a rapidly changing tomorrow, it is paramount that we shift the purpose of learning from mere acquisition of knowledge and narrow academic outcomes toward a more collective purpose of maximizing well-being to thrive not only in academics and work, but also in life. For such a fundamental shift, we need an all-hands-on-deck approach, including the private sector as a key stakeholder, in re-shaping what it means to be educated in an interconnected world. Our partnership with Sysco LABS has been an ideal example of how such social-private partnerships could fulfill critical socioeconomic objectives of a nation by producing educated citizenry and economic actors who embrace their role and responsibility to each other and to the larger society as global citizens. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with Sysco LABS while joining with other like-minded corporate partners as we strive and aspire to unearth Sri Lanka’s fullest potential.”
If your company is interested in learning more about the program and the association behind it, you could reach out to Dhanu Amarasinghe, Country Director, Sri Lanka at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also contact Seevali Ratnakara, Manager, Mentorship Program at email@example.com.