Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Story of the Ceylon Girl Guides

Adjusting their blue ties, checking if the metallic pin is on straight before standing in formation to commence their weekly meetings, a Girl Guide company coming into session is a quietly ceremonial event. “Be prepared is our motto,” Chief Commissioner Sri Lanka Girl Guides (SLGG) Yasmin Raheem says, which was perhaps the thinking that led Jennie Claverly Green almost 100 years ago to introduce Guiding to the Girls High School in Kandy.

Girls’ High School Kandy was where the local story began in 1917 and the school is listed as the “1st Kandy” Company. Subsequently the movement made its way to Colombo, with Methodist College the first to welcome it, being listed as “1st Colombo”.

With some ten million girls and young women in 146 countries across the globe, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. “We are currently in the process of gathering information in the hope of publishing a book, tracing the 100 years of Guiding in this country,” the Chief Commissioner says. A year’s programme of commemorative events has been planned starting tomorrow at the Independence Square and winding up with a final celebration at Girls High School Kandy next year.

The ceremony at 4p.m. on Monday, March 21 to mark the beginning of SLGG’s centenary celebrations will see a gathering of Girl Guides and Little Friends at Colombo’s Independence Square. The Chief Guest will be Professor Savitri Goonesekere who has been actively engaged in bringing social injustice against women to the fore. SLGG will formally announce the centenary events taking place throughout this year at tomorrow’s event.

Meanwhile research is being carried out at the SLGG Headquarters opposite Colombo’s Public Library while preparations for the centenary celebrations get into full swing. Except for a portrait of Jennie Claverly Green which hangs at the entrance to SLGG’s hall, little else of her role in the school has been recorded. Her aspirations in setting up the 1st Kandy Company may have been lost to time, but with “approximately 4,000 women and girls” who are a part of the local Guiding community throughout the nine provinces, the seed she planted has blossomed into a strong and vibrant community across Sri Lanka. 

The first Sri Lankan 

Related image
1st Chief Commissioner Edna Alwis
“We work with the Ministry of Education,” Chief Commissioner Raheem says. From very early on, the state has recognised the value of what we do and schools have become the basis of each company. This is unique, she points out, since “abroad, for instance in England, the system is community-based.”

Changes to the universal way in which Girl Guides function owes partly to the organic nature of SLGG’s success so far. “We still go by the Guide Promise and 10 Laws” as the global community requires. Recognised as full members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts since 1951, there has however been much “localising” of the system to Sri Lanka.

An endemic flavour that came in as early as when we got independence was made stronger by former Chief Commissioner, Freny Jilla, Ms. Raheem says. “When I was in school, in the 50s, we didn’t have Little Friends, it was called Brownies.” Regimental practices were also localised and foreign elements “like the toadstool” were abandoned. “We’ve also changed the uniforms” which now include “lama-sari, shalwar and pavadai” versions.”

A major change took place in 1972, when the highest Guilding award “Queen’s Guide” (since the Queen of England was the patron of the movement) became “the President’s Guide” with Sri Lanka becoming a Republic.

A special needs unit is yet another subsequent addition to the Guiding Family in Sri Lanka. 
Image result for Jennie Claverly
Jennie Claverly
Current projects that the SLGG has taken up include fighting violence against women, which has been recognised as a growing plague. The Guides launched ‘Stop the Violence in 2013’, and continue to work together with the Danish Guiding Community in a project called “Women at Work, Children at School.” This project is a means of educating women to run small businesses and receive practical and financial training to do so, on the condition that their children are sent to school. “Life Long Learning” is yet another empowerment programme providing skills to women of the lowest income brackets in urban areas.

As early as 1975, members of the local Guiding community have made their mark in international fora. The 22nd World Conference in the UK was chaired by a Sri Lankan, Chief Commissioner Sita Rajasuriya, who was incidentally the first Asian to be given this honour. The tradition still continues as Sri Lankans have been on various international Guiding bodies. “We’re a small country, but our work has been recognised and respected globally,” says Chief Commissioner Raheem.
Special thanks for 
Vinusha Paulraj

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

24වැනි ලෝක බාලදක්ෂ ජම්බෝරිය - 2019

24වැනි ලෝකෙ බාලදක්ෂ ජම්බෝරිය සඳහා මේ වනවිට ඊට සහභාගිවීමට නියමිත ශ්‍රී ලංකා බාලදක්ෂ කණ්ඩායමේ කොටස් කීපයක් යටතේ එක්සත් ජනපදය බලා පිටත් ව යනු ලබන අතර ජූලි 21 දා අවසන් කණ්ඩායම දිවයිනෙන් පිටත්ව යනු ලැබිණ.

නව ලෝකයක් සඳහා අඟුලු ඇරීම

2019 ලෝක බාලදක්ෂ ජම්බෝරිය ඇමරිකා එක්සත් ජනපදයේ බටහිර වර්ජිනියාවේ සුන්ඳර කඳුකරයේ පිහිටි සමිට් බෙක්ටේල් බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිතයේදී ජූලි 22 සිට 2019 අගෝස්තු 2 දක්වා පැවැත්වේ.ජාතීන් හා ප්‍රදේශ 200 කට අධික බාලදක්ෂ සංඛාවක් නියෝජනය කරන ජාතික බාලදක්ෂ සංවිධාන 160 කට වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක තරුණ තරුණියන් සමඟ මිත්‍රත්වය ,සහෝදරත්වය සහ ත්‍රාසජනකත්වය සපිරි නව අත්දැකීම් රැසක් විඳීමේ අවස්ථාව හිමි 24 වන ලෝක බාලදක්ෂ ජම්බෝරියේ තේමාව වන්නේ "නව ලෝකයක් සඳහා අඟුලු ඇරීමයි " (Unlock a New World) යන්නයි.

මෙවර ලෝකෙ ජම්බෝරිය සඳහා සත්කාරය දරනු ලබන්නේ ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය හෙවත් BSA සංගමයයි.උතුරු ඇමරිකාවේ බටහිර වර්ජිනියාවේ බෙක්ටේල් ජාතික බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිතයේ පැවැත්වෙන මෙම ලෝක ජම්බෝරිය සඳහා ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය සමඟ කැනේඩියානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය සහ මෙක්සිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය සත්කාරකත්වය උසුලයි .මෙය ලෝක ජම්බෝරියක් සඳහා සංවිධාන තුනක් විසින් සත්කාරය සැපයූ ප්‍රථම අවස්ථාව වන්නේය .


අක්කර 14,000 කට අධික භූමි වපසරියකින් යුත් බෙක්ටේල් බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිතය ස්ටීවන් ඩී බෙක්ටේල් ගේ ධන පරිත්‍යාගය ඇතුළු පරිත්‍යාගයන් මඟින් ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමයට අත්පත් කරගැනීමට හැකිවූ සුවිශාලම කඳවුරු භූමියයි.

බටහිර වර්ජිනියාවේ ජෝර්ජ් ගඟට යාබදව පිහිටි බෙක්ටේල් බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිතය ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමයේ ස්ථිර කඳවුරු භූමිවලින් විශාලතම කඳවුරු භූමිය වේ.

ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය තම ජාතික බාලදක්ෂ ජම්බෝරි සඳහා ස්ථිර භූමියක් කෙරෙහි අවධානය යොමුකළ අතර ඒ සඳහා ප්‍රාන්ත 28 ක ප්‍රදේශ 80 වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක් සෝදිසි කලහ.අවසානයේ 2009 නොවැම්බරයේදී තම අභිප්‍රාය පරිදි අක්කර 10,600 ක භූමි ප්‍රමාණයකින් යුත් දේපළ අත්පත් කරගැනීමට නිවේදනය නිකුත් කරන ලදී .ඒ අනුව ජූනියර් ෆවුන්ඩේෂන් හි ස්ටීවන් .ඩී .බෙක්ටේල් ඒ සඳහා ඩොලර් මිලියන 50 පරිත්‍යාග කල අතර එය ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය වෙත ඉතිහාසයේ ලද විශාලතම පරිත්‍යාගය විය .මේ අතර සුසෑන් සහ වෝල්ටර් ස්කොට් පදනමේ ඩොලර් මිලියන 25 සමඟ මුළු පරිත්‍යාග මුදල ඩොලර් මිලියන 100 දක්වා ලඟාකර ගැනීමට ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමයට හැකිවිණි .

2012 වසරේ දී ඇමරිකානු බාලදක්ෂ සංගමය විසින් විශ්‍රාමික නාවික උප අද්මිරාල් වරයෙකු වූ ජස්ටින් ඩෑන් මැකාති ,බෙික්ටේල් බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිත ක්‍රියාකාරිත්වයේ අධ්‍යක්ෂක ලෙස පත්කරනු ලැබීය .

බෙක්ටේල් බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිතය ප්‍රධාන ක්‍රියාකාරකම් තුනක් සිය මූලික ප්‍රතිපත්තිය ලෙස සලකා ක්‍රියාකරයි.1)"පෝල් ආර් ක්‍රිස්ටන් ජාතික උසස් වික්‍රමාන්විත කඳවුර " , 2) "ජේම්ස් සී ජස්ටින් ජාතික බාලදක්ෂ කඳවුරු භූමිය" සහ 3) " ජෝන් . ඩී.ටිකල් පුහුණු හා නායකත්ව මධ්‍යස්ථානය" යන්න මේ අංග තුනයි.දලවශයෙන් පුද්ගලයන් 80,000 ක ධාරිතාවකින් යුත් විශාල එලිමහන් පිටියක් වන (අංක 1)උසස් ව්ක්‍රමාන්විත කඳවුර දුනු ශිල්පය ,රයිෆල් වෙඩිපිටි,මවුන්ටන් පා පැදි ආවරණ , වියන් චාරිකා කඳු නැගීම් හා ඔරු පැදීම් ආදිය ඇතුලත්වේ. කඳවුරු කරුවන් 40,000 පමණ රැඳීසිටීමේ හැකියාවක් ඇති ජස්ටින් ජාතික කඳවුර (අංක 2 )උප කඳවුරු 6 කින් සමන්විතය .

2013 ඔක්තෝබර් 22 ඇරඹි ඇමරිකානු ජාතික බාලදක්ෂ ජම්බෝරිය දා බෙක්ටේල් බාලදක්ෂ රක්ෂිතය නිලවශයෙන් විවෘත කරන ලදී.

#KD ncsg

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A True Guiding light for Young Girls

Centenary celebrations of Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association

The Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association (SLGGA) celebrates a century of excellence today. In the past hundred years, it has helped a countless number of people and has empowered young girls and women island wide.
As the only organisation that works with girls under the age of five, the SLGGA, throughout the years, has not only trained youngsters to be the agents of change, but has also conducted various projects aiding the differently-abled, providing shelter for the homeless, supporting the tsunami victims, educating women on gender based violence and helping them secure employment through training.


Spanning across 146 countries, the Girl Guide Movement was founded by Lord Robert Baden Powell on March 21, 1910, and supported by a staggering 10 million members. In short, it is the largest voluntary organisation for girls and young women in the world.
The movement reached the shores of Lanka in 1917 when Miss Jenny Calverley, a young teacher from England, joined the staff of Girls’ High School, Kandy and started the first Girl Guide Company in the school.
The spirit of Girl Guiding caught on and companies providing such training opened in Colombo, Jaffna and Galle. Girl Guiding quickly spread to the rural areas of the island.


In the span of a hundred years, the Sri Lanka Girl Guides has conducted various community service projects that have impacted society at the grassroot level. The SLGGA has made contributions to the environment and various sectors of society from the differently-abled to the homeless, to those  struck with poverty, the uneducated, women in rural villages and much more. Some of these projects are showcased below. 

Branch of the differently-abled (1924)

In 1924, the SLGGA opened a branch for the differently-abled after which the girl guides company was established in the School for the Deaf and Blind in Ratmalana. The branch was officially declared open in 1925. The association has been working with differently-abled girls on school and corporate levels. Girl Guide companies are running in schools including Dhayamina, Nethmithura, Chitra Lane and the School for the Deaf and Blind in Ratmalana. In recent years, SLGGA has also been working closely with the Labour and Manpower Ministry to provide employment opportunities to their differently-abled members.

Family Life Education and Community Development Project (1978)

The Family Life Education and Community Development Project was carried out in villages in different parts of the country from Galle to Jaffna. The project intends of educating the community in all aspects of health and nutrition, sanitation, immunisation, skills, population awareness and recreation. Girl Guides visited villages where no attention was given on women’s health. They enlightened the villagers on the significance of nutrition for women and children.
Soup kitchens were organised at the end of every workshop. Villagers were spoken to about family planning, proper sanitation and how to appreciate the entire country. Preschools were run in each village. Women were encouraged to start income-generating projects. People were educated on family affairs.
There was marked improvement in the areas of health, income and sanitation. With women working on income generating projects, poverty levels diminished. Workshops continued until the villages were able to be self-sufficient and no longer required SLGGA’s assistance. There were many spinoffs of this project including the slum and shanty upliftment initiative in Wattala and Baladhakshika Gama. 

Baladhakshika Gama (1990)

‘Baladhakshika Gama’ was established in 1990 in celebration of the International Year for Shelter for the Homeless in Ganemulla, Kadawatha.
Baladhakshika Gama provided homes to ten impoverished families that were dependent on women, the breadwinners. In addition to housing these families, the women were given training in life skills at the National Training Centre which was opened adjoining the village.

Tsunami Project (2004)

The disaster management committee of the SLGGA was formed after tsunami hit Sri Lanka on December 26, 2004.
The SLGGA renovated, restocked and furnished 14 tsunami affected school libraries in the Southern and Eastern provinces, and established the Tsunami Education Support System (TESS) scholarships for tsunami victims. Food, clothes and other equipment were distributed among pregnant mothers.
Classes were conducted in sewing, embroidery and lace-making to encourage income generation amongst tsunami victims, this included widows. A Child Development Centre was set up in Kudawella, a village in Tangalle that was battered by tsunami. 

Environmental Star-Rating Programme (2008)

The SLGGA teamed up with schools, which the Education Ministry labelled as the most ‘eco-friendly’ institutions, to raise awareness amongst schoolchildren on the impact and consequences of global warming. At the workshops and seminars conducted, students were educated on the measures needed to be taken to reduce the impact of global warming. Key areas that were focused included reduction of energy consumption, conservation of water, planting trees and recycling.

‘Stop the Violence’ Campaign (2011)

The ‘Stop the Violence’Campaign was launched globally by WAGGGS in Edinburgh, Scotland in July 2011 to end all forms of violence against girls and young women.
In Sri Lanka, the SLGGA has conducted various workshops and activities on gender based violence, child abuse and reproductive health, thereby raising awareness on the subject. These included;

’16 days of activism’ conducted in December every year
‘Voices Against Violence’ activities for Girl Guides
‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’ sessions in Colombo and Jaffna
‘Girl Up’ Campaign for schoolchildren launched in collaboration with the Health Ministry in October 2015 

Women At Work, Children At School (2014)
The above programme is an ongoing project carried out by the SLGGA in the Matale District with the help of Danish guides, scouts and the NGO ‘WAWCAS International.’
The less privileged women are encouraged to become self-sufficient by providing them with entrepreneurship training and funds to start up individual income-generating projects. The project commenced in early 2014 in two villages in Matale.
Some 32 women have been able to make their families financially stable through micro-financing.

Success stories:

Renula, whose husband was an alcoholic, rented and renovated a small store with the funds provided to her. She runs this as a grocery store and makes enough money to support her family. She is paying back her start-up loan now. Her husband is no longer an alcoholic and helps his wife in her work.
Sriyani (35) was abused by her drunkard husband and brother-in-law. Her eight-year-old son has a heart problem. They are hit by abject poverty and don’t have a proper place to live in. With the funds provided to her, Sriyani started cultivating paddy and ginger to support her family.
With the funds provided to Yogeshwari and her sister-in-law Susila, they started their own business, making and selling snacks. Their husbands help them distribute these snacks to neighbouring villages in trishaws. They are now striving to expand their business by putting up a bakery.

Why SLGGA is important for young girls

Being a Girl Guide does not merely mould girls to build campfires and tie knots. It is the only association that reaches out to girls at the grass-root level and educate them on what the society expects from them. It helps them build their self-confidence and creates a conducive environment to live in. Further, it instills in them leadership skills by initiative man workshops and events that would hone their skills.

The SLGGA teaches young girls to stand up for themselves. It paves the way for young women to aid those who are less privileged. The association has left their footprint of social welfare on our little island, proving that they are an integral part of our society. 
Special thanks to 
Haadiyh Marikkar

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts hails Sri Lanka’s Success and Services

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGS) rates the Sri Lankan Girl Guides Association (SLGGA) quite high in terms of performance, membership and empowering the girl child in Sri Lanka.“We are very pleased about the service rendered by the Sri Lankan Girl Guides Association to the local community and appreciate their hard work and visionary,” said WAGGS Asia-Pacific region Representative (Thailand)Lucy Ati-Chatin an interview with the Daily FT. Ati-Chat is in Sri Lanka with WAGGS Asia-Pacific region Representative (Nepal)PreranaShakyaRai (on a five-day visit (4-8 April) to review the SLGAA. This review is carried out once in every three years.
WAGGS Asia-Pacific region Representative (Nepal) Prerana Shakya Rai
The SLGGA, which was started in 1917, accounts for over 30,000 memberships spanning all nine provinces. It is a non-governmental, non-religious organisation which is open to girls and women from all walks of life, irrespective of their caste, religion or race. It follows a value-based, non-formal educational programme focusing on community development, environmental awareness, primary health-care, drug abuse prevention, the girl child, adolescent health, HIV/AIDS and the integration of differently-abledpersons into normal society. 

WAGGS Asia-Pacific region Representative (Thailand)Lucy Ati-Chat -Pix by Lasantha Kumara

Following their mission and vision ‘Take Pride in being a Woman,’ the SLGGA hopes to encourage girls and young women to make their own choices in decision-making at all levels. Following are excerpts of an interview with the duo:

Q: Is this your first time visit to Sri Lanka? Are you enjoying you stay here?

Ati-Chat: No, this is my second visit to Sri Lanka. I was here in 1992 and since then Sri Lanka hasdeveloped a lot.

ShakyaRai: Yes, it is. I am looking forward to my visit here as I like travelling and have always wanted to come here.

Q: What is the purpose of your visit to Sri Lanka?

ShakyaRai:This is purely a partnership visit and we are hoping to review the SLGGA which is one of our member organisations in terms of strategy; we will look at how the member organisation is working, and present recommendations on the basis of this five-day review.

Ati-Chat:We will do several presentations and assessments on the unique activities carried out by SLGGA based on the six core areas of Educational programmes, Adult training, learning and development, Membership,Relationship to society, Finance and Structure and management. We are hoping to take back some new ideas; sharing best practices as we say from here to our other member organisations and if there are some drawbacks recommend solutions and update the changes from the global aspect and the Asia Pacific region.

Q: What improvements have you noted since the last review of SLGGA carried out three years earlier?

Ati-Chat: Since the last review carried out in 2013 there has been a 37% increase in membership. Further, the SLGGA has introduced a new program called ‘Community Guiding,’ which is an inclusive movement that enables any person from any community, specially the marginalisedto take part in guiding (not a formal educational programme). It accepts any female above the age of 12 and will help achieve a larger membership base as guiding was only school-based in Sri Lanka for a long time.

Shakya-Rai: The launch of ‘Butterflies’ after the last review in 2013, which is a program for children from the ages of five to seven, is also quite successful. It is very popular and I saw the booklet recently which is very attractive. This is in addition to Little Friends and they join as members as soon as students start school. I hope that they would introduce this to community as well so we can reach a larger membership base.

Q: When comparing the SLGGA with member organisations in the Asia Pacific region, do you think it is at a satisfactory level?

Shakya-Rai:Yes, we are. The SLGGA belongs to the high-quality range of our member organisations. The rapid improvement in membership showcases this and overall we are very pleased about its performance. They have produced very competitive and good young leaders who are sent to international events which help to review the global aspects and the Asia-Pacific region’s performance to the other 146 member organisations.

Ati-Chat:This is also one of the few member organisations which has been helping and mainstreaming the differently-abled population in the country over a very long period of time (since 1924). It was introduced by the British and was started at small ward at the National Hospital in Colombo. This was attended by Lady Baden Powell herself, who enrolled many little children for this programme. Now they work with institutions like the Deaf and Blind School at Ratmalana, orphanages in Jaffna and try to incorporate them into their activities with other members. In 2011 a camp was held for these children at Ladies College Colombo followed by a similar camp in 2013 at Batticaloa. Recently, six of our differently-abled children participated in a very successful camp in South Korea and another will be held soon this year. Not many organisations spread awareness on issues like this and we would like to appreciate the commendable service of the SLGGA. We are hoping to take this experience to other member organisations.

Q: What are the current drawbacks the Association is facing?

Ati-Chat:One of the main drawbacks is the low number of members above the age of 20. We have noticed how guiding is very popular among the schooling generation but afterwards most students drop out due to the high competitive level of State exams. Now we have incorporated programs where members can join with guiding part-time or through other voluntary programs. As I mentioned above, the agelimit is not a barrier to continue guiding and the association will take more steps to encourage new members in future.

Shakya-Rai: Another problem we notice in SLGGA as well as in other member organisations is that after women get married they often do not have time to dedicate towards organisations as ours. As a result we are hoping to introduce some lightweight programmes that would help such women to join our Association.

Q: During your five-day visit to Sri Lanka will you be stationed in Colombo only or travel to other parts of the island?

Ati-Chat: We will be going on a field-trip to the North Western Province on Thursday and meet with the schools and companies there, but our work is mainly centred in Colombo.

Q: Are you hoping to provide any financial assistance to the association during your stay?

Ati Chat: Funds are the life-blood of any organisation. The WAGGS have been and will be funding and providing grants (grants to participate in international events, for training) to carry out some programmes to its member organisations from time to time. It is not something done only when a review is carried out but quite often and in times of need. Today I spoke with Chief Commissioner Jasmine and proposed to modernise the surroundings of SLGGA Headquarters and make use of the space outside but preserve the Heritage building as it is.

Q: Will you be meeting any distinguished personnel government officials during your stay?

Ati Chat:No, we will not meet with the Government as they are quite busy but the SLGGA is a part of the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka and an accepted co-curricular activity. Hence, we will provide reports on our visit to the Ministry.

On 5 April we are scheduled to meet with our partners like John Keells Foundation, UNICEF and also media personnel.

Q: How influential do you think the SLGGA can be with regard to the Sri Lankan girl child in terms of empowering her and making her financially independent similar to your countries where female participation in the labour force is relatively higher?

Ati-Chat: At SLGGA they teach young girls and women life skills and also provide vocational training so that women are able to earn a living of their own and support their families. There is a specific programme called ‘3L; Life Long Learning,’ where women from urban low-income areas like Kirulapone, Mattakuliya and Maradana are taught skills like bridal dressing and cooking so they can run their own businesses. However, whether these women will join the labour force or not is beyond our capability.

Q: In a time where technology governs the lives of the youth, how do you think the WAGGs can positively impact the modern day girl child?

Ati-Chat: The WAGGS has already enabled membership through the internet and e-learning is also available to members in need. We have also launched an online awareness program called ‘SURF-Smart,’ which is a non-formal education curriculum designed to inform young people about how to connect positively online, protect themselves from online threats and respect their rights and reputation on the internet.This website is jointly done with SYMANTEC.

Special thanks
By HiruniDabarera/ Pix by Lasantha Kumara