POS Bio-Sciences is proud to have a culturally diverse team. Many people on the POS Bio-Sciences team have connections and roots in Sri Lanka. In fact, the POS Bio-Sciences joint venture, Lakessence, is the result of these many connections, and the venture has helped increase POS Bio-Sciences’ global reach amongst other benefits.
Recently, Sri Lanka was devastated by floods. Homes, towns and schools and the people that depend on them were impacted – some of them family members and friends of the POS team. In response, members of the POS management team, board of directors and friends banded together to raise $8000. The money will be donated to schools in Sri Lanka and earmarked to help rebuild computer labs in schools.
Vice President of Business Development and Principal Scientist, Udaya Wanasundra’s son, Navin Wanasundara, responded to this donation. Read his letter to learn more.
On the plane ride to Sri Lanka (early August, 2017) my father explained the incredibly generous donation that was made to the Sri Lankan school system by POS directors and friends. Recent floods devastated several parts of the country and this meant a large loss of resources, including educational ones.
Upon landing and hailing a taxi with our surplus of luggage (our dad has no idea how to pack light) we traversed the island heading towards our maternal grandparent’s house and I got my first eyeful of my second home nearly after one and half years.
Amid the gorgeous jungle landscapes and hustle and bustle of narrow town corridors, concrete pillars and building walls are absolutely plastered with advertisements. But not murals of advertisements no-no, these ads are almost always the exact same: a black and white or color photograph of a headshot of a tutor, the subject they teach and their phone number. Education seems to be the #1 thing at the forefront of every Sri Lankan citizen’s mind, plain and simple.
Whenever we travelled around the country during our trip, 99 times out of 100 the first question I was asked by relatives was “How is your studies?” and if it were a family friend it would be “What you are studying?” it was uncanny. For Sri Lankan students the norm after classes are done for the day is instead of heading to extra-curricular activities to go straight to a tutor to even further study the subjects they’re currently learning in school.
Having been to Sri Lanka numerous times over the years and learning so much about the culture and lifestyle I can safely say the two most important things to Sri Lankan people are education and family.
Couples will get married reasonably young and start their families often while staying with their parents, so their children can grow up with their grandparents and the adults can care for their elderly.
Education is a pure competition from even the youngest years, every parents’ dream is for their children to be at the top of their classes and for them to have the same dream for their own kids one day. With that being said the introduction of a computer lab opens up an entire new world to the youth of any country.
Being connected to the Internet allows for literally endless opportunities to learn, engage, have access to key resources they couldn’t find anywhere else and immerse one-self with new notions and methods.
My time in Sri Lanka made me realize how lucky we are in Canada to be constantly connected to the Internet almost everywhere we go, not to mention the incredibly high speed at which it operates.
Many of the houses I visited were limited in their Internet usage, with certain amounts of a data package they could use per month. So the fact that a number of students will be able to go to school with access to a computer lab and high speed Internet (for educational institutes) is a huge advantage.
Education without access to the Internet is severely limited, and access to such especially at school will expose kids to things like IT and make them familiar with IT (which in turn can create job opportunities and added skills for future endeavors).
In closing, having the computer lab changes the whole game for these students and will bring out the best and brightest in each one of them.
When monsoon floods destroyed homes and schools it hit the Sri Lankan community closest to the heart, so with this generous donation you can understand how amazing this is. Education is part of the Sri Lankan dream; this kind of a gift builds that dream back into them after being torn away so swiftly. This incredible act of generosity by POS directors and friends will help enrich the lives of teachers, students and in turn families and the community as a whole.
In conclusion, it brings hope, joy and a sense of worldwide companionship so that it feels as though we’re all in this thing together instead of against one another.