We are very excited to be moving towards opening our second learning center in Sri Lanka with a program starting in the next week. Our most recent addition to our family of Community Heroes, Mr. Sampath Sri Senawatte, was recruited last month to open his learning center in North-Central Province, near the town of Kekirawa. This is great news for BOOKBRIDGE and also for our first learning center in Sri Lanka, the Skills Learning Center in Bandarawela, run by Sujitha Miranda. Sujitha will now gain a local colleague to share and exchange ideas with.
On October 8, at the Ranajayapura Meeting Hall, we facilitated a community meeting for the residents of the town. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce BOOKBRIDGE and the process of setting up a learning center as a social business in the community, introduce the local Capability Program that will run in tandem with the European program starting on October 25th and, very importantly, to collect information on local community needs and wants in the field of education.
The turn out for the meeting was beyond our expectations with approximately 220 participants joining initially. This made it difficult to facilitate a participatory style meeting and after the first session, the younger participants were sent home in order to focus more on the assets and gaps in education and training in the community with parents. We learned, however, that in this community it would have been difficult and divisive to not open the meeting to all residents. We also learned that the community is very enthusiastic and eager for a learning center. In the next weeks, Sampath will work on the findings of the meeting to identify the needs and skills of the community of Kekirawa.