Empowering Sri Lanka First

Empowering Sri Lanka First

  • Overview

    Vision / description

    A strategic sustainability initiative of Aitken Spence PLC, Sri Lanka, the purpose of this programme is to enhance the employability of local youth in less privileged communities by enabling opportunities to learn English language and computer literary.

    In a country where English is only a second language, the quality of lessons provided tends to decrease as we move further away from urban cities. Students in less privileged communities do not have the same quality or availability of English lessons or access to computers that are both essential skills in any industry. Over the years we have seen many talented individuals who fail to realise their potential because of this weakness.

    The younger they are, less shy they are to make mistakes and learn new languages and the easier it is to teach them the right skills before they develop habits that create poor skills. This is why our programme was developed to work with students starting at ages 7/8 and work with them for 3 years till they are comfortable to use English or digital equipment and continue to keep learning by themselves.

    Project objectives

    Our mission is to enable the same opportunities to underprivileged children that children from urban and developed communities enjoy.

    Many aspiring youth lose out on opportunities for personal and professional development later in life because they are not able to converse fluently in English or handle computers very well and the vicious cycle of poverty will continue because the better opportunities will remain inaccessible to them because of lack of soft skills. This programme is meant to teach the basic skills to children so that they are equipped adequately to keep learning by themselves. We will also engage teachers from the same communities and provide them training on new teaching techniques that will improve their own teaching skills, thereby increasing the value created from the programme.


    In the pilot phase of this programme we have selected 3 locations in Sri Lanka and started English classes for 180 students. 11 Teachers were recruited from the same communities who had adequate English language skills and we provided training on new teaching techniques in partnership with the British Council in Sri Lanka. The English classes are monitored closely to ensure the safety of the students and to identify areas of improvement. Computer classes are scheduled to start in these same locations. We hope to add more locations to this programme (more students and teachers who will benefit from the programme) as we move forward with ESLF.

    Current progress

    We experienced some dropouts in the students because of economic difficulties of the families whose children attend the classes and lack of commitment from the parents. From the initial number of 180 students we now have 160 students regularly attending the classes. We are engaging with the students, parents and our observers at each location to further identify how the organisation can ensure the children are allowed to continue with their lessons such as sponsoring meals or stationary items. The organisation is currently arranging the logistics for the computer classes in these locations. Investment from the organisation during the first year is close to USD 53,000 and we believe this is a sound investment towards strengthening our resource pool for a skilled workforce in the long term.

    Project URL


    Sustainable Development Goals

    4. Quality education

    Regions / countries / territories

    Asia: Sri Lanka

    Issue areas


    Business sectors

    Banks; Financial Services; Industrial Goods & Services - Support Services; Insurance; Technology; Telecommunications; Travel & Leisure


    Stakeholders consulted


    Preferred partner organisation(s)

    Academic; Company; Small or Medium-sized Enterprise; UN Entity

    Type of support needed

    Funding; IT support