Microsoft Sri Lanka recently teamed up with building materials firm Lafarge Mahaweli Cement and non-government organization Sarvodaya to build an information and communication technology (ICT) Centre in Gampaha, Sri Lanka.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on 3 October to launch the project, which will aid towards the Sri Lankan government’s vision of establishing the country as one of the region’s leading IT hubs. Microsoft Sri Lanka will play a facilitating role in setting up the Centre. With its experience of being involved in several projects across the country that aim to bridge the digital divide, Microsoft is able to provide the expertise, support and software needed for this project.
Aimed at improving ICT skills among young people in the Gampaha district, the Centre will conduct comprehensive training and provide career guidance to students pursuing a career in the IT field. Sarvodaya-Fusion, the ICT education arm of Sarvodaya, would be handling the implementation of the project. Sarvodaya- Fusion will also provide the necessary administrative guidance, budgeting and project planning for the ICT Centre.
Gampaha was chosen as the location for the project because it is a district straddling both urban and rural areas that is adjacent to Colombo, the main commercial hub of Sri Lanka. Isura Silva, Manager of Sarvodaya-Fusion, explained that the enrolment process for the ICT Centre will be carried out in a manner that provides more opportunities for the less privileged youth in the Gampaha area.
Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said, “It is important that technology is made accessible to rural youth, which will open new avenues for them. This project works towards that goal and therefore we are proud to be a part of it. Through this project, we can offer something of value to the rural population and help underprivileged youth improve their standard of living by leveraging the knowledge they gain for a better future.”
At the MOU signing, Jamie Harper, Microsoft (South East Asia) President, commented that the Lafarge-Microsoft partnership was not an unfamiliar one — the two companies having collaborated on a number of corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects in other parts of the world.
“Through this project, Microsoft can help underprivileged youth improve their standard of living by leveraging the knowledge they gain for a better future.”
– Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Bangladesh