New Star for Life program for Sri Lankan students supported by Trelleborg
Today, a unique Star for Life program supported by the Trelleborg Group, opens officially in Kelani College (Kelani Maha Vidyalaya), Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The mission behind the Star for Life initiative is to inspire young people to believe in their future and their dreams. The Star for Life program is conducted in periods spanning three years in selected schools.
Earlier programs have shown very positive results in terms of healthy lifestyle but also with regard to school work in general for the participating students. The initiative is non-profit and has no political or religious affiliation, and the Sri Lankan program has been approved by the Provincial Department of Education, Western Province, Sri Lanka.
“We are not the only people happy and excited about the program approval and implementation,” says Chathuranga Guruge, who is the Programmes Manager and the Head Coach of the SFL Sri Lanka Programme. “The Principal of the Kelani College, Mr. Waragoda, the teachers and school learners are also happy because they truly believe that this program will have a positive effect for the lives of children at the school and the school environment.”
“This support is part of our overall commitment to Corporate Responsibility,” says Mr. Peter Nilsson, President and CEO for Trelleborg, a world-leader in engineered polymer solutions, “By supporting the local communities where we are present, with young people in focus, we contribute to global social development.”
Trelleborg has production facilities in Sapugaskanda, Sri Lanka. This was the main reason to select Kelani College for the program. It is one of the closest schools to the facilities, and there are many of the students at the school from the families of employees at Trelleborg Sri Lanka.
The Star for Life program at Kelani College is managed by Learning for Life-SFCSL, an organization with Swedish roots. The Swedish SFCSL (Swedish Friends of Children in Sri Lanka) has a 30-year experience of helping marginalized children to a good education. In 2009, SFCSL launched its first Star for Life program in Sri Lanka through a local partnership at a mixed school in Southern Province of Sri Lanka, a pilot project for 3 years with approval from the Provincial Department of Education-Southern Province of Sri Lanka. This three-year project was completed with positive and successful outcomes in school children’s lives and in the history of the school.
Star for Life’s coaches have been thoroughly trained and have significant experience in Child Protection, Child Rights, Ethical and Meaningful Child Participation, Personality Development and Counseling skills.
“Not only that,” says Chathuranga Guruge, “We work with teachers as well. We do many teachers’ workshops and capacity building sessions that will encourage and facilitate teachers to identify their needs for supporting learners in achieving learners’ dreams”.
Child Friendly Learning Environment
The combination of all these factors together with the state education system will create a ‘Child Friendly Learning Environment’ at the school and raise awareness on Child Protection, especially about Reproductive Health and prevention of HIV/AIDS/STD. The Programmes Manager/Head Coach and other staff train school personnel to continue the work even after the program has been completed after three years by providing necessary trainings, building-up a close connection with the other duty bearers in the local area and through an establishment of a strong bridge between the existing local referral system and the school.
The opening of the program at Kelani College on 25 January, 2014, was attended by guests from all over the world, including the director of the Provincial Department of Education, Western Province, Mr. Iilapperuma, Trelleborg’s CEO, Mr. Peter Nilsson, Professor Jayantha Senevirathne, Professor of the Department of Philosophy at University of Kelaniya, representatives from SFCSL, Star for Life, along with key members of the local community, and management and personnel from Trelleborg in Sri Lanka.