It has been ten years since Citizens Development Business Finance PLC (CDB) began its unique CSR initiative of Pariganaka Piyasa aimed at making IT literacy inclusive across the nation.
Based on the platform of equality of knowledge, CDB mooted this flagship CSR project to develop, improve and uplift ICT education in underserved and underprivileged schools. In the decade since it was launched, the project has grown to ten schools, each having fully fledged ICT laboratories with over 12,000 students accessing state-of-art-technology, also serving to bridge the knowledge gap that exists between rural and urban schools. A feature that enhances the uniqueness of Pariganaka Piyasa is the fact that the IT laboratories double up as a community centre for the area, enabling residents to enhance their IT knowledge as well.
Each year, CDB works towards presenting an IT laboratory to a deprived school, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and zonal education officials. Gaining recommendations from them, CDB shortlists prospective schools and visits these to conduct an impartial evaluation. Once selected, the school receives a brand new IT laboratory equipped with all relevant technological infrastructure including brand new computers with licensed software, computer tables, chairs, scanners, printers and multi-media facilities which empowers young people and in the larger sphere the residents of the area to be interlinked with the rest of the world.
Given that ICT is now a subject being offered at the GCE Ordinary Level examination and is a compulsory life tool for everyone, CDB’s investment of over Rs. 12 million in these ten schools offers a larger gift to communities in the longer term. Also, CDB’s role in enhancing IT literacy goes beyond simply gifting the infrastructure. While the company provides assistance for maintenance, it also deploys CDB’s IT experts to guide the school’s ICT teacher in maximizing the opportunities that come with the IT Laboratory, guiding them and being available for any troubleshooting or knowledge enhancements if needed.
The passionate CDB team firmly believes that empowering rural students with equitable access to technology is key to increasing digital literacy in our country. As a responsible corporate citizen, CDB is committed to efforts and actions that enable us to make positive contributions in the education of our local communities.
By providing not only students but entire communities with learning opportunities to gain practical ICT skills and knowledge, CDB is driving a national goal and a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) as well that of quality education being accessible to all. I do believe that access to technology also indirectly impacts the achievement of all other sixteen SDGs as well, because empowered knowledge will lead to solutions for every problem faced by nations.
CDB’s tenth anniversary of Pariganaka Piyasa was marked with the gifting of an IT laboratory to Kehelpannala Kanishta Vidyalaya in Hemmathagama in Mawanella in the Sabaragamuwa province. In a ceremony attended by CDB Senior management, school and zonal education officials, students, parents and well-wishers, CDB added further value to the initiative by conducting an ICT awareness programme at the school. Officials from the Mawanella Educational zone were briefed on the advantages of the programme and the importance ICT plays in the larger scheme of national development.
Very appreciative of the knowledge enhancement tool received by the school, Principal of Kehelpannala Kanishta Vidyalaya U R Dayananda said, “Today, being able to have access to a computer and connect to the Internet is essential to learning and communication. Through CDB, our school and community have the infrastructure to build their skills, train for jobs and pursue their education. Thanks to CDB, our students can now connect and succeed in the digital age.”