Our Perspective

UNLOCKED Blog 7: What does it take?

02 Apr 2015

It’s quite a simple recipe if you ask me. But even the simplest of recipes require attention and effort; simple never meant easy. Looking at the current atmosphere and the mentality of people in Sri Lanka, it wouldn’t take Einstein to figure out that we, as a single population, need to strongly start believing in a nation that is united at all levels. Yes, I agree that the government can do more, the United Nations can do more, the international community can do more and so can the lengthy list of institutions that we’re very comfortable in playing the blame-game with. Let’s leave that aside for a moment; It’s interesting that we Sri Lankans are hospitable and helpful by nature to foreigners. At least our parents were. Unfortunately, those qualities don’t appear to be the same towards our own. The Sri Lanka National Human Development Report 2014 on Youth and Development: Towards a More Inclusive Future (NHDR) highlights a few key elements of the national policy framework for social integration. The emphasis on “fostering an integrated and informed society founded on the pillars of ethics, education and empowerment” is a well-suited 3-step process for wholesome national progress. If Sri Lanka was  Read More

UNLOCKED Blog 6: Our Toughest Hurdle; Unemployment

19 Mar 2015

It seems that almost everywhere I turn these days, I encounter some friend or peer caught up in the arduous journey of finding a job. While I’m fortunate enough to say that I don’t share in their woes of being unemployed, I feel a pang of sympathy for all those people who have struggled in more ways than one to study and earn a degree, with the only result of not being able to secure a job. It often comes to a point where they look at me and say “you don’t have a degree yet no? So how come you have a job?” at which point I become uncomfortable and explain my great fortune of securing a job through my efforts as an intern. It is evident that youth unemployment poses one of the toughest challenges to inclusive development and sustainable growth, as it excludes the most important and most resourceful sector of our society. It creates an overwhelming sense of frustration and disenchantment among the youth because in countries such as ours, where the competitive education system is entirely modelled on securing a sound job, failure to secure meaningful and satisfying employment has woven a bleak future for the  Read More

UNLOCKED Blog 5: The Invisible Woman

12 Mar 2015

I am turning into an invisible woman. No, I’m not talking about my progress in finally tapping into my Marvel superhero powers... Although, that would be pretty awesome. I’m talking about how I have changed - how actions of some Sri Lankans is changing me. Are you wondering what I'm talking about? Let me start by sharing a small snippet of my life with you. I was brought up by my wonderful Ammi (Mom) and Thathi (Dad) in Canada - the land of maple syrup, cold winters and Justin Bieber. For several reasons, I made a decision to leave that part of the world and take up residence in tropical Sri Lanka, which has been my home for close to 2 years now. Granted, there was an initial culture shock, but I soon picked up the do’s and don’ts, and I think that I am now accustomed to the “Sri Lankan way of life”, so to speak. But I recently took a moment to just pause – to think about how my life here has changed me… and one frightening realization was that I am turning into an invisible woman. In an attempt to adapt to my surroundings and be respectful  Read More

UNLOCKED Blog 4: The stigma surrounding domestic violence and its impact on youth

05 Mar 2015

 “Sometimes when I lay in bed at night, my mind takes a stroll back to my early twenties.. to my school days.. the recollections continue till I’m 5 years old, and then it stops there. I’m seated on the bed with my little brother. We are both bawling our eyes out, because what else can a child do when they’re afraid?” What were you afraid of?  “My father,” she said. “He was hurting her, he was hurting my mother. The loud cries, the kicking, the screaming, is what I remember when I look back at my childhood”.  *** The UN Population Fund states that “around the world, as many as one in every three women have been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way – most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member; one woman in four has been abused during pregnancy.” Research shows that more than 80 per cent of Sri Lankan women and girls are subject to domestic violence. The Sri Lanka National Human Development Report 2014 onYouth and Development: Towards a More Inclusive Future (NHDR) highlights that perpetrators of abuse in adolescents were mainly family members. A widely  Read More

UNLOCKED Blog 3: The Art of Unity: The Sri Lankan Chapter

26 Feb 2015

Just after gaining independence from the British in 1948, Sri Lanka – then called Ceylon – was one of the most promising countries in Asia, due to its achievements in health, education and social services. Lee Kwang Yew, the founding father of the modern Singapore, visited during the 1950s and stated that he wished that Singapore would become more like Ceylon, ‘Britain's Model Commonwealth Country’. Throughout the years, Lee Kwan Yew transformed Singapore from a relatively underdeveloped colonial outpost with no natural resources into a ‘First World’ Asian Tiger. Sadly, our country lagged behind for 67 years, stagnating or perhaps worsening on economic and political indicators. We had to see other developing countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan progressing, while we epitomized ‘conflict, pain, sorrow and hopelessness’ as Lee later suggested. Where did we go wrong? What happened to us as a country? I think we all should take a moment and ask ourselves the question, “can we really be happy about the last few decades of our country’s history?” In my opinion as a youth, although there might be other reasons, the most significant factor that hindered us from where we truly should have been, is the fact that we  Read More

UNLOCKED Blog 2 : The Private Sector: A Solution to Youth Unemployment in Sri Lanka

19 Feb 2015

36.4%. What appears to be a mere number was actually the cause of one of my most frightening realizations last year. According to the Sri Lanka National Human Development Report on Youth and Development: Towards a More Inclusive Future (NHDR), this statistic represents the number of young people aged 20-24 who are “more likely to be unemployed”. To some, that would just be another number or statistic about our youth today, but to me (a 22 year old), this was life and this figure represented a stark and frightful reality. What was even more frightening at the time was that I was not alone here; rather, I was just one potential member of this extremely daunting statistic. I have always felt that young people, especially those aged 20-24, could be the most useful resources in any society given that they still have their youthful exuberance, idealism and enthusiasm intact. The ability of those who are willing (there are many) to absorb and learn new things is unparalleled to any member from any other age group. Therefore, upon reading this striking statistic, my thoughts immediately shifted from the, naturally, personal, “Oh God, will I be in this too?” to a more general,  Read More

UNLOCKED Blog 1: 4 Lesser Known Stats about Sri Lanka’s System of Education

10 Feb 2015

Often, when we are questioned about the standard of Sri Lanka’s system of education, we pride ourselves in citing the island’s impressive literacy rate, which stands close to 92%. The numbers are even higher among the 15-24 age cohort, where the figure stands at 98%. This is a remarkable achievement and is particularly conspicuous when compared with where some of the island’s neighbors stand (Afghanistan 32%, Bangladesh 59%, Nepal 57%). Adult Literacy Rate is the percentage of the population, aged 15 & above who can, with understanding, read & write a short, simple statement on their everyday life. But the sense that something is clearly wrong in Sri Lankan education is also spreading. Is the literacy rate a reasonable measure of a country’s system of education? Does Sri Lanka’s adult literacy rate reflect the reality of the standards of education in Sri Lanka? Here are 4 lesser known, yet extremely critical, statistics furnished in the Sri Lanka National Human Development Report 2014 on ‘Youth and Development: Towards a More Inclusive Future’ (NHDR) about structural inequalities that are plaguing the Sri Lankan education system. 1) Only 3% of all schools are ‘National Schools’ 97% of all state schools in Sri Lanka (there are  Read More

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Sri Lanka 
Go to UNDP Global