Shilpa Sayura

Shilpa Sayura Foundation

Sri Lanka

Type: Civil Society | Categories:

Provide a clear and concrete project summary, with as much details as relevant for the Selection Committee to fully understand the extent of the benefits that the nominated project has bring to the community it serves.Please note this summary will be publicly available and it will be use to promote your project during the Community Choice Award online voting period.

Shilpa Sayura (Sea of Knowledge) created a new meaning for educating and career development of under served youth in Sri Lanka. Shilpa Sayura innovated a new way to address disparity in equal access to national education and career development using ICT.

Shilpa Sayura pioneered and main streamed local language technologies in Sri Lanka by designing, developing and implementing a local language e learning solution to transform Telecentres to an alternative places to access national education and vocational training by rural youth who were marginalized in formal process.

Shilpa Sayura provided free software, content and technical support to islandwide Telecentres to help increase access to education in rural communities. Shilpa Sayura reached over 80,000 youth through 150 Telecentres during last 7 years. The development took place in areas faced with highest number of school drop-outs.

Shilpa Sayura provides interactive means of self and group learning for primary and secondary national curriculum in local language. Youth experience multimedia based, more efficient, enjoyable and exciting ways of learning at the Telecentres. The openness of Telecentres help them learn at their own phase individually or in groups to face national examinations to enter higher education. The thin, robust, portable Shilpa Sayura runs on netbooks, LANs and on internet, accessible with web browsers and smartphones. Solar power capabilities help telecentres to take e learning outdoors. Lahugala like Telecentres become a mobile/wireless telecentre with Shilpa Sayura.

Shilpa Sayura has become a vital resource for Telecentres for community attention and visibility. It provided a competitive edge for sustainability of telecentres. Shilpa Sayura adaptability and scalability enabled local innovations at Telecentres. Hingurukaduwa Telecentre created an e village enabling e learning at homes with Shilpa Sayura. Thalakumbura young priests passed national examinations using Shilpa Sayura without attending national school in 2008/2009. Shilpa Sayura helped youth to become more competitive in national examinations evident from Empirical research and case studies. An increase of Math pass rate from 51.2% to 78.2% recorded among youth who used Shilpa Sayura at Siyambalanduwa Telecentre.

Shilpa Sayura innovation and impact was recognized with top Global ICT4D Innovation Awards. I4D (2006), GKP Challange (2007), Stockholm Challenge (2008), WSIS Youth Award (2009), Lien I3 Challenge (2010), Corporate Citizen (2009), ISOC (2010), UNHABITAT (2011). Shilpa Sayura Innovation based on empathy recognized with Ashoka Fellowship in 2012.

Shilpa Sayura developed youth in media creation assisted by Adobe. The youth creating digital short films in 2013 won Adobe UNICEF Challenge, WSYA Award 2013 and Microsoft World Bank Youth Solutions Award.

Shilpa Sayura Innovations continue developing undeserved youth have become a sustainable entity seeks additional support to expand into new horizons in youth development using ICT, Socila Media and Mobiles.

Please provide background information that allows the Selection Committee to understand the context in which your organization operates. What are the main challenges? What is the problem the project was set up to address? Please indicate when the project started.

Sri Lanka facing civil war for a long time had emerging issues of access to national education and employment by rural youth. With over 51% of the rural youth failing ordinary level exam each year resulted large number of school dropouts, increasing of unemployment and depriving of higher education for many youth. Although ICT have been developing at a fast rate, there was a lack of local language content and learning technologies for national education. The rural youth most affected with this problem needed an innovation that can help enable access to quality education. At the same time government setup 650 Telecenters were under utilized and they were facing lack of local language content to attract community for their services faced sustainability issues. e Sri Lanka project initiated in 2005 provided an opportunity to private public partnerships to develop ICT innovations to help develop rural communities. We at that time were a professional group developing local language fonts and applications involved in standardizing Sinhala Unicode SLS 1134, applied for a grant to develop local language e learning system & content for Telecentres to address access to national education problem.

What are the main reasons why your organization was motivated to initiate the project? Did the project respond to specific needs of a community?

Who was in charge of the project implementation? What other organizations/groups participated? Please provide information about the organizational arrangements that allowed the project to be implemented.

What are the main project objective(s) and what was the strategy used to achieve them?

Increasing access to national education by marginalized youth through ICT innovations. Making local language e content available to rural communities for learning. Help decreasing of early school drop-outs in rural areas. Enabling local learning of technology and digital media skills to develop local talents for creating job opportunities in the emerging digital economy. Capacity building and development of telecentres to guarantee the quality of access to offer reliable e services and local langauge applications. Contribute to collaborative development of local language technologies, tools and standards. Make ICT innovations with open, inclusive and sustainable approaches to improve e learning and localization.

Please provide more details about the technical aspects of your project implementation. Describe what technologies were used, how they were integrated, what is innovative about it, etc.? Without detailed technical information the nomination will be automatically rejected.

Internet Information Server (IIS)
ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, JAVA, javascript, Falsh
SQL Server, mySQL
Adobe Photoshop, Adobe premiere, Adobe After Effects
Wireless LAN, DSLR
Facebook Groups, Google Group, Blogging,

What were the most relevant activities conducted during the course of the project? Indicate if those activities have been completed or are on-going.

Development of local langauge technologies and collaborate in standardization of Sinhala Unicode (2005-2006). Development of Shilpa Sayura Local Language e Learning system in 2006. Creating of e content to cover primary and secondary national education (2006-2010). Implementing local language e learning in 150 Telecentres (2007-2012). Training of youth in ICT & digital media for local content creation for revenue and employment skill development through Adobe Youth Voices (2011-2013). Partnering with UNHABITAT to implement a Urban Youth Leadership development. Creation of Child Soldier ( for Adobe Aspire Awards by trained youth in local content & digital media. Establishing Youth Job bank for local job opportunities.

Provide a list of the most relevant outcomes achieved as part of the project activities.

Development of local language standards and popularising use of Sinhala Unicode. Development of local language e learning system Shilpa Sayura. Creation of 14000+ lessons for primary and secondary school national curriculum. Capacity building of 150+ telecentres to deliver local language e learning services and technology and digital media education. Training of telecentre managers and operators in local language technologies and ICT. Development of a 200 youth digital film crew for Adobe Aspire Awards Unicef Challange. Development of a youth network who are engaged in creating media for social change and career development.

Describe what dissemination efforts were completed during the last year to promote your project. Include lists of publications, marketing materials, etc. userid: demo password: niranjan

Please let us know if your organization or your project team has received any awards or distinctions, specially those related to the nominated project

Shilpa Sayura innovation, implementation and impact has been recognized with top Global ICT4D Innovation Awards. I4D (2006), GKP Challange (2007), Stockholm Challenge (2008), WSIS Youth Award (2009), Lien I3 Challenge (2010), Best Corporate Citizen (2009), Best Corporate Citizen (2010),ISOC (2010), UNHABITAT (2011), Adobe Youth Voices(2011), UNDEF Award (2012). AYV Unicef Challange (2013), WSYA Award (2013+, Microsoft World Bank Youth Solutions Award (2013). Shilpa Sayura Innovation was recognized with Ashoka Fellowship to the founder Niranjan Meegammana in 2012.

✕  The nominated project has been operational for at least one year. The community has already received the benefits of the activities.

Website from your organization

Explain why this project deserves the prize

Shilpa Sayura has demonstrated how ICT innovations can can help change lives of young people who lacks opportunities to access quality education and vocational training. Shilpa Sayura worked with multistake holders to create a technology based platform for social change. It has developed a new way to teach people using digital content to create a new social educational model for empowering marginalized rural societies challenged with knowledge, resources, isolation and poverty. Hence Shilpa Sayura is a global example of use of local language technology innovation for
developing rural education and job opportunities. It's Innovative, open, inclusive and sustainable approaches has helped the social change, education development and improving the lives of young people.

YouTube movie about the project

Facebook profile or Facebook page from the organization or project leader

Twitter profile from the organization or project leader


Google+ profile from the organization or project leader

Provide at least one link to other websites, newspapers, blogs, etc. providing evidence about the work conducted by your self, your project and/or your organization.

Provide at least one file with supporting documentation about your organization’s capacity to manage grants, references to support the need for such solution to be developed, reference letters from partners, etc.


Project Representative

Meegammana Malhabrale Gedara Niranjan Weerakumara

Project Representative on Linkedin :

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