John Keells Foundation launches Phase 2 of John Keells Praja Shakthi Digital Learning Initiative in collaboration with Deutsche Bank

“In order to achieve the 4th Sustainable Development Goal; which is access to quality education, digital communication has become a bridge that brings us closer to various forms of knowledge. A lot of us present here today have the challenge of accessing such knowledge due to the lack of an electronic device. Therefore, I take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this great initiative for giving me and my colleagues the chance to access a new world of knowledge through this electronic device gifted to us.” – a student of St. Joseph’s Kanishta Vidyalaya, Ja-Ela.

John Keells Foundation (JKF) partnered with Deutsche Bank to launch phase 2 of John Keells Praja Shakthi Digital Learning Initiative on 11th November 2022. At the event, which was held at the Atrium, Cinnamon Grand Colombo, 80 students from 11 schools in John Keells Praja Shakthi locations of Colombo 2, Ja-Ela and Ranala were provided with tablets and data packages.

The event was attended by Mr. Kulathilaka, Divisional Educational Director of Ja-Ela, Krishan Balendra; Chairperson – John Keells Group, Sector Heads of John Keells Holdings (JKH) – Charitha Subasinghe, Nayana Mawilmada and Nadija Tambiah, Carmeline Jayasuriya; JKH’s Head of CSR, Directors and senior management of Deutsche Bank – Niranjan Figurado, Janath Ilangantileke, Prabath Samindra, Reza Mansoor and Charitha Dumbarage, representatives from Dialog Axiata PLC – Harsha De Zoysa and Nishal Herat, Principals and teachers of the schools and the beneficiary students with their parents.

John Keells Praja Shakthi Digital Learning Initiative was launched in 2021 in partnership with Deutsche Bank to facilitate online based learning of disadvantaged school children preparing for public examinations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pilot project (phase 1) involved the distribution of a total of 100 Samsung A7 tabs and data packages to selected Ordinary and Advanced Level students in identified John Keells Praja Shakthi locations of Colombo 2 and Ranala for the duration of the respective course of study. Under phase 2, 80 Samsung A8 tabs and data packages were distributed to school children expanding the locations to include Ja-Ela. Deutsche Bank is the co-funder and John Keells Office Automation (JKOA) and Dialog Axiata PLC are suppliers of devices and data packages respectively at concessionary rates.

Addressing the gathering, Principal of Munidasa Kumaratunga Vidyalaya in Ranala has this to say, “We did not choose the brightest children but the most deserving students who have the potential to do better in their studies. These devices have been an extra support for the children from last year, who will soon face their examinations and we have records to attest improvement in their studies. While thanking John Keells Foundation for this incredible support rendered to our children, we hope and wish they could do this programme in a much larger scale next year.”

The initiative was conducted within John Keells Praja Shakthi – the John Keells Group’s business centric community empowerment initiative managed by John Keells Foundation – which targets and addresses identified community development needs in collaboration with multiple partners in a sustainable manner. Education is one of the six focus areas of John Keells Foundation – the CSR entity of John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), one of Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerates in the Colombo Stock Exchange operating over 70 companies in 7 diverse industry sectors. With a history of over 150 years, John Keells Group provides employment to over 14,000 persons and has been ranked as Sri Lanka’s ‘Most Respected Entity’ for the last 17 Years by LMD magazine. Whilst being a full member of the World Economic Forum and a Participant of the UN Global Compact, JKH drives its CSR vision of “Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow” through John Keells Foundation and through the social entrepreneurship initiative, ‘Plasticcycle’, which is a catalyst in significantly reducing plastic pollution in Sri Lanka.

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