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Microsoft Sri Lanka Staff Volunteers at SOS Children’s Village Piliyandala

Microsoft Sri Lanka staff spent their ‘Volunteer Day’ which fell in October this year, at the SOS Children’s Village, Piliyandala. The one day workshop, designed to empower children and youth at the Village, included an introduction to Cloud computing and the future world of IT. There were sessions on basic etiquette and manners, social media and online safety, new device demonstration, Career Guidance, public speaking, multipoint practice, Game Challenges as well as soft skills such as singing, poetry, art and cookery.

During the event, the Microsoft volunteers interacted with more than 250 children and engaged them in a series of learning sessions that involved latest technology (IT) and basic work skills training. The planned activities were differentiated according to the children’s respective age groups.

The sessions were directed at 3 different age groups of below 10, between 10 to 15 and those aged above 15, with a total of 180 children from the SOS Village participating. The session on Cloud computing and the future world of IT, which was for the above 15’s provided knowledge about developed Microsoft technologies such as Outlook, Office 365 and SkyDrive etc. The social media and online safety session targeting both age groups of 10 – 15 and above, imparted knowledge on different types of Social Media and the importance of security when using these mediums. Demonstration of new devices gave them the opportunity to experience first hand the advanced features of Microsoft technologies such as Windows 8, the Windows Phone and Xbox Kinect gaming. Fun activities included an art competition and a cookery demonstration for the mothers of the village.

Young children under the age of 10 experienced first-hand the use of MultiPoint, a highly interactive learning session where they can access a single PC through multiple yet individually operated mouse devices. This clearly was a gratifying moment for the team who took part as it was the first time these children had ever used a computer and had the opportunity to see how technology can help make learning a fun activity.

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to support SOS Children’s Village in their efforts to help young, disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka develop to their fullest potential. Our intention was to show these children the whole new world that awaits them and that they too can become a part of the new digital age. Microsoft wanted to give thme a sneak peak in to new age technology to encourage them to be future ready and acquire necessary tools for improving their lives,” said Janakie Karunaratne, Community Affairs Manager at Microsoft Sri Lanka who lead the team of volunteers on that day.

The very first Children’s Village in Sri Lanka, which provides a secure family environment for needy children, who are homeless; the SOS Children’s Village is located in Kesbewa near the Piliyandala town. The Village was built on the land donated by the government, and its vision is to create self sufficient, knowledgeable young adults by providing them a solid foundation of an adoptive family and proper schooling. SOS Children's Villages support children from disadvantaged families in five different locations across Sri Lanka, providing day care, education, vocational training opportunities and medical services, as well as enabling them to grow up in a stable environment.

The grand finale of the Microsoft Volunteer day was a cricket match held between the Company and the children of the SOS Village emerging the winners.

An art session for the children to encourage creativity

An art session for the children to encourage creativity

Multipoint Technology for primary school children

An interactive session was conducted using Multipoint Technology for primary school children. This was the first computing experience for them with this student centric teaching and learning tool.

Etiquette and social skills session for the older children

Etiquette and social skills session for the older children