Launched in the national Year of English and Information Technology, Microsoft Sri Lanka’s groundbreaking “Gamata IT” initiative, a series of activities aimed at taking Information Technology to the most remote rural communities of Sri Lanka, is another step in the Company’s long term journey to making IT accessible to all Sri Lankans.
The inaugural Microsoft ‘Gamata IT’ town storming event, held in Nivithigala on the 11th of October 2009, commenced under the auspices of Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Minister Hon. Ramyakumara Weerasinghe, and other dignitaries representing the Ratnapura District, the Secondary Education Modernization Project II of the Ministry of Education, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and Microsoft Sri Lanka.
The event, which had its operational epicenter at the Nivithigala Nenasala, featured the corner stone of the Gamata IT programme – the revolutionary Sinhala Language Interface Pack for Microsoft Office 2007 and Windows Vista. Microsoft also donated genuine Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 software to the Nivithigala Nenasala Centre, exposing the users to a genuine software experience. The Gamata IT initiative also saw Microsoft Sri Lanka distributing free copies of the comprehensive Sinhala Glossary of IT Terms used in Windows Vista and Office 2007, along with Sinhala keyboard stickers to all the participants at the event held at Nivithigala Nenasala.
Mr. Sanjeewa Kumaratunga Manager of the Nivithigala Nenasala said, “I am thankful for Microsoft Sri Lanka for selecting Nivithigala for the inaugural Gamata IT initiative, running under the banner of “global knowledge to the village”. We promise to provide training classes and other ICT services as well act as a hub of local, national and global information resources whereby we become a catalyst for rural communities in poverty alleviation, social and economic development and peace building. Our aim is to provide these services in a long-term, sustainable manner”.
As part of the Gamata IT initiative Microsoft Sri Lanka was engaged in training and providing technical assistance to the residents of Nivithigala thus ensuring that they receive a strong foundation in basic Computing skills. Career guidance, hands on user exposure, and awareness creation sessions were also part of these training programmes. In addition the Sinhala translation of Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential curricular was distributed free of charge to key stakeholder organizations. This will enable the youth in Nivithigala to enroll for a course on Computer Fundamentals at the Nenasala Centre, taught using the world recognized UP curricula in either English or Sinhala.
Speaking about the launch of the Gamata IT programme Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka, Mr. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, said “The Gamata IT initiative is designed to take Information Technology to the most remote areas of the country and provide access and training to communities who may have had little or no access to IT. We are thankful to the Government of Sri Lanka, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, ICTA, Singer Sri Lanka and all our partners who joined forces to make this far reaching vision a reality. My team looks forward to making an unforgettable and long-lasting footprint on rural Sri Lanka through these efforts. This is a new chapter for the future of Sri Lanka”.
Other activities carried out by Microsoft Sri Lanka under the Gamata IT banner included a training session conducted at the Nivithigala Provincial Council for over 60 government officials from the area, who were awarded certificates at the event. The donation of the revolutionary MultiPoint technology enabled classroom to the children of R/Yakdehiwatta Vidyalaya can be considered the most significant outcome of this ground breaking initiative. Microsoft Sri Lanka will be providing further teacher and student training to the R/Yakdehiwatta Vidyalaya.