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Letters from the Ground Team: Anoka Abeyrathne

Anoka Abeyrathne is an undergraduate of Law through the University of London and Wildlife Conservation and Biology at the Open University of Sri Lanka. She is also studying management through the Northumbria University but due to the hectic work schedule will be reducing course content. She loves languages and due to living in various parts of the world, has acquired a habit of learning languages encountered. She believes that excellence is a habit and not a one time happening. Anoka is a British Council International Climate Champion 2010.

Being a kid who was always with animals and nature; camping, boating, trekking, going on Safaris and going to the awesome wildlife sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, Anoka is a born environmentalist. Seeing the painful destruction caused to the sensitive Mangrove ecosystem she did a Mangrove conservation project for more than 4 years to save the migratory birds/reptiles and other species in Bolgoda Lake, Sri Lanka while providing the community with the opportunity to understand the importance of the Mangroves not just an ecosystem but also as a way of livelihood; to earn a living through eco-tourism, carbon credits and eco-friendly handicrafts.  She became a British Council Climate Champion 2010/2011 and was given the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the International Youth Climate Finance Forum 2010.

She says that “the SAYSOCC committee and the SLYCAN have been doing awesome work and I feel greatly priviledged to be working with the most passionate and amazing people I’ve met ever. Vositha, Shehan, Sudarsha, De Alwis, Harshini and all the others are totally awesome and they keep inspiring and driving us forward to make this year’s SAYSOCC the best one yet. For me SAYSOCC is one the peaks of what Sri Lankan youth can achieve and we feel honoured to be the host of this year’s conference.

Sure we have a wee bit of annoyances like the “funding” and “red-tape” but seeing the fire lit up within each of these amazing individuals reassures you that “WE CAN” and “WE WILL”. So hang on, the wheels are in motion, SAYSOCC 2010 is gonna be awesome!!”


Shortlisted Applicants from Bangladesh!

Here are the shortlisted applicants from Bangladesh. Their interviews are ongoing and the results will be sent out by Monday 🙂

Farzeen Ferdous
Nurul Masud
Farida Akter
Towhid Hasan
Mahafuzul Haq
Iftekhar Ul Karim
Mohammad Kawsar Sharif
Khalid Md. Bahauddin
Rehnuma Jahan Islam
Tahmina Shafique

Best of luck to all!


Selections for Pakistan

Dear shortlisted applicants!

I am sorry about the delay in the schedule of interviews.

But unfortunately we have not received mails from all those who have been shortlisted confirming the reception of mail.

We will contact you soon as possible regarding the interviews.

For those who have not sent in a reply on receiving the mail from us, with regards to being shortlisted, please mail asap to and carbon copied to

The deadline for the confirmation mail to be sent by participants will be 6 pm Saturday the 18th of September 2010.

Thanking you

Vositha Wijenayake

Who Thought a Letter of Accreditation Would Be So Hard to Get?!?

Frustration and stress level is hitting the ceiling. Each call I make to the same number is driving me nuts. Of course I am not supposed to express it. Instead protocol and my better judgement tells me that I need to deal with all these is the most diplomatic manner. Well the question that confronts me remains for how long will I be capable of maintaining the low frustrated, low stressed, very diplomatic self.

Thank God, or karma or be it destiny, whatever be that you believe in, I have people to reply to the mails on an instantaneous, high reflex, rapid reactive mode. Not to forget also ready to volunteer to do things and come up with all forms of creative options in dealing with all forms of crisis we come across. We have suggestions of car washes, selling and marketing climate change related games and standing in Majestic City mall to sell them! Sure I am up for it! You better be up for it too! ( yeah at times I discover the dictator in me :P)

Let’s just say that I am grateful to innovation and creativity. Kind of functions like a chill pill or a sedative LOL and it needs to be admitted that I can do with one, time to time.

The days have become a pattern, heading to office, calling the ministry, harassing the people who would pick the phone to get the fax delivered to the relevant person’s hands. But of late every day I miraculously get through to his line, when he is at a meeting. Is it coincidence or am I plain jinxed at getting through to this particular individual?
We have lost a good month trying to get support. Support that was offered and we so strongly and blindly believed in, all through our youth idealistic believing capacities. You say you help us, well we believe you will help us! Why? Cz we the youth, have this disease of telling only and mostly what we believe in and what we take pride in performing.

Well in short forget the funds, this letter itself has proven to be a mountain of a task. Something like climbing K2! I am not kidding, it is and has become one big process!
One learns a lot of things when organising summits, among which are prominent, to become an insomniac, read mails every 5 minutes, to notice 10 unread mails every time you open your mailing account and or yeah lots and heaps of diplomacy.

But above all, a lot of hidden strength and belief in others who will become your family in the process, you know you love them you hate them and you know you cannot live without them! Yeah they be not of your blood, but they will suffer with you, and sure will believe that there is still hope and always hope, just because you say so! So with their belief will be fortified your belief that there is “ALWAYS” hope!

From the land of smiles, It’s me Vositha the insomniac Co-ordinator of SAYSoCC signing off…

Letters from the Ground team : Sulakashana De Alwis

Name: Sulakshana De Alwis
Age: 23

“I am student of university of Sri Jayewardenepura faculty of management studies; I am specializing in human resource management. I always like to help people, especially in social welfare based project. I worked as an executive board member in AIESEC in our university; these social projects make myself fulfilled as I am doing a good for this world. Apart from that I also able to make new friends, share my knowledge and talents”
“My life motto is be unique, think different, but don’t forget the reality”
SAYSoCC a new challenge for Sula….
One day when I was chatting with my close friend shanika akki, she asked me whether I would like to join her to organize an international conference, it was university vacation so I had enough time to spare, so I said yes. I never thought it will be a life changing experience for me.
I have worked with many youth organizations, especially with AIESEC, so working in a youth project was not a new thing for me. But seeing such a lot of energetic youth who work towards environment was a bit of a surprise for me. First day it was very odd for me. Since I was new to the team, but everyone was friendly. So I was able to put myself into the work in a short time. I was appointed to the logistic team.
Weeks passed things went, but nothing worked out, and people got somewhat demotivated. But Shehan encouraged us to move forward. So two weeks ago we set out strong ground plan. New teams were made, I was appointed as coordinator of finance for summit since I am from management background. Now we are working hard to get our SAYSoCC happen and to make it the best and wonderful experience to our South Asian Delegation.
I also have to talk about our dear Vositha akki, she is very good friend to all of us. She treats all of us as her own brothers and sisters. She is working hard to make SAYSoCC a success. Her dedication is a example for any youth activist.
Guys let’s get together and work for better tomorrow…………..

Emancipation of the ground team :)

After a harried bus ride I arrived at the Royal College Skills Center in Colombo where the SAYSOCC ground team meets to discuss the work behind the pending SAYSOCC 2010.

Today’s major issue was getting a proper letter of accreditation certifying that the Government of
Sri Lanka was a part of the SAYSOCC, that is to say that SAYSOCC was real and had the backing of the Government and to prove that we were not mere “swindlers” as many of the organization/hotels/donors in Sri Lanka are quite wary of providing funding for anything since the gigantic economic crunch + fake financial institutions scene. :O

This annoying little document has been evading us for more than 3 weeks it seems thus we finally agreed to get it from two government bodies;
the Tourism Ministry and the Central Environmental Authority of Sri Lanka, thus providing
us with a nice advantage of having both the government backing and the environmental field involved.

Now to those who may wonder why this document is really really necessary, here’s the deal: without this
elusive piece of evidence, NO one would give us funding (not even 100 bucks)!
Yep, that is how the bureaucratic red-tape works for the good guys which makes me wonder how people
like Sakvithi got away with more than 50 million bucks…..

So what we are going to do is, slash down the budget and approach all WILLING and ABLE donors (yes Sikander even the Rotaract should help us out!) and get funding for the international participants.

Which comes back to the letter (irritating little thing!), so we promise you guys that as soon as we
have a list of your delegates and our letter, we’d get down into real fund raising (we have an awesome
innovative team to come up with things like “dunking games”! :P)

Hang in there dear SAYSOCCers, we can do this 🙂

Anoka of the Ground Team signing out for now!

Shortlisted Participants from Pakistan

Imran Shahid
Saman Ikram
Syed Aown Shahzad
Rafia Saleem
Hasan Heider
Asimah Majeed
Sabina Khan
mejzgaan orakzai
Zeeshan Hyder
Laura Jungmann
Fatima Rashid
Sadia Hina
Amel Ghani

The ground team will contact you regarding the schedule for your skype interviews.

Best of luck!

Vositha Wijenayake
Executive Co-ordinator – SLYCAN