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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

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Lighting-up the world


The plaques which she received


Kavindya Tennakoon
Pictures by Nisanka Wijeratne

A young personality, having the passion to lend a hand to those in need is always a comforting sight to one's eye. To have the need to light up the world from a young age is something that comes from the innerself.

Kavindya Tennakoon, an Advanced Level (A/L) student of Lyceum International School, Nugegoda, is one such starlet that loves to relieve the dark by helping others. Currently, she is helping the kids from "the shanty area around Maradana" at The Warehouse Project. The children-around 60 of them-are brought to the warehouse and are divided into classes from grade one to grade eight where they receive free English education. "I am in charge of grade eight," says Tennakoon.

In August 2011, Kavindya together with The Model United Club donated books to pre-schools in Vennappuva. She worked as the project chairperson at the time. Inspired by this project, she chose to donate more books to Kahanavita Primary School, Deraniyagala for the community service project for The President Guides Award. She is currently waiting for the results for the award.

"But when I went there, I saw that the situation was really bad. The library had just a few books and they did not have tables or chairs," says Tennakoon. "I ended up doing a project which cost a considerable amount than my previous plan to donate books. We renovated the library." The library was colour washed, tables and chairs were provided. With new books on the shelves, it was completed in April, 2012. "I do a lot of media work. I was working at a television channel at the time. And the salary I got went for the project, completely," says Thennakoon.

Having completed her first 'A Book to Read' project there, she then started off work with her second library project at Dangampola Maha Vidyalaya (MV), Kegalle by building another library. "They did not have a library at all," recalls Thennakoon. And so she continues to shine, dedicated to helping the society.

She won the 'High Achievers-10 A Grades' award, awarded by The University of Cambridge, London in the year 2011, for scoring the highest results for Ordinary Level (O/L) Examination. In the same year, she won "Top in Sri Lanka" awards for being the Island best for Sociology and Environmental Management. These two awards were also presented by The University of Cambridge, London.

"In Athletics I won my first Championship in 2003 from there on until 2011 I have won nine consecutive Championships. My last achievement thus far was Bronzing the 100 meters hurdles event at the International Schools Athletic Championships 2012." says Tennakoon.

"My best event is hurdles," she says, even though she is as much talented in other running events as well.

To climb high in the ladder of life, there has to be someone gently urging you up from behind.


Kavindya’s medals


Her trophies

Who encouraged and supported Kavindya to step up? "My mother Champa Tennakoon helps me a lot. She was always there supporting me and she wants me to do what I like and enjoy. All the teachers have been really helpful, as well," says Tennakoon. "Whenever I faced a problem, they were always there. And for my community service work, my managing director Grero has always been there for me. My principal, Kumari Grero has also been a great support."

"Sports wise, my dad was a very good sportsman. I think that influence is there," she says. Her father, Upali Thennakoon, was a prison officer. He was well known for his dedicated and honest service. Yet in the year 1997 when Kavindya had just turned two, her father who had worked hard against the misdoings of the underworld was murdered.

Despite the rough side that life has to offer, Kavindya moves forward in her life skillfully. "My mother inspires me a lot," says Thennakoon. "Someday, I want to be strong like her. And Mr. and Mrs. Grero have been an inspiration in my life, as well."

"Most kids think that doing studies and sports together is not such a good idea. But I think the most important thing in life is learning how to balance it all out," says Tennakoon whose words that would doubtlessly inspire many. "I keep a lot of check-lists and timetables. I have to handle many tasks at once.

"I think if you keep your time in track and if you know your priorities well, this will not be so hard."

Kavindya is currently working on a project titled 'Combating Domestic Violence against Women and Children' lead by the past President of the Sri Lanka Girl Guide Association, Marlyn Dissanayake.

"I want to continue my community service work," she says. And I like to work with The United Nations one day. Social work is something that keeps inspiring me. I will continue in that field in the future."

With so much determination and passion in her young self, Kavindya Tennakoon keeps lighting-up the world. From her mere smile to her big plans and projects, she has already become an inspiration, a good example to the rest of the society. Good luck for a bright future, Kavindya.

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