Background of Star for Life Sri Lanka
In 2008, Mrs. Christina Riddeback who was the former President of “Sri Lankas Barns Vanner – S.L.B.V.” (Swedish Friends of Children in Sri Lanka – S.F.C.S.L.) contacted Mr. Peter Janzon, General Manager of Star for Life in Sweden and had a planning discussion regarding introducing this unique programme to school system in Sri Lanka initially as a pilot project in 2009.
As a result, first time in Star for Life history, SFL approved to launch a pilot programme in Sri Lanka by taking a historical step to expand the programme to a different geographical region, from Africa to South Asia by establishing a partnership with a Swedish-based Non-Profit, organization ‘Sri Lankas Barns Vanner’.
The ‘Sri Lankas Barns Vänner – SLBV or Swedish Friends of Children in Sri Lanka – SFCSL’ is the legally authorized organization to implement the Star for Life concept in Sri Lanka.
This organization was established in 1980 in Sweden consists of more than 600 members over the Sweden. Since then theorganization initiated and actively supported for various child centered activities in Sri Lanka mainly focusing Children educational programmes, Child Development and Child Protection initiatives, Community Development, Women Empowerment, HIV/AIDS & STD prevention awareness programmes, Humanitarian and Emergency Response projects/programmes.
All those activities were implemented and managed in Sri Lanka through local partnerships with several local NGOs in different districts in Sri Lanka.
The fist SFL Sri Lanka project was implemented in Southern Province of Sri Lanka at SP/MR/Palatuwa Gunarathana Central College in Matara district with approval from the Provincial Department of Education in Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The funding partner for this initial project was Swedish Broadcasting Organization “Radiohjalpen” and local project implementer was “Institute for Development of Community Strengths”(INDECOS) which is a well-established local NGO in Matara.
First (pilot) project was ended in end of 2011 after three years project duration with many positive outcomes. In 2012, the second school was also started in Matara District with INDECOS partnership at “SP/MR/President’s College” at Fort, Matara.
Following the programme expansion strategy of SFL Sri Lanka programme; in December 2012, International Coordinator of Star for Life Sri Lanka Mrs. Christina Riddebäck came back to Sri Lanka and organized an official meeting with Mr. Chathuranga P. A. Guruge who was the first Programmes Manager and the Head Coach for the SFL Sri Lanka Pilot Project in 2009 (he was in Australia for 03 years since 2010 & back in Sri Lanka).
Mr. Chathuranga Guruge had been in South Africa for three (03) weeks to study the SFL South Africa Programme Concept in 2009. He was back in Sri Lanka and developed the current SFL Sri Lanka Programme Concept that would appropriate to implement according to the Sri Lankan Socio-cultural Context.
According to the Programme expansion strategy, the first step was to launch the SFL programme at a school in Western Province of Sri Lanka as a first school in the Western Province. With these new initiatives, Mr. Chathuranga plays dual role as the Programmes Manager for SFL Sri Lanka and the Country Manager for Learning for Life-SFCSL which is the local entity of the SLBV/SFCSL.
In 2013, the ‘Star for Life Sri Lanka’ project was implemented for the first time in Western Province of Sri Lanka as the third project implemented in the country. The selected school was WP/KE/Kelani Maha Vidyalaya and the Funding Sponsor was Trelleborg AB in Sweden.
The project was officially launched on 25th January 2014 with presence of many local, Swedish and South African guests including;
- Mr. P.N. Illapperuma – Provincial Educational Director of Western Province
- Mr. Mahinda Kodithuwakku – Assistant Provincial Director of Non-Formal Education in Western Province
- Professor Jayantha Seneviratne – Professor from University of Kelaniya
- Mr Peter Nilsson – President and CEO of Trelleborg Group
- Mr Sam Olofsson – Secretary General of Star for Life
- Mr. Jean Daniel Kabathi – Programmes Manager of Star for Life South Africa
- Mrs. Christina Riddeback – Chairman of Learning for Life
- Mr. Ken and Mr. Goran – Triple and Touch
- Mr. Antonio – Trelleborg Lanka
- Mr. Nadeeka Guruge – Sri Lankan Film Music Director/Musician