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1000 Youth Leaders Program conducted by District 82 of Toastmasters International

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The 1000 Youth Leadership Program is a program initiated by DTM Arunasalam Balraj, International President of Toastmasters International 2018. Through this program 1,020 students from 34 schools have been trained in communication and leadership skills through the Youth Leadership track of Toastmasters International. 

Articulating his vision Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Arunasalam Balraj said, “My vision was to conduct a youth leadership program at the national level encompassing 1,000 youth leaders spread across the island. I strongly believe that when you empower 1,000 youth with communication and leadership skills we enlarge a circle of positivity which radiates across a span of 1,000 families.”

This program selected over 1,020 students from 34 schools in Anuradhapura, Kandy, Galle, Gampaha, Horana, Panadura, Moratuwa and Colombo suburbs were selected. It was conducted and spearheaded with the support and coordination of 22 Toastmasters clubs, representing Division in District 82. According to District Director Ajantha Jayawardena, “This is the largest project ever undertaken by District 82 of Toastmasters International which has a positive impact on the youth of the country.”

This program consisting of 10 weekly sessions focused on building the confidence levels of youth who are currently studying in Grade 8 and above. Mahesh Jayasinghe the National Coordinator of this program highlighted, “This program used the methodology of the Youth Leadership Program of Toastmasters International, USA. The educational sessions were conducted to enhance the students’ knowledge levels. These skills and learnings could be applied and practiced in a school environment. During the program the students were assessed using brainstorming, role play, group presentations, leadership and team working activities.”

The key educational sessions conducted were:

  • Introduction to effective communication 
  • Organising a speech (What to say and How to Say)
  • Use of body language and vocal variety 
  • Effective use of words 
  • Effective evaluations
  • Mind mapping 
  • Free association 
  • Effective study techniques

This program consisting of 10 weekly sessions of two hours each focused on building the confidence levels of youth. The students needed 80% attendance taking part in meeting roles and delivering speeches. Each student who completed five projects (combination of meeting roles and speeches) were eligible for the youth leadership certificate offered from Toastmasters International.

At the finale of the program a prepared speech contest was held at school level and the winners were eligible to compete at the national level competition to be held in Colombo on 9 June. The school level program ended with students conducting a model Toastmasters meeting independently without any assistance of the Toastmasters. 

Key focus areas are self confidence and communication skills in terms of listening, public speaking and evaluations. This includes:

  • Delivery is free from distracting movements or mannerisms 
  • Gestures, body movements and facial expressions are purposeful, natural and spontaneous
  • Use of eye contact as a means of establishing bonds with the listeners 
  • Careful use of words that precisely and vividly carry the message to the audience
  • Gracefully accept others evaluations of speeches and learn from them
  • Ability to listen carefully and analytically to speeches 
  • Ability to evaluate others speeches in a tactful, helpful way
  • Ability to think quickly and clearly in an impromptu speaking situation 


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