The award ceremony for the winners of the all island school art competition ‘Thilina Tharu’ organised by HDFC Bank was held at the John De Silva Memorial Theatre, recently. Parallel to the award ceremony an art exhibition was organised on 18 and 19 November 2010 at the National Art Gallery in Colombo.
HDFC Bank has successfully organised the competition and the exhibition for the second consecutive year following the success of the first-ever competition last year, with the patronage of the Ministry of Education.
Extending live coverage to the CSR programmes launched by HDFC Bank, the project was initiated as an annual programme that guides and encourages the future generation to express themselves of various social aspects that encourage them to better participate in the future socioeconomic development of Sri Lanka.
Following the successful eradication of terrorism, this year’s competition attracted the attention of children from pre-school ages up to Grade 11 from all provinces of the country including the north and east. Accordingly, more than 16,000 artistic creations and expressions of vivid colour were forwarded by the masses upon the theme of ‘Better City Better Life’ initiated by World Habitat Day 2010.
Expressing views at the occasion of the award ceremony of ‘Thilina Tharu’ 2010, the Assistant General Manager (Business Development and Marketing) of HDFC Bank D.V. Pathirana stated that this year’s theme of the art competition would raise awareness among participants and other stakeholders of the importance of sustainable living in fast urbanising social set-ups.
“A larger percentage of the global population at present is living around growing urbanisations. Currently, around 15% of the local population that lives by urban areas keeps on increasing at an annual rate of 3%,” he said.
Commenting further on the competition’s objectives, Pathirana said that the boundless constructions in and outside the scope of legal approval within city suburbs, transportations and auto emissions in such areas around the clock, had resulted in the deterioration of a qualitative city life. “This alarming situation has made the cities flood prone areas and high risk areas of air pollution,” he added.
He also said that the competition had been organised in support of the World Habitat Day 2010, organised by the World Habitat Programme of the United Nations in view of making the public aware of the growing threat of uncontrolled and irresponsible urbanisation programmes that are taking place around the world.
This trend also causes urban poverty and social issues such as domestic crimes, poor health, less education, etc. HDFC’s core business being housing finance, it has an inevitable social responsibility to cultivate awareness among the people for sustainable urban living, he added.
Creating avenues to express the artistic skills and talents of children and younger generation of the country while making them aware of the requirement to keep unbiased and balanced savings and investment habits within the fast improving socioeconomic context of Sri Lanka and assisting and encouraging the future generation towards such programmes are among the other key objectives of this year’s art competition. HDFC Bank was initiated with the core financial objective of facilitating financial assistance to build houses and the corporate responsibility the bank owes in this regard has driven it to encourage to make the future leaders of the country an environment-friendly generation that accepts and honours the living rights of the others around them as well. N.H.M. Chrithrananda, Additional Secretary, Finance and Administration (Ministry of Education) participated as the Chief Guest of the ‘Thilina Tharu’ award ceremony. Senior Artist Sybille Wettasinghe, prominent writer of child literature Janaki Suriyarachchi, Chairperson of HDFC Bank Siromi Wickramasinghe and Country Manager of the UN Habitat Programme Lakshman Perera, CEO/GM of HDFC Bank Suresh Amerasekera, DGM (Finance) S. Dissanayake, CIA A.J. Athukorala and AGM (IT) Bandara were also present at the occasion.