From left: Environment Manager (Winners) – Nilupuli Hewage, Entrepreneur (small) - Shiromi Pathirana, Young Leader – Bhagya Sanjeewani, Entrepreneur (upcoming) - Chamari Kudabalage, NDB Senior Vice President Personal Banking, Marketing and Customer Experience Sanjaya Perera, NDB Director/Group CEO Dimantha Seneviratne, Executive Group Director Capital Maharaja Group Chevaan Daniel, The Most Popular Woman in Sri Lanka Pushpa Ramyani, Entrepreneur (micro) - Damayanthi Rathnayake, Social Service – Damayanthi Pushpakumar, Sports – Damayanthi Darsha, and Education – Priyanka Weerasekara, at the Grand Finale of the Sri Lanka Vanithabimana awards ceremony yesterday in Colombo
The Grand Finale of Sri Lanka Vanithabimana was held parallel to International Women’s Day on 8 March, at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.
Vanithabimana, introduced by NDB Bank and Sirasa News 1st, has become a platform for Sri Lankan female trailblazers who are fast breaking new ground. The platform is also a national level program that has empowered women and made them direct participants of the Sri Lankan economy.
One main objective of this program is to get women to participate in the modern marketplace and to encourage and facilitate their entry to it. It will also take a step towards appreciating and felicitating those women who at present actively contribute to the economy and society.
All winners from the eight categories took part at the event, representing their area of expertise, namely – Entrepreneur (micro), Entrepreneur (small), Upcoming Entrepreneur, Young Leader, Environment Management, Social Services, Sports and Education. These winners were identified through provincial level competitions and over a period of nine months.
Accordingly, R.M. Damayanthi Rathnayake – Entrepreneur Micro (Eastern Province), Chamari Lakmali Kumari – Entrepreneur Up and Coming (Western Province), S.M.P.W. Shiromi Pathirana – Entrepreneur Small (Central Province), P.H. Bhagya Sanjeewani – Young Leader (Southern Province), G.M.S. Damayanthi Pushpakumari - ocial Services (Sabaragamuwa Province), V.J. Nilupuli Indiketiya Hewage – Environmental Management (Central Province), K.V. Damayanthi Darsha – Sports (Western Province) and R.A.D. Priyanka Weerasekara – Education (Western Province) were crowned as the winners at the Grand Finale. On the same day the most popular trailblazer among – Pushpa Ramyani, Susanthika Jayasinghe, Otara Gunewardene, Shashika Nisansala, Pooja Umashankar, Shalani Tharaka, Chamari Atapattu, and Umaria Sinhawansa – was selected via a vote. Further, 10 awards were presented to Kalakeerthi Iranganie Serasinghe – Actress, Kalakeerthi Sumithra Peiris – Film Director, Kalasoori Latha Walpola – Singer, Visharada Nanda Malini – Singer, Dr. Vajira Chithrasena – Traditional Dancer, Dr. Paba Palihawadana – Consultant Specialist, Sumithra Rahubaddha – Author, Jayanthi Kuru-Uthumpala – Adventurer, Deshabandu Susanthika Jayasinghe – Sprint Athlete and Asha De Vos – Biologist for their contribution towards their various fields, thus creating pathways for all women to contribute and prosper in respective fields.
The call for applications to enter the ‘Sri Lanka Vanithabhimana’ Provincial competitions, commenced in July 2020 at the Central, Southern and North Central regions with the participation of over 6,000 women. The overall assessment process was a massive undertaking that started at the nine provinces and reached the National level. When assessing the applications, NDB and Sirasa News 1st paid attention to all aspects including women’s specialised vision, entrepreneurial capability, and capacity for innovation, leadership quality and skills. In parallel measures were taken to conduct field awareness programs and workshops.
However, due to the current pandemic situation, NDB together with News 1st conducted the remaining judging process via digital platforms to recognise the finalists of the competition. The competitions for the Western, Uva, Sabaragamuwa, North, East and North Western provinces were thus conducted via Zoom meetings held at the respective NDB Bank branches.
Accordingly, areas of focus such as cookery, beautician, yoga training, health clinics, mobile banking and financial/monetary services, legal aid services, advice for self-employment, training for youth leadership and entrepreneurial training were also conducted in the first stage, and all applicants who participated were awarded a certificate of participation.
Commenting on the successful completion of Vanithabimana Awards Program, NDB Group CEO Dimantha Seneviratne stated that NDB is quite privileged to take part in a national event of this magnitude – Identifying and encouraging women leadership and entrepreneurship to get them to contribute to the economy. He thanked Capital Maharaja Group for working hand in hand to make this event a roaring success.
NDB bank is the first Sri Lankan institute that received the EDGE certification in 2019, which is a global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality and its Araliya savings account became a source of strength to women who were employed due to the benefits it provided. Araliya savings account also empowered women who were unemployed by educating them and giving them an opportunity to take a new lease in life, without fear. The COVID-19 pandemic only demonstrated the need to empower women economically, if the country was to ever recover financially.
NDB Bank, named the ‘Bank of the Year Sri Lanka 2020’ by the Banker Magazine UK, is the 4th largest listed bank in Sri Lanka and the parent company of the NDB Group. The only financial services conglomerate in Sri Lanka, NDB Group is uniquely positioned towards assisting the growth and development of the Sri Lankan capital market to provide its customers seamless access to the product and service offerings of all its group companies.
The Most Popular Woman in Sri Lanka category award winner Pushpa Ramyani (fifth from left). Others from left: Umaria Sinhawansa, Shashika Nisansala, Shalani Tharaka, Chamari Atapattu, a family member on behalf of Pooja Umashankar, Otara Gunawardene and Susanthika Jayasinghe - Pix by Ruwan Walpola