By Cassie Mascarenhas
A whirlwind of colourful skits, musical items and a variety of other performances unfolded on stage at the first ever HSBC ‘FutureFirst’ Talent Show and Awards Ceremony held last week at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute when over 300 ‘FutureFirst’ children took to the stage to show off their creativity, skills and talents.
‘FutureFirst,’ an entrepreneur education programme, is a global initiative undertaken by HSBC and is currently being implemented in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Young Entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka (YESL) and Junior Achievement (JA), all of which work together to take this programme to over 1,000 underprivileged students in 10 schools.
Graced by the presence of Chief Executive Officer HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives Nick Nicolaou, who was also the Chief Guest at the event, the ceremony was also attended by the President of Young Entrepreneurs Sri Lanka (YESL) Patrick Amarasinghe, principals, teachers and students from dozens of schools as well as senior members of the bank and HSBC staff volunteers.
The talent show, bringing 10 schools and more than 300 students together, created a platform for children to unleash their creativity, through outstanding performances in stage plays, Oriental and Western dance items, skits and song items that captivated the audience.
Special certificates and awards were handed out in recognition of student’s educational achievements, and more than 100 students received accolades for their entrepreneurship skills, team spirit, courtesy and discipline, special skills and oral tests, as well as for ‘Upcoming Future Junior Achievers of 2009’.
In addition, principals and teachers were also awarded for their contribution in developing the younger generation through their dedication, enthusiasm and service and were loudly cheered on by the students as they stepped on to stage to accept their tokens.
“The young people receiving these awards genuinely care about making a difference in their lives and have accomplished so much. I thank and congratulate them for their outstanding performance. Today’s event is a giant step taken by these children to showcase their talent, and it is both encouraging and gratifying to see the progress made thus far,” stated Nicolaou, addressing the gathering at the ceremony.
HSBC embarked on its first ‘Future First’ educational activity in 2007 with the initiation of a programme to provide entrepreneurship education to 1,000 underprivileged children in Sri Lanka, across 10 less-fortunate schools. The programme consisted of three main levels – elementary, middle and senior, inculcating knowledge-based business techniques to stimulate entrepreneurial thinking for the future.
After having successfully completed the first elementary stage, HSBC has pledged its commitment to continue the programme with the launch of the middle school programme for a further period of two years.
The programme is conducted in simple English by four highly-trained consultants, twice weekly at Sivali Central School, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Sri Parakkrama Bahu Viduhala Narahenpita, St. Methodist’s College Mutwal, Thalahena K.V Negombo, Sri Sadharmodaya Vidyalaya Moratuwa, Methodist Vidyalaya Dehiwala, Rainbow Centre Bentota, Herman Gmeiner School, Sarvodaya Centre in Borella and the SOS Children’s Village in Piliyandala.
‘FutureFirst’ is a global US$10 million, five year initiative collaborating with SOS children’s’ villages – the world’s largest NGO for orphans, was launched through HSBC’s Global Education Trust in 2007. The programme was implemented through the participation of country coordinators, in countries where HSBC is present, to provide education, healthcare, counselling and shelter to hundreds of thousands of street children, children in care and foster children.
JA is the world’s largest and fastest growing organisation dedicated to educating young people in business, economics and free enterprise, and HSBC has collaborated with YESL and JA Worldwide, in the implementation of this project.
Pix by Upul Abayasekara