“One Laptop, One Dream” in Sri Lanka


On September 13, 2017, South South Education Foundation (SSEF) donated 50 all-in-one computers to students from nine prestigious universities in Sri Lanka, including University of Colombo, University of Peradeniya, University of Moratuwa, University of Ruhuna, and Rajarata University. His Excellency Mr. Lakshman Kiriella, who is the Cabinet Minister of Highways & Higher Education and Leader of the House of Sri Lanka, Prof. P.S.M. Gunaratne, who is the Vice Chairman of University Grants Commission Sri Lanka (UGC), Dr. Priyantha Premakumara, who is the Secretary to UGC, and Ms. Jenny Yao, who is the Deputy Director-General of SSEF, attended the donation ceremony held in Colombo, the capital city. 

“The ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ promotes ‘inclusive, equitable and quality’ education. Over the past years, SSEF has been guided by this concept and has been focusing on quality education in developing countries,” said Ms. Yao. She further elaborated that SSEF’s “One Laptop, One Dream” project aimed to bring computers and internet access to students of nations of the Global South with the hope that students could fully utilize the internet and modern communication technology to better facilitate the realization of their personal goals and to minimize the technology gap between developed and developing countries. “As the Chinese saying goes: It is good to read ten thousand books, but it’s even better to travel ten thousand miles. Therefore, I hope you study hard, make good use of the computers, go outside and explore different parts of the world. We believe that knowledge brightens dreams, and education changes the future.”

Holding the computers in hand, the 50 students selected by UGC thanked the donor with joy and gratitude. Grown up in poverty, these students, among which six were disabled, came from families with a medium household income around $280,00 local currency per year (¥1,197 RMB). Despite their poor family background, these students studied so hard that they got enrolled in those best universities in Sri Lanka, majoring in medicine, law, engineering, management, information technology and other key disciplines. Although their universities located in different cities, to attend the ceremony in Colombo on time, these students had to set off in mid-night and take the bus for 8 to 9 hours, accompanied by their parents or guardians. Other than improving the education hardware, SSEF would like to see the computers being the messenger of culture exchange between China and Sri Lanka; meanwhile, SSEF hoped that these students would contribute to the development of Sri Lanka in the near future.

According to Minister Lakshman Kiriella, what a person came from hardly matter, but if he didn’t work hard, he would stay poor forever.  “Thanks for the charity donation by SSEF, and we do hope the students can treasure the computers and study hard to change their destinies,” said the Minister. He also mentioned the historical origin of the friendship between China and Sri Lanka—in 1950s, when Sri Lanka was suffering from famine, China came to help by exchanging their rice with Sri Lanka’s rubber, a way that provided Sri Lankans with food. “We would like to thank His Excellency Ambassador Karunasena Kodituwakku, our ambassador to China, for his recommendation of SSEF. Let’s wish an everlasting friendship between China and Sri Lanka!”

Last December, during SSEF’s annual charity dinner, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to China H.E. Karunasena Kodituwakku, Ambassador of Djibouti to China H.E. Abdallah Miguil, and Counselor of Sierra Leone to China H.E. Kamara Sahid went to the stage and accepted cheques for computer donations from the Chairman of SSEF, Mr. Cai E-sheng, Director-General Dr. John Wu and Deputy Director-General Ms. Jenny Yao. Till now, “One Laptop, One Dream” has been implemented in over 10 countries, and will spread to more developing countries soon. The project is determined to narrowing the technology gap between the North and the South, promoting civil communication, and contributing to the realization of the UN 2030 agenda.