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Cricket stars Mahela Jayewardena and Kumar Sangakkara help launch new programme that aims to create career opportunities and empower the
younger generation

What better role models could they get? Cricket stars –Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayewardena and former captain Kumar Sangakkara were among the celebrities present for the launch of the Career Guidance and Youth Empowerment programme, an effort to take a fresh look at the possibilities and options for youth in Sri Lanka currently.

The initative organised by the Rotaract Clubs of American National College, Colombo Up-Town, and Colombo North, and supported by the National Youth Services Council (NYSC), International Organisation of Migration(IOM) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme was launched at the Taj Samudra hotel on June 28.

Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara together with the Country Programme Officer of the UN Volunteers, Natal Donnaloia, Chief of Mission of the International Organisation of Migration Richard Danziger, Working Director of the National Youth Council, Milinda Rajapaksha, Project Manager of Career Guidance and Youth Empowerment, Varuna Ponnamperuma, Project Director of Training for Trusteeship, Neshan Gunasekara and Rotaract representative Sadhani Rajapakse spoke of a new beginning at the launch.

The main objective of this programme is to create opportunities for young people to connect with the appropriate avenues to find suitable careers or pursue desired areas of interest. A meaningful career affects almost every aspect in life, including emotional and physical health, quality of life, and interaction with others.

The programme will target the youth in the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern provinces of Sri Lanka, and emphasises the importance of youth from different parts of the country coming together to share and assist one another in an issue that is relevant to them. “CGYE is a pilot initiative by a multi-stakeholder partnership involving government, civil society and business leaders to address the youth unemployment issue in Sri Lanka,” noted Neshan Gunasekera.

The websites of CGYE and the Connect Lanka Youth Movement were launched by Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara respectively.
CGYE hopes to carry out the project in three phases; where they would change the attitudes of youth regarding the issue of unemployment, empower them with soft skills, develop their self-confidence and create a platform for them to explore the various career options that are available. The next hope among many of these organisations is to host the World Youth Conference in 2014.

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