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Seenigama BPO: Bridging the gap between the village and the world

 

A fundamental act in the process of bridging the gap between rural and urban life is bringing to the village the same opportunities that are available in the city, so that the villagers will have the same access as their city cousins in working for international conglomerates or big name local companies. The persisting problem so far has been that, having gained a certain level of knowledge and expertise, rural community members feel the need to mobilize themselves to cities where there is greater demand for the skill set they have newly acquired, resulting in a knowledge flow from the village to the urban centers. This means that brain drain results in the village stagnating while the talent seeks opportunities elsewhere and the cities continue to flourish.

How can we combat this and create ventures within the villages that allow us to capacitate the wealth of talent on offer? This was a question that the Foundation of Goodness had to find a solution for when our IT courses really started to take off. More and more students were graduating from our courses. To date 808 students have graduated from the IT courses, including 422 MS Office students, 202 graphic design graduates, 158 web design students and 27 software students. A majority of these graduates were faced with the dilemma of having to find work in a village job market that had not been developed as yet. Their best chance was to move to the city where there was greater demand for their skill, where they were isolated from their families and children and would have to bear such expenses as long distance travel, work commute, and renting accommodations. This sense of alienation from their families and the social and cultural impact this resulted in has meant that many of the trained and talented individuals have been unable to pursue the careers of their dreams.

Knowing the hardships that the villages now faced, the FoG developed a rural Business Process Outsource operation in 20o9, which would not only help the local youth find jobs but also help fund the work of the foundation. Today the BPO runs with 21 seats working on data entry and website design projects, with the team consistently surpassing the clients’ expectations and data processing targets. 

With the objective of providing skilled employment opportunities to rural villagers and ensuring that new skills learnt are built upon and utilized, the Business Process works in partnership with external companies which requires employees with IT skills, graduates from the MS Office course taught by the Foundation of Goodness have the opportunity to be interviewed and if successful, are given further training and then employed as an ‘agent’ by that external company. The agents then work within the MCC Centre of Excellence and are required to carry out the tasks in data entry, quality checks, processing, software development, graphic design and basic accounting. 

Since its implementation, the Foundation of Goodness has been working in collaboration with two external companies.

INFOMATE (PVT) LTD

In September 2010 the Sri Lankan giant, Keells subsidiary, InfoMate (Pvt) Ltd trained the first two students employed to become agents. Two more students were quickly added and a further six joined the initiative in January and May 2011. This was an initiative in joint collaboration of ICTA and FARO. ICTA funded the purchase of 6 computers as well as bearing infrastructure and initial startup costs.

Keells, Infomate (pvt) Ltd, have also donated 4 computers and continue to provide the skills training needed by the BPO staff.

ART BANC

In January 2011 the US company Art Banc also began working with the Seenigama BPO. After trained six students who were then promoted to the position of agent the venture soon grew to encompass 21 agents (graduates of the IT programme at Seenigama, several of whom had their lives devastated by the 2004 tsunami) earning a secured monthly wage working within this initiative.

Iresha is one of the young agents who had her life changed by joining the Seenigama BPO. As a young girl fighting poverty on a daily basis, Iresha reluctantly made plans to join the many young rural villagers who were migrating to Colombo to find employment. However the BPO initiative at the MCC Centre of Excellence has allowed her to stay at home with her family. The advantages did not stop there, upon reviewing the potential expenses (rent, food etc.) related to living and working in Colombo, Iresha realised she was earning more money by staying in Seenigama.

If you wish to collaborate with us at the Seenigama BPO or find out more about it, please visit http://www.seenigamabpo.com/.

"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope." ~Barack Obama

 

 

21.12.2012

 

 

 

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