The Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE) Youth Activity (SYA) has provided life-changing internship opportunities for 280 youths from 14 districts.

Implemented by the International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) and Global Communities and funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the SYA is a 12-month project that targets youth aged 18-29 to improve their civic awareness, leadership skills, participation in community improvements, and decision-making processes.

After pre-internship boot camps, 280 interns were placed in various organisations within their respective district for a period of 4 months where they underwent a rigorous weekly programme, working 4 days and reporting back on Friday with their key learnings, under the guidance of two Training Facilitators who worked closely with them to ensure the smooth functioning of the training. Overall, the programme aimed to provide them with a unique experience where they could identify various social issues as community activists.

One of the most significant achievements of the training was the fact that Interns felt a renewed enthusiasm for working towards the development of the country. A Jaffna intern stated, “Following my internship, I would like to contribute to the development of this country with the experience I gained. That is why I picked 3D animation and web development fields, since if I succeed in them, I would be able to pave the way for the next generation.”

Some of the youth had utilized their experience to successfully further their careers. “One of my goals is to be an accountant so I worked as an intern accountant in the host organisation. Thanks to the training and work experience I got from the company presently, I’m working as a junior accountant for a foreign company,” claimed an intern from Matara. Others used the Internship as a stepping stone to get into a dream career. A girl in Mullaithivu joined a tailor shop for her internship as she realized that this was the pathway to her dream of becoming a fashion designer one day. Similarly, a girl from Moneragala who is an aspiring novelist did her internship in a book shop where she got ample time to read old Sinhala novels and also have the time to write her own novel.

The general sentiment was that this programme came at the perfect time to address the needs of the youth who were feeling frustrated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One Anuradhapura Intern commented, “When I was upset due to the valuable time we were wasting during the COVID-19 pandemic, SYA paved the right way to strive with Boot Camp training, 4-month internship, Friday sessions and weekly journals which helped me in utilising my daily routine.”

Overall, while expressing their gratitude to IYAP for presenting them with invaluable opportunity to undergo this training, the youths acknowledged that the training paved the way for the current generation of talented youth to understand their strengths and weaknesses in becoming model citizens.

Founded in 2013 and based in Colombo, the International Youth Alliances for Peace (IYAP) is a youth-led/based organization that believes in harnessing the power of young people and the contribution they make to their respective communities and country.