iLEAD youth in Sri Lanka trained to start and improve their business


A GCE* -Ordinary Level (O/L)dropout, 18 years old Aldin never let his ideas get caged by books and syllabi. He broke all the boundaries imposed by the education system and financial restrictions to follow his passion for Graphic Designing. Daras enrolled at the iLEAD – Jaffna centre to undergo the 3-month training offered free of cost to pursue graphic designing course. During the training, he also actively engaged in all the extra – curricular activities carried out in the centre aimed at developing the self confidence among the students. Following the three months’ training Daras started his On-Job-Training (OJT) at a famous studio in Jaffna.

Soon after, Daras founded “Kapil Creations”, an advertising startup company with the financial support of his family and friends. The company is specialized in designing banners and mug printings, Duro frames, Cristal frame and Invitation cards. Daras designs and edits all works by himself. Though Daras was technically good at his work, he lacked the management skills to manage his business efficiently. It was then that his iLEAD trainers motivated him to enroll for the “Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB)” training programme. He immediately grabbed the opportunity and attended the 9-day programme.

Daras is one among the 172 youths who underwent the “Start and Improve Your Business (SIYB) training programme intended to impart skills on entrepreneurship among the iLEAD trainees and trained youth across 7 iLEAD Centres in Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi and Ratanapura districts in Sri Lanka from 26th Oct -2018 to 03rd Nov 2018. The SIYB programme was conducted as part of the collaborative effort of the US Embassy Colombo and AEA-Sri Lanka for the project “Developing employability and entrepreneurship skills for marginalized youth in Sri Lanka” under the “Youth Empowerment Grants Programme.”

“The skills that I gained in Graphic Designing helped me to make use of my inborn artistic ability in drawing pictures creatively to start my own business while I’m still 18. My low educational qualifications didn’t prevent me from becoming a young Graphic Designer either. Now with the Start & Improve Your Own Business programme, I am going to further improve my business,” says Daras.

The intervention has been able to focus on helping to establish and develop small businesses as a strategy for creating more and better employment for women and men, particularly in our project interventions in Sri Lanka. The trainer, Khaleel Rahman, Program Officer – AEAI SA, is an International Labour Organization certified master trainer in SIYB.

*General Certificate of Examination