Ms. Menuri Sachintha Kodikara is a 16 years old activist from Sri Lanka. She was awarded with the first first-ever Glocal Teen Hero – Sri Lanka for 2020. Ms. Sachintha has a record of 6 High International Awards of Appreciation for working towards SDGs. Currently, She is working for the SDGCPSL (Sustainable Development Goals Children’s Parliament of Sri Lanka) with future short term and long-term projects which helps with Goal 1 and Goal 4.
She is an Asian and Commonwealth bronze medalist, West Asia champion, National member of the World’s first SDG Children’s Parliament, the youngest Women FIDE Master in Sri Lanka and was awarded with the high International award of appreciation ‘Volunteer Service Leader’ by Sri Lanka United Nations Friendship Organization and Guy Joseph Ale Memorial Award 2020. She has also been selected for the 1st International SDG action camp.
Ms. Menuri was invited in the 9th episode of Teenspire to share her ideas, initiation and achievement including her amazing experience among teenagers. Below here you can read her interesting conversation that will motivate to dream big;
Your first reaction; when you were announced as the winner of GTH Sri Lanka for the year 2020?
I was really happy. Previously, I heard about Glocal Teen Hero through a Facebook post and I immediately applied for it. Before, I did not have enough exposure or people did not know about my social activism. But, after being the Glocal Teen Hero – Sri Lanka, I have now gotten exposure from everywhere and that is the best experience; I am having now.
Between the two things that you love doing- Social activism and your passion towards Chess; Which one would you choose?
Chess has a huge place in my heart. It was the reason that inspired me to become a social activist. But still, if I have to choose between the two, I would choose social activism because knowing that I am doing something for the people which makes people happy and actually makes me feel very overwhelmed.
What inspired you to play Chess?
One day, My grandmother was going through the newspaper, she saw the news about a young chess champion in Sri Lanka. I was 7 at that time and my brother was 12. So, she thought even my children could play it and can participate in this competition. And in my first tournament, I stood sixth place, and it was the best thing that happened to me so far.
What kind of challenges are you facing in your journey?
Sri Lanka, as a developing country, our culture is quite underdeveloped. So some people try to doubt most of the things; since crime is very common here, they think that it is for something wrong. People tell you that you are not working hard enough, you cannot do anything which is very demotivating. I had to work according to their mindset which was very challenging.
How did you tackle those challenges?
I motivate myself through chess. While playing chess we go through everything, we face problems and that problem should be tackled in a very calm manner. I have been playing chess for seven years and now; I have the ability to think rationally because of chess. There are also some people in the society around me, who demotivates me; but the love and support from my family and people who want to see me excel is something that keeps me going.
Government has appreciated you by giving you a house to live in? How do you feel about it?
It was a great feeling. Getting a house from them is definitely something very special.
You have been actively working to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. In which areas you are working?
I have initiated a children’s club in a remote area in my country, where I have provided counselling, books and many other stationary they needed for their school. In the children club, there are around 81 children. They were never out of their comfort zone, but I showed them new ways through which they can flourish new activities and that the world around them is good.
What are your future plans?
Currently, I have been working to alleviate poverty in Srilanka as a Minister of Sustainable Development in Sri Lanka. I will be also talking about the scope of these groups. Simultaneously, I also want to help children with what they need. Because each child needs support and I want to help those children.
Message to Aspiring Teenagers!
As teenagers and youths, we all have to make a change. Even if you do not identify what changes you have to make, you can see what is something that you are missing, it can be an experience or an exposure. Because if you make changes, even the people older than you are inspired from you knowing that you as a child are doing something impactful, makes the adults know what they too have to do.
The ninth episode of the “Teenspire” Live Session was conducted by Glocal Pvt. Ltd and was live-streamed by the Glocal Teen Hero Facebook page. Mr. Ajay Pandey (IT Manager of Glocal Pvt. Ltd) was the host of the session.