Hope is being able to see that there is light despite the darkness. Hope is the unlimited potential of fighting back when a storm of devastation wrecks through humanity, and hope is what kept every Sri Lankan alive during the very recent Easter-Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka.
The end of April 2019 was a devastating period for every Sri Lankan that shattered the joy of Easter-sunday and faded the glimpse of Vesak Celebrations. It was then that a team of young Sri Lankans wanted to light up all of Sri Lanka with hope, and lamps. SurfEdge is an innovation-based company that decided to bring happiness to Sri Lanka in times of need by becoming a mirror that reflects light: the light of hope, the light of fellow Sri Lankans.
How the idea came to life
The Easter Sunday attacks ended up with several weeks of curfew aimed at preventing further escalation of violence, obstructing the Vesak Celebrations which is a major ceremony of Buddhists, celebrated every year in a vibrant way. Then the idea of creating a platform and inviting people to light a virtual lamp at their houses, schools, workplaces, etc, fascinated the young individuals at SurfEdge with the hope of “Light up Sri Lanka again“.
The call was successful and around 3000 lamps were lit. In fact, Sri Lankans around the globe, as well as organizations, joined the platform to pass the message. The team that was behind this immense campaign who sought to draw smiles and lift up the people in such crucial times is formed by: Adhisha Gammanpila, Chamath Palihawadana, Janith Gamage, Charu De Silva, Harshana Serasinghe, Nishavi Ranaweera, Tehani Wanniarachchi, Ishan Dissanayake, Dumendra Yapa, Lakindu Gunasekara, Geeth Maduranga and Kanchana Godage
How the platform worked
Other than lighting up a virtual lamp at locations, the platform had a message box where people could share their prayers and thoughts as many did not tend to put them on their Social media due to the situation they had in the country. In fact, creating the platform was an intense experience for the team, to say the least. The time span was very short, and they had to create and launch it before the celebration. From the technical side, they had eight people and partnered organizations. With their efforts, the goal was reached in about 2-3 days. Of course, this did not come easily. There were a few difficulties that the team had to overcome. At first, no one expected many people at once to engage with the platform. The response was overwhelming, and the engineers had to manage the backend and change the platform super quickly so that it will not crash. Additionally, they needed to optimize their performance well enough. On the partnering side, it was hard to connect with people. Everyone had their own way to move on from the attacks and Sri Lanka was trying to recover and pass a positive message.
Together As One
The team thought that the festival would lift up the people up and wanted to at least share some kind of experience together as one. Thanks to their perseverance, they managed to get support from their partners to get a huge audience and pass the message. Thus, it made things easier for the working team as they did not need to worry about the engagement and outreach of their potential platform.
In the future, they aim for the platform to go global. “Trying to build up a concept out of it” is their next step as they strongly believe that the sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.
IVolunteer International is a Gold Seal nonprofit organization on Guidestar. Operating from Savannah, Georgia, IVolunteer International connects volunteers to volunteer projects around the world. Since 2017, IVolunteer has connected over 3,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2019, World Trade Center Savannah selected IVolunteer International as finalists of the Peace Through Trade Competition. In 2020, IVolunteer International will develop and launch a geo-connecting mobile application which will be available to volunteers around the world.