The Margin + OSC Girls RISE

The Margin, Ivy Girls Lead, Girls RISE and Harvard Future Lawyers Programme

Two endeavors that I have recently taken up this semester are becoming a member of  two new clubs which were formed in the OSC community as a form of outreach towards younger girls in school and the Margin as an established a method of educating the student and teacher body on the treatment of marginalized communities.

The Margin is the first group I joined, in the group, members meet up once each week to explore the misconceptions regarding different different communities of people around the world, we discuss issues ranging from racial inequality to homophobia while we educate ourselves and things such as disabilities in order to reduce the stigma that is felt within any environment in which a member of the student body may encounter. So far, we have met up over 5 times having accomplished setting up a website and earned ourselves a section on the daily bulletin. I even got to take the initiative to create our first ever daily bulletin post about the Afro-Sri Lankans of Puttalam, a forgotten community that have gradually lost their ties to their African roots after integration into Sri Lankan life post colonization after being brought in as slave workers. I chose to submit this post as a part of our Black History Month initiative. This required a fair share of creativity as I had to learn how to use E-maze in order to make my post and learn how to navigate it. Regardless, since, I have contributed to adding to our timeline, attended multiple ted talks, and had valuable discussions with my peers about the prevention of exclusion and the importance of educating oneself on these matters. Needless to say, each of these discussions have been extremely insightful and I am honored to be a part of a group that is capable of contributing so much to the others.

Link to my 1st post:

The second group which I recently became a member of is the Girls RISE project, which I may have mentioned in one of my earlier blogposts concerning the IVY GIRLS lead. Admittedly, at the time the project was only an idea, and we were only capable of making it a reality this semester. When joining, I agreed to take on the role of a mentor and although we haven’t gotten to the mentorship stage of the project just yet, we have had the honor of being able to bring in three very accomplished guest speakers who were undoubtedly awe inducing to anyone in attendance. The first, being Tiffany Carothers from Girls Make Waves,  Jayanti Kuru-Utumpala, the first Sri Lankan to climb Mount-Everest and our most recent guest, philanthropist Maggie Doyne who who holds a Forbes Award for Excellence in Education among many other renowned accolades including CNN’s hero of the year. Each week I have taken notes on the different stories shared by the guest speaker and am sharing them for later use for when it is my turn to share my wisdom with the girls I will be mentoring, so far, however, the initiative has been amazing and the opportunities granted to us in the process is something I’m eternally grateful for, especially considering that women’s rights is something I have wanted to advocate for since being a little girl, and I am honored that  I get to lead by example for the younger students now.

Additionally, I stepped a little out of my comfort zone last week to make a speech during our school assembly, reminding the OSC student body about the work that we have done in the past year and the work that we hope to accomplish in the coming years especially in relation to Girls RISE which happens to be one of the newer initiatives in school. I was a little nervous when Ms. Fleming approached me, but I took it in stride and wrote and delivered the speech the best I could.

Here is a small extract from my announcement:

“Hi, I’m Devanga Silva from DP1 and I am going to be talking to you about a program which several students from OSC took part in over the last few months. IVY Girls Lead was a program that took place from December through March where 25 girls were selected from around Sri Lanka to participate in an intensive 10 day virtual programme and a 3 month service project we had to create ourselves which consisted of multiple opportunities to develop our leadership skills as young women in society. As members of the Ivy Lead, we were able to take part in group discussions, talent-analysis activities and even got the honor of participating in presentations with a powerful panel of female industry leaders that helped us cultivate stronger leadership and business skills while learning more about our interpersonal relationships as well. And we were even featured in a Sunday Times news article. Because of the success of IVY Girls Lead, we decided to create a similar program at OSC which I will be handing over to Miku to tell us more about.”

Lastly, but Certainly not least, my work in these projects, IVY GIRLS, the Margin and girls RISE gave me the boost of confidence to apply for a summer course with Harvard Student Agencies and Learn With Leaders, in an exclusive program which takes in 10 candidates from around the world for a 2 week course on law. Initially when signing up I wasn’t very sure of my chances of making it in, especially considering that the only ways in which they assess your application is through a survey and an interview. Needless to say when time came for met to answer my interview questions (which I wasn’t informed about in the least before hand) I was able to relevantly piece together information and depict my concern for social injustices in a way that had my acceptance letter in my email the very next day! Naturally  I am elated and even proud of myself for building this much confidence within the past few months and I am grateful to school for providing me with these amazing opportunities to exercise what I am passionate about. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and I can’t wait to see what  I learn from it (which will also be very valuable to my further education) but that’s an update for another time! I can’t wait to revisit my experience when I return to DP2.




In my last blog post, I introduced everyone to the IVY GIRLS Lead project which I became a member of in late December 2020. However, although in my earlier post, my focus was on the guest speaker element of the project,  another major part of the program that  I want to talk about is the service task which we were asked to complete after our first 2 weeks as a trial to see how well we were able to apply what we were taught to real life.

We were each asked to pick out a topic on which we wanted to work on and then assigned groups with random members based off of our interests. We were then asked to brainstorm a project outline, create an effective plan and then present it to a panel of judges on our final day of week 2. Once approved we were expected to complete our tasks over the span of 3 months (or more) to hopefully end up accomplishing the intended end goal.

I had a difficult time choosing between two topics, gender inequality and ocean pollution. The deciding factor in the end ended up being the fact that I had to choose something that was doable during the COVID situation, and while I was passionate about sport I had doubts that others would think the same way. This is why I decided to continue my efforts which I started out in the 10th Grade with my MYP 5 Personal Project, only this time, with added elements and it being more of a group effort. This would also ultimately help me in fulfilling my CAS goals.

Our progress check in was actually due yesterday, here is an excerpt from what I submitted on behalf of my group members…

Towards the start of  the of Ivy Girls Lead action project, the Reef Revival group consisting of Thimanya and Ayesha and I took on a very venturesome initiative to raise awareness on to raise awareness regarding the issue of ocean pollution amongst social media users; while, taking a personal course of order to do our part in combating the issue in question within Sri Lanka’s oceans. 

Over the course of the past few months we have done our level best to stay true to our goal despite many major challenges we were met with.

Here are few of the biggest obstacles we have faced:

  • Although I reached out to 5 dive centers in order to initiate underwater cleanups and only one responded, we were able to carry out two dives but they shut down too due to the lack of business and risk of COVID (i.e.. having to re-use equipment). 
  • We could not have as much physical engagement as we liked considering the pandemic situation so we were forced to do this within our families and close friend circles in a much less official way. 
  • Thimanya could not get a lot of beach cleanup participants considering the COVID-19 situation as well.
  • School work and distance interfered more with our project than we anticipated, while Thimanya and I kept continuous correspondence via WhatsApp and G-Mail our third group member who was supposed to take on the role of the researcher did not interact with us at all despite how many times we emailed her or used slack, which meant that Thimanya and I had to carry out her share of the tasks ourselves.

Overall, the obstacles that we were faced with, to a degree reduced our productivity and narrowed down the limits of how much we could achieve with our goal during this period of time, however, I am very proud of how we decided to stay true to our initial plan and took up our goals to the best of our ability. 

Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments:

  • We officially launched our social media campaign, Reef Revival which gained the desired amount of traction and so much more than we anticipated we hit 50 followers in 3 days!
  • Our first post, which was a trailer / awareness edit that I made as an introduction to our initiative, reached many activists around the world who congratulated us on our efforts, our friends and family were also very supportive and reposted and shared our content etc. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the support.
  • Thimanya who was in charge of the beach cleanups carried two out successfully at Pinawatta  within her family and with the help of the municipal council in her district. 
  • I was able to carry out two successful dive cleanups at Swami Rock, collecting over 30kg’s worth of debris, most of our haul consisting of plastic bags and bottles with additional surprising collections of a massive cement block, fish cage wiring, a few corroded poles, lots of rope and ceramics. 
  • We came into contact with a major ocean pollution advocate and social media influencer named Arlian Ecker on Instagram. He’s only 16 and is already an ambassador for Project AWARE with over 2k followers! The Ocean Purpose Project panelist has been a great mentor and has actively encouraged us to follow through with our project. We even discussed the prospects of doing a Q and A or collaborative project with him in the near future! (which we are very excited for! )
  • Our project was kickstarted with the help of many other popular awareness blogs such as SEAFOAM , Bali Dive Time and Aqua5 who loved our content and helped spread the word about our initiative.
  • Our first post had a 36 person share rate which is pretty major for an Instagram post!
  • I was also able to carry out my own beach cleanup with the help of my family and friends at a beach in Hiriketiya which was very polluted to the begin with; the content we recovered ranged from bottles of poison to fishing lines and an overwhelmingly large collection of washed up shoes. 
  • We were able to engage with our followers via the IG story feature, regularly quizzing and educating them on our action; we decided that stories would be more efficient than releasing posts because they get a bigger reach due to notifications that followers get, but we also release a few posts designed by Thimanya.
  • I was also able to log my Data successfully onto Project AWARE’s diver profile which is available to the general diving community and scientists who analyze the data that divers collect. 

What the future holds for Reef Revival:

Hopefully we are able to continue our efforts in the following months especially with the COVID situation easing around the island, we are hoping that for the sake of the project and the local community that Dive Centers are allowed to go back into business so that we can have greater engagement with the community, have more cleanups and make it a more engaging experience. As for the near future, we are currently looking forward to doing the Q and A with Arlian Ecker (plastic free boy)  and hopefully get many more activists involved in the project, maybe even at local capacity. We also plan on  carrying out the installation of the bins in the beaches close by with the money that Thimanya has raised for that purpose and more generally, expanding our following and engagement.

Creativity – Designing Posts + Stories

Activity – Diving 

Service – Raising Awareness + The Removal of Rubbish


Detailed Action Plan:

Progress Check- In ( click link for more images & details ):

^ hiriketiya beach pre-cleanup




(takeaways + the foreseeable future )

I realize that I haven’t been as active on here as much as I would have liked to have been, but I assure you that I have been taking every opportunity away from my blog to take on a new and exciting challenge.

In fact, one of the most notable activities that I have taken on since my last update was a project that Ms. Fleming (our school counselor)  introduced to us late last year around winter break. Since then, myself along with 24 other girls from across the island and from school have taken part in a 4 month long initiative to empower young women in leadership positions, with the mentorship of over 7 notable international Ivy League graduates. This was an incredible honor since only 25 of us got chosen out of 200 people that enrolled island wide! As a result of this opportunity, I was able to make friends with a diverse group of incredible girls along the way and not only that but I got a once in a lifetime opportunity to come into contact with an immensely inspirational group of  female leaders along the way.

The first two weeks of the experience consisted of introductions, team building activities and many guest speakers, who told us the intricacies of what it took to succeed as a female leader in the world.

The topics ranged from self affirmation to breaking gender norms and purpose finding, all of which I found extremely beneficial to add to my arsenal of knowledge.

My personal favorite was the very first session led by author Christy Rutherford, who gave everyone an amusing, but memorable talk on self affirmation and deciding the difference between coming across as arrogant and cocky and being confident and put together.

Starting out with the Girls Lead,  I must admit that I wasn’t entirely keen on being put in a zoom meeting with a majority of strangers at first. I may seem somewhat extroverted at times but in reality I’m pretty shy and awkward in social situations, and as for me, having to step up to the role of a leader in a room full of very talented and outspoken girls seemed beyond daunting to me.

As I wrote down in my main goal for the Lead at the very beginning, I really wanted to improve my confidence, because it just so happens to be that I have a lot of thoughts but they unfortunately tend to become difficult to articulate the correct way when I’m under pressure or have to speak in a public context.

Thankfully for me, I got to grow in leaps and bounds in that aspect. There was a visible change in the way I carried myself along the the course program and it became evident to myself and the people I interacted with on a daily basis, that I truly had learned to step outside of my comfort zone and rise to the occasion.

A lot of people would not be granted such once in a lifetime opportunities to get such hugely informative lectures from such qualified, experienced and capable people that had succeeded so much in their fields of work, which is when I knew that it was not something that I could take for granted.

After that realization, I actively participated in each call, making sure to ask questions and share my thoughts every session and even took the initiative of leading my group’s service task. I even diligently took notes to make the most of what was being said, which in hindsight was a very wise decision, I look back it every so often for a boost in morale.  It was clear that I had changed so much by the end of the program that even the CEO of the Ivy League, Swati Sahni, laughed on the last day when I told her about my initial goal and she responded by saying ‘We could’ve never guessed! You did really great.’ 😂

Overall, I am extremely proud of how much I managed to grasp from those two weeks of leadership development and am already applying it to real life, in areas like football where I require a certain sense of leadership whether it is to coach or to share my ideas on how we could improve our gameplay.

This program has been so effective and such a learning curve for as that the OSC batch in Ivy Girls Lead decided that we wanted to be able provide the same kind of opportunity our OSC student body as well!

Only this time, it will be us mentoring the girls! We felt this might be hugely useful as having gone through middle school myself, I know how difficult it can get for us to stay motivated or to be confident or feel welcome enough to share our own opinions, especially at this age where everyone is trying to figure their own identities out, I know I for one would have benefitted hugely with some time of guidance and support along the way.

And so it has come time that we introduced the new *drumroll please…*  OSC Girls Rise Program!!  We are very much looking foreword to launching the project in the near future where we, the former students will become the next group of mentors! (more on this in the upcoming posts)

Here are a few of my own session notes! Feel free to use them for personal reference, I promise they’re very conveniently useful 🙂 

http://Session Notes:


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