Kavindya Thennakoon

Jun 21 2016. view 1808

Buzz!!!! With Danu - Kavindya Thennakoon 

Today on the Buzz, I speak to a HI!! cover girl, who is a true example to the youth of Sri Lanka, with her ever so positive outlook to life. I have admired and looked up to her with the work she does for years now, and what's more beautiful is the fact that she is still a simple girl, who loves her Little Red Dress! She is the Co-Founder of Without Borders - a youth-led social enterprise focusing on sustainable development models. She also works for the Program for the Protection of Public Resources of Transparency International Sri Lanka, and was the Ex-Adviser on Gender for the UN Youth Advisory Panel. 

Today she speaks about what inspires her. 

Full Name - Kavindya Thennakoon 

Hometown - Kandy/Deraniyagala 

Status - Taken 

Birthday - October 15, 1995 

Idols - My mother, father and Ms. Marlyn Dissanayake 

Passions - Help people become their best 

Favourite Colour - Sea blue 

Favourite Cartoon - Franklin  

Are you happy with your life? 

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for. 

What’s new for 2016? 

We have some exciting new plans lined up for Without Borders, and besides that this year I made a major shift in my academic track from Economics to Anthropology so 2016 will be an exciting one. 

What made you start Without Borders? 

After I was done with school, I moved back to Deraniyagala (my mother’s ancestral home). Going back, I saw a significant gap between myself and others my age, and they were much more talented, resilient and hardworking than I could ever be. The issue was nothing but connectivity. Connectivity to opportunities and to an education that empowers and transforms. Without Borders was born to do just that, to empower people to become their best. 

What are your thoughts on the country today? 

There is so much left to be done, but we’re making progress. Sri Lanka is blessed with a committed civil society who’ve continued to exert pressure. Our biggest weakness is the lack of driven leaders who put the country’s interests above the rest. 

Tell me about your family. 

I was born to two incredible parents who’ve both had such compelling life stories. My father was the chief jailor of the Welikada prison when he was brutally murdered by the underworld for his valiant battle against a thriving drug trade. I was just two when he passed away. My mother is a dancer and a painter and she now runs her own business. She has braved the unthinkable for the past 19 years. Both of them taught me that you needn’t be rich or powerful to make a difference in the lives of others and I’ve continued to live by that principle. 

How were you as a kid? 

Ammi says that I was quite talkative and terribly mean. 

As a representative of the youth in Sri Lanka, what changes can make a better Sri Lanka? 

Our education system needs a much needed revamp, with a stronger focus on language, leadership and digital literacy along with the inclusion of topics like sex education and reconciliation. With an education system that is relevant and transformative, Sri Lanka could achieve the unimaginable. 

The biggest challenge in your life? 

Controlling my temper. 

What is one of the things you would put on your bucket list? 

To take an entire year off to just travel, read and reflect. 

What’s your fashion statement? 

I shouldn’t be answering this question. When I was 16, I was asked by a magazine what my favourite designer label was and I took a random name off Google. 

Who knows you the best? 

Ammi, my boyfriend Inesh and my best friend Thilini. 

Do people expect you to be boring, because of the job you do? 

Well, sort of. People sometimes expect you to be serious and rather formal, but it doesn’t work that way. 

Do you have faith in the next generation? Why? 

The young people we work with at Without Borders have never failed to amaze me with their great ideas, passion and hard work. These kids come from families that survive on less than $2 per day, most of them don’t even have a fraction of the things that we take for granted yet they all have such beautiful and giving hearts. I have tremendous faith in them, but when you come towards the more affluent parts in Colombo the story gets slightly skewed. 


If it were possible, what one dead person would you most like to have dinner with? 

My father. 

If Earth could only have one condiment for the rest of time, what would you pick to keep around? 


If you could have been a child prodigy what would you have wanted to be skilled at? 

Singing! I still think I am a great singer, but I am yet to find someone who agrees. 

If you can vote a person in to the parliament now, who would you add? And why? 

Dr. Tissa Jinasena. His business acumen, commitment to service and his focus on education. 

On The Spot 

Your personal opinion of the Prime Minister of this country and his vision for the future? 

I think we need more educated politicians of his calibre. He is a great policy maker but I feel that he could be more connected with the general populace of the country and its ground realities. 

What would you tell the President of Sri Lanka if you met him at the shopping mall? 

I would ask him to make me the Secretary of the Education Department for 6 months. I would also ask him about his opinion on feminism. 

If you were the opposite sex for one day, what’s the first thing you’d do? 

It would probably be just another day. 

Would you enter politics? 


Just For Fun 

What is the worst physical pain you have ever been in? 

I had a half broken toenail after a training session and the doctor pulled it out, mid conversation. 

Tell me your experience in meeting the Queen? 

It was just too surreal. Right before I walked up I felt this amazing sense of pride and gratitude to be representing Sri Lanka, it was a beautiful few minutes. 

In what way are your parents out of date? 

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Ammi is really, REALLY outdated but she is super savvy with her emojis. 

What makes you laugh? 

When people sneeze in funny ways. (I am evil) 

What exotic pet would you like to have? 

A gazella! 

What are your marketable skills? 

Questions like these are the reason why I dread graduation. I have none. 

What single piece of technology makes your life easier? 

Google Calendar. 

What do you miss from your childhood? 

Going to Kandy with Achiamma. 

Pick One! 

Apologize or ask permission? 

Ask permission. 

Unlimited love or money? 

Unlimited love. 

Beach vacation or European vacation? 

European vacation. 

Body wash or soap? 

Body wash. 

Would you rather be twice as smart or twice as happy? 

Twice as happy. 

Giant house in a subdivision or tiny house somewhere with a view? 

A good view over anything.


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