Varuna started schooling at Tissa Vidyalaya in Trincomalee and completed his primary and secondary education at Royal College Colombo in 1989. His leadership, management and communication skills were aptly rewarded when the Prefects’ Council elected him as its Secretary in 1990.
In the same year, having successfully passed TOEFL, SAT (Verbal & Math) and TSWE he gained admission to Southern University and A&M College to follow the nationally accredited B.Arch Program. After a very successful freshman year at SU, he gained admission to LSU – the flagship university in Louisiana with a Non-resident Tuition Waiver Scholarship. Soon he gained admission to the School of Architecture which was a part of the College of Design to continue his architectural studies. Varuna’s interest in architecture was built around his artistic talents, knack for designing and the passion to create monumental structures in the island. However, his very average numerical skills and the mathematical aptitude got in his way as this nationally accredited American architecture degree contrary to its local equivalent involved structures, HVAC, acoustics & illumination and other very technical areas. LSU’s particular program was more commercial building-oriented and far from Varuna’s expectations of going through a residential architecture-oriented program. So, with time and getting deeper in to hard-core subject matter, he began to lose interest in pursuing this degree and felt that he belonged elsewhere.
To compensate for his rapidly decreasing GPA which was once at a peak of 3.6, as a morale booster, he decided to run for the Presidency of LSU’s international student community which equaled the number of Afro-American students. The 1600 foreign students represented over 100 nations and was a significant community there requiring special care, counseling, support and recreational facilities as they were all far away from home in a foreign land. As an international student and later a student worker at the ICC, Varuna felt a huge need to make this community happier and united in order to assure that their needs were met in an organized manner. Representing the Sri Lankan Students’ Association, at the annual elections, he and his team representing all parts of the globe recorded a resounding victory winning 9 out of 10 positions at the ISA and ICC. The only one they lost was due to the absence of one candidate. From the 35 nations that were present recording one of the largest turnovers in the history, Varuna obtained 32 votes and became the youngest ISA/ICC President and the first undergraduate to be so in its 10 year history.
As the President of ISA he also presided over the Governing Council of the International Cultural Center which is a joint university-community initiative in the city of Baton Rouge. Here, at the age of 22 he was leading a voluntary organization with an annual budget of USD 40,000. Within the first 10 months of his tenure, he and his team of very capable students guided and assisted closely by the Full-time Coordinator of ICC, the Faculty Adviser of the ISA and other University Administration, faculty and community members were able to do much for the international student community of LSU. Varuna led the team and fulfilled the delivery of 12 out of 14 election promises and called for an early election 2 months before the scheduled date to make way for another capable team.
His experience at the ISA and ICC reinforced his extra-curricular activities during his high school days back home and prompted him to rethink his planned future professional career. He realized that his extraordinary PR skills, inter-personal skills, campaigning / canvassing / lobbying skills, organizing and event management skills, marketing and promotional skills, exceptional networking abilities and the talent to manage and develop organizations must be put in to good use. He decided that his visualizing and conceptualizing skills should not be restricted just to the drawing board with architectural designs but be used to achieve bigger goals and objectives career-wise, business-wise and otherwise.
Having given-up Architecture, in October 1994 Varuna returned to the island to pursue a career in marketing. Hayleys recruited him as its first End-user Promoter of Conqueror & other AWFP products marking the beginning of his new career.
Since 1995 he has been working in Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Management positions gaining experience in private and entrepreneurial sectors. Amongst his significant achievements was bringing about a Marketing Orientation to companies such as Graphic Systems, Damro and Charter House (Grohe & other prestigious brands).
On the 1st of January 2010 he took up an assignment with the Government of Sri Lanka on a 1 year contract as the Consultant Director of the Special Media Unit (SMU) of the Department of Government Information. Reporting directly to the Director-General of Government Information here he managed the SMU which was in total disarray without a head for 4 months and a clear direction to achieve the objectives of the government. The SMU operated the Official Government News Web Portal and the SMS News Alert Service (operated through Mobitel and Dialog) of News.lk. In addition to being the Director, he also acted as the English Web Editor for 4 months. During his directorship, the SMU was cleaned-up and News.lk was transformed in to a professional government news website with full integrity. On the instructions of the Director-General of Government Information, the first-ever business plan was drafted by him for the continuity and improvement of News.lk and the SMU with a strategic direction.
Earlier in his career, on a part-time basis Varuna worked for 101.7 & 90FM (TNL Radio) – a private English language music channel as one of its News Editors / Readers delivering hourly live news bulletins.
Varuna also possesses substantial compering experience doing events for his own batch at Royal College, Little Einsteins Montessori School, Orit, JAAF and at training / coaching events such as the Leadership Seminar of Dr. Frank Morgan and the Web Seminar of Richard Calkin.
Over the years Varuna has gained experience in language-related specialized tasks listed below;
With his professional and business experience of nearly 20 years in private / government / business sectors and exceptional natural linguistic abilities Varuna has had the reputation to build confidence in subordinates, peers and superiors through the rapid improvement and enhancement of their linguistic and PR skills.
Varuna has the very unique ability to coach people in how to enhance their personalities and image through the elegant usage of language. For this particular task, he undoubtedly stands amongst a unique few in the island who possesses the rare capability of transforming mediocre personalities in to persons with outstanding appeal, linguistic and interpersonal skills.
Varuna’s influence, guidance and mentoring in the area of personality building through the sheer proficiency of the English language has been witnessed wherever he has worked or studied.
Having completed a 3-year stint in the apparel manufacturing industry helping a major contributor with their corporate branding, communications and talent development, Varuna presently works for a small housing construction firm linked to a large industry giant with ICTAD class 1 status. He feels that his passion for architecture is now combined with his marketing skills making him fully capable of finding solutions to construction needs of discerning customers in the island who expect affordability, elegance, quality and timely delivery with their investments.
The EHC or the English Help Club is the result of that wider appeal he has always had to establish a formal forum of English language help seekers in this country to professionally address their individual and collective needs with realistic solutions and reasonable charges. As proficiency in this language is critically important to professionals, executives, managers, academics, artistes and students, this forum will only address their needs as meeting the needs of the entire nation cannot be handled in this forum. However, it is the wish of EHC that similar forums will emerge in the island with sincerity of purpose and much professionalism to help the successive governments to reach their goals and take this island to prosperity allowing all to derive the benefits of development.
Now you may become a member of this unique club to derive unparalleled benefits connected with its prestigious and popular membership.
The aim of EHC is to break the menacing language barrier which has become a stumbling block to the personal and professional development of very many exceptionally talented clever individuals who are more often made to fail due to their low English language proficiency. As the government of Sri Lanka has opened doors to all talented and skilled citizens to contribute to the nation building exercise, EHC feels it is the duty of all private sector organizations and entrepreneurial establishments to contribute to this collective desire of building an educated, well-informed and eloquent nation beaming with millions of progressive stakeholders sharing the joy of a nation’s success.
In a nation plagued by colonialism (not forgetting all the positives of it as well) where a sound personality is widely equaled to English language proficiency of an individual, Varuna firmly believes that forums such as the EHC can not only build those lacking skills but also help the nation to focus more on culture, ethics, values, decorum, etiquette and morals when a massive development drive is currently overshadowing such decencies which need to be prevalent in socially and economically developed countries.
Otherwise, the ‘Development’ would only confine to buildings, roads, parks, facilities, infrastructure and all the fancies we could ever dream of devoid of humanity. Hence, EHC’s main aim is to develop Humanity through language proficiency and firmly believes that this is a realistic ambition.
Varuna with the CELTA Intensive Course participants and tutors in August 2015
To enhance our service, two new CELTA qualified English trainers have joined EHC whilst Varuna himself has become a candidate to pursue this very unique globally recognized teaching qualification offered by University of Cambridge through the British Council in Colombo.
International Baccalaureate Diploma, CELTA (U.K)
Achala is an ESL Teacher and Management / Business Development Consultant with work experience in both Japan and Sri Lanka. Having been born in Saudi Arabia and lived in Canada, he is exposed to diverse cultures giving him an edge in working with very different people who have the common objective of learning skills empowering them to become successful in any corner of the globe.
Recently, his professional standing got an immediate boost when he successfully conquered the 25-day intensive CELTA course offered in Sri Lanka by the British Council by becoming a Cambridge certified English Teacher. It enables him to offer his services to a wider spectrum of learners spread in the island and beyond shores.
EHC is proud to have him on board to strengthen its clear resolve to bring communities together by bridging the wide communication gap through English - the global language.
ATCL, International Baccalaureate Diploma, CELTA (U.K)
Shiwanthi is an ESL Teacher and a Radio Host working for a prestigious channel in the island. She has schooling experience in both Colombo and Bangalore and was exposed to various cultures from an early age.
Her work experience in Media, PR, Events, Advertising, Marketing, News and Broadcasting in both Sri Lanka and Dubai (U.A.E) has enabled her to understand diverse cultures and work with different people to bring out their best potential. Her corporate work experience gives her an edge in both her teaching and RP careers.
She was one of the 10 who were trained by the British Council in the recent intensive course to obtain the Cambridge University certification as a CELTA qualified ESL teacher.
EHC plans to reinforce its service offering to young as well as older learners by utilizing her expertise to accomplish its goal of making learning of English easier.
Let us together make EHC the largest forum for English Language Help in the island!