Poornima Meegammana: Igniting Creative Confidence Through Adobe Youth Voices Scholarships Program
Poornima Meegammana discovered her passion for digital storytelling through the Adobe Youth Voices program. She went on to produce a short film that features children who were forced to serve as soldiers in the Sri Lankan civil war, in order to bring global attention to child soldier rehabilitation. Poornima says that the program has “given [her] global recognition as a creative person,” and she will be using the scholarship funds to “learn filmmaking to help change society.” She is currently attending the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing and is using the skills she gains there to learn how to better market her films.
Adobe launched the Adobe Youth Voices Scholarships program in early 2013 to support the next generation of creative thinkers and propel the future careers of those who create. The scholarship supports up to four years of the recipient’s undergraduate education in a creative field. Fully funded by Adobe, these scholarships are available to students who have participated in Adobe Youth Voices (AYV), the Adobe Foundation’s global philanthropic commitment to ignite creative confidence in youth by empowering them to find their voice and make it heard. AYV empowers youth to develop the skills they need to become active and engaged community members. Since the program’s inception in 2006, Adobe Youth Voices has reached 150,000 youth. The global AYV network currently includes 750 sites and schools in 58 countries. This year, Adobe and IIE are proud to be supporting 25 outstanding students from 13 countries with dreams of pursuing a creative career, including Poornima Meegammana of Pilimatawala, Sri Lanka.
Poornima joined AYV in September 2011, and immediately fell in love with expressing herself through digital media. She credits AYV with showing her that she could be a good filmmaker and storyteller, and her passion for creating films soon had her serving as the Director for several projects. During her final year of the AYV program, she “wanted to create something really good to test [herself] and [her] team.” Says Poornima, “we were born into war,” and although the decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka has now ended, she believes that “the war ended with shadows of fear.” After seeking out stories from youth who had been affected by war, Poornima and her team came across stories of children who had been forced to serve as soldiers. Realizing that these children needed a second chance at life, they created a short film, Child Soldier.
As an active AYV participant, Poornima has been recognized for her outstanding creative projects by winning AYV Aspire Awards for her photo essay,21st Century Girl, her poster campaign,Women Empowerment, and for the YES Film Project, which was created as part ofAYV’s UNICEF Challenge. The YES Film Project involved a plan to expand the Child Soldier short into a longer film, which is now being implemented as Poornima and her team train local youths to be the cast and crew of the film.