AI Insights

Addressing the Sri Lankan Crisis with AI – by Omdena Chapter Lead Vidura Wijekoon

September 22, 2022

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Vidura Wijekoon from Sri Lanka completed several Omdena AI Challenges to develop his skills. After successfully completing local chapter challenges from several countries, he became one of Omdena’s local chapter leads in Sri Lanka to address local problems in his country, using the power of the community.

Why did you join Omdena? 

To make a difference on a global scale, I joined Omdena in 2021, and I have benefited from knowledge acquisition and good networking. From working with 50 collaborators on global challenges to local chapter projects, in the roles of, a lead machine learning engineer and as the Sri Lankan chapter lead, I have contributed on helping people to succeed in their dreams. 

I got to know many friends around the globe on that journey. The goodies I received from Omdena during the engagement supported me in my journey which has been so far-reaching… 

“Omdena really helped to raise the Sri Lankan AI community to another level. It does really make sense!!!”

Vidura Wijekoon

Vidura Wijekoon

How is your experience as a chapter lead? How long have you been in this position?

“Leading a technical community for a great purpose has been a life-changing moment for me for the last 14 months.” 

This chance has allowed me to help many people on my end. As I have been appointed as one of the Sri Lankan Chapter Leads, it has really helped me to learn a lot of things and teach to the people. Throughout the Sri Lanka chapter, two major chapter challenges were successfully conducted, and the third national project is happening right now: Implementation of an AI-powered Chatbot to Help with the General Mental Hygiene. Apart from that many technical webinars and mentoring sessions for Omdena School and AI freshers have been conducted so far.

Going through an end-end pipeline of an AI-related project is so much fun and motivates me to work harder in the most interesting part of it. Apart from that, I like to share my knowledge with team members. As an Omdena community collaborator, I have taken part in local chapter challenges from other countries. I also participated in Omdena AI Challenges as a junior and a lead machine learning engineer. 

Why is the Omdena experience different from others?

I have a lot of experience from project engagement in schools, universities, and companies throughout my career. Mostly, about 90% of the projects, I usually work with the local community. Almost two years of my experience with Omdena have helped me to engage with the overseas AI community and do projects with them. 

“Actually it has been a great experience that allows me to understand lots of new things in the AI field and the path that the world is following. It helps me to look at AI from different perspectives.”

What was the best experience you have ever had?

The best experience I have had in my career path with Omdena is that I have been able to be a part of two projects which interest me the most. They are the following two projects, first, Building a Recommendation Engine for Energy Sustainability hosted by Omdena and Retrolux, and second Building Renewable Energy Map Project hosted by the Omdena Tunisia chapter. These projects actually tested my artificial intelligence knowledge plus energy and power sector knowledge. 

What was the most shocking experience or surprising moment you discovered while being a lead?

The most frequent happiest thing I have experienced in my career is that some of the AI freshers who have been mentored by me have been able to get good internships or jobs at reputed companies in both AI and the energy sector.

What is the local impact of the Omdena Sri Lanka local chapter? 

The local impact is very promising and effective in Sri Lanka since the Omdena Sri Lanka chapter is able to awaken and push many beginners toward the AI field. When challenges or a webinar happens, university and school students, AI experts, as well as people from other sectors participate.

What is the situation in Sri Lanka? How can we help?

Currently, Sri Lanka is facing an economic crisis along with political instability. Due to peaceful protests happening in Sri Lanka, we all are wishing good things may happen in our future. As Sri Lankans, we are trying to create a system that relies on regulations and policies rather than people. So, also on my end, I am trying to give my fullest support to the education sector by learning, and teaching others. Like that, we think we can achieve a good stable future in Sri Lanka soon.

Vidura Wijekoon

Vidura Wijekoon

Ready to test your skills?

If you’re interested in collaborating, apply to join an Omdena project at:

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