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Last updated: 15 November, 2006 - Published 17:59 GMT
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Competition winners offered tour in London
Winning art of the competition
The National winner was Ramdas Ramiah from Upland Tamil Vidyalaya, Peradeniya
“I hope this friendship we built would last longer beyond our stay in London,” comments Madhusha Situmini Jayasinghe, winner of the 2005 National Essay competition.

Situmini and six of her colleagues, from the north and the south, were in London as a part of their prize as winners of the 2005 Arts and Essay competition.

She expressed hope that the friendship built up with the other winners, including those from the north and the east would lead to a long time friendship.

7000 entries

“It is a great opportunity that we could visit London,” says Hasini Viranga Abeywickrama, winner of the English medium essay competition.

Organisers say the eight winners have been selected out of nearly 7000 entries received.

Winning art of the competition
PK Isuru Suren from Thelijjawila Maha Vidyalaya won first place in another category

“It was an unprecedented response,” a statement issued by the organisers said.

Isuru Suren, from Akuressa, said hew witnessed the need for ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka in children’s art submitted for the competition.

The children were given a task to write essays or draw paintings on the “Role of the national leadership in the wake of humanitarian and natural disasters”.

Changing attitudes

The competition was organised by Dialog Telecom in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Open University.

Mohamed Husni, a student from Isipathana Maha Vidyalaya, Colombo, stressed the need for a change of peoples’ attitude in order to develop a better Sri Lanka.

“It is easy to change peoples’ attitude than changing rulers’ attitudes,” he told BBC Sandeshaya at Bush House in London.

The teenagers visited BBC World Service headquarters in London as part of their winning package.

They expressed hope that the competition and the educational trip abroad has helped them gaining experience in determining their future directions.

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