Mandhree Ekanayake


Mandhree takes on senior role with Girl Guides Victoria

Class of 2016 School Captain, Mandhree Ekanayake has been busy since her departure from GVGS. The following is an extract from an article by Liz Melino which was printed in the March 31, 2020 edition of the Shepparton News. It gives some insight as to what she has been up to.

At just 20 years of age, Shepparton’s Mandhree Ekanayake (pictured) is the youngest and first culturally diverse Victorian Girl Guide to hold the role of Assistant State Commissioner. 

After calling the 3rd Shepparton Girl Guides home for nearly 10 years while attending Goulburn Valley Grammar School, Ms Ekanayake is now working to support the State Commissioner’s vision and approach to leadership while living and studying to be a doctor in Melbourne. 

With a strong passion for female empowerment and the role of women, Ms Ekanayake said she loved helping other young women achieve their goals through Guiding. 

‘‘There is something truly special about belonging to an organisation that advocates for young girls and ladies to identify their potential and empower them to access equal opportunities,’’ she said.

‘‘Girl Guides is all about presenting opportunities and empowering girls to say ‘yes’.”

In her new role as assistant state commissioner, Ms Ekanayake hopes to establish a youth forum to provide young girls with a platform to share ideas, along with creating a five- to 10-year advocacy plan to help Guides advocate for issues they are passionate about. 

The role also recently gave her the opportunity to be part of an International Women’s Day panel where she shared her thoughts on providing an environment where young girls can achieve anything. 

The position is initially for a three-year term, and Ms Ekanayake hopes to use that time to inspire young Guides to make a change in the world for the better. 

‘‘For girls and young women to see me, a 20-year-old Sri Lankan woman, as part of the state team would mean they could imagine themselves in similar positions,’’ she said. 

‘‘It would mean that they could dare to dream of themselves in leadership roles regardless of their age or cultural background and that diversity was valued and appreciated within Girl Guides.’’

Guiding goes online 

While the world is currently working to come to terms with the coronavirus pandemic, Mandhree Ekanayake said Girl Guides Victoria was also working to adjust to the change. 

The group made the decision to suspend all activities as of March 14, and since then has been working to ensure youth members and volunteers can stay connected and involved in Guiding while in isolation. 

‘‘Girl Guides Victoria has now gone completely virtual,’’ Ms Ekanayake said. 

‘‘Virtual Girl Guiding provides a space where our youth members can continue to learn valuable life skills, stay connected and be of service to their communities.’’ 

She said Virtual Girl Guiding included Girl Guides TV — a weekly video series released each Sunday, which includes activities focusing on arts, life skills, the outdoors and services. 

It also includes a Girl Guides Hub for youth members and volunteers to connect and share ideas, activities and challenges along with virtual unit meetings which allow for regular unit meetings to take place online. 

Ms Ekanayake said it was great to see the Guiding community stay connected during challenging times. 

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