Mentors narrative - Lahiru Himesh

I started getting involved with the Mozilla Sri Lanka community when our local community hosted a release party for a new version of the Firefox Browser on the 10th of May, 2014. I did follow some events before but this was my first event where I was more than a spectator. I helped our local Mozilla community to host and also participated in the event as a Speaker.

Attending this event started a fire inside me to contribute more to the Mozilla community and be an active member. I started working with Mozilla Sri Lanka more and more. After the launch of Firefox 29 (Australis)[1], we had more things in the pipeline. We realised as a developing country, we need more guidance and accessibility help to break the digital barrier wall. We started working on revamping website and started publishing blog posts related to Mozilla news. At that time, Sinhala content regarding Mozilla/Firefox and other related services were almost non-existent.

I started getting more involved with the localisation team and started leading the localisation project for Sinhala for Firefox OS which got translated to almost 100% completion. With the Keon devices, with the help of members of our team. Mozilla Sri Lanka started an app development Bootcamp for school students and university students.

With the approach of the FSA program, we begin to expand our reachability into Universities and now have over 15 universities on board with the Mozilla Campus Club program. [2]

With ever-increasing reach, we began advocating about the ever losing privacy on the internet. [3] With many successful outreach programs for both University students and industry professionals, I was able to successfully convey the message that your data is private and you shouldn’t let massive corporations who’re willing to sell your data for penny access to it.

This was the time when I decided to apply for the Reps program. With some difficulties due to various issues, both I and Ruwan was able to join the Mozilla mission as Reps. In March of 2018, I enrolled in the reps program and followed the Mozilla mission as a rep while advocating highly on Privacy and Detoxing yourself from the ever-increasing demand for personal data.

By mentoring Campus Club students and guiding them to organise events, hackathons, and open source projects such as Griffin [4] I learned to listen to others and be open to their ideas. Implementing ideas and iteratively figuring out the best route for success is one of the key things when you’re mentoring someone. I believe with Mozilla Mentorship program and joining as a mentor for that program would allow me the privilege of helping new Mozilla blood and be more active in the reps community. By building a strong culture where everyone helps each other, not just mentors would be the ideal vision for me in the mentoring program. By following the mentorship program, I learned things that need more attention on my part and have been able to fix more of my shortcomings using the course as a guide.