# Generation

We are a movement led and run by a group of young tech-savvy, socially conscious Sri Lankans advocating for the meaningful civic and political participation of youth, especially young women and young people from minority groups

OUR STORY

We adopt a non-partisan approach, and work with a strong conviction that decision making processes at all levels should remain transparent, inclusive and sustainable.

Hashtag Generation is a movement led and run by a group of young tech-savvy, socially conscious Sri Lankans advocating for the meaningful civic and political participation of youth, especially young women and young people from minority groups. The group adopts a non-partisan approach and works with the strong conviction that decision-making at all levels should remain transparent and inclusive and in order to remain sustainable and build lasting peace in Sri Lanka.

Hashtag Generation was founded in June 2015 in order to fill the vacuum that exists in terms of meaningful youth civic and political participation in Sri Lanka. We mobilize social and new media tools to raise awareness and catalyze dialogue on important social issues. Our work has ranged from advocating for youth participation in decision-making, strengthening women’s civic and political engagement, advocacy for the rights of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities and raising awareness on the importance of cyber security and countering misinformation and online hate speech.

Today Hashtag Generation is a registered nonprofit in Sri Lanka steering many offline and online campaigns.

Promoting Civic Consciousness

We strive for a civically aware and responsible society where citizens are active participants in the making of the decisions that affect them.

Advocating for an Inclusive Society

We stand for a society that is open and inclusive to all irrespective of divisions such as age, class, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality or disability.

Driving Accountability

We strive to ensure that communities have the skills, information and tools to hold their decision-makers to account.

Our Team

Senel Wanniarachchi has a B.A. (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Colombo and an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science where he was a Chevening Scholar.
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Senel Wanniarachchi

Mahishaa Balraj is the Co-Founder of Hashtag Generation and was one of the two youth delegates from Sri Lanka to the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Mahishaa graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of London, UK and also holds a Bachelor’s in Electronics and Communication Engineering from College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University, Chennai, India.
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Mahishaa Balraj

Jayathma was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action.
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Jayathma Wickramanayake

Late Mr. Adhil Bakeer Markar completed his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London and entered the Sri Lanka Law College where he passed out as an Attorney-at-law.
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Adhil Bakeer Markar

Senel Wanniarachchi

Senel Wanniarachchi has a B.A. (Hons) in International Relations from the University of Colombo and an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science where he was a Chevening Scholar. He also followed the Leading Change course at the University of Cambridge.

In 2017 he received a medal from Queen Elizabeth the 2nd for this work on using social media tools to empower young people. In 2018 he co-authored a book titled ‘Montage of Sexuality in Sri Lanka’ which was published by the United Nations Population Fund & the Sri Lanka College of Community Physicians. In 2014 he was one of the two Sri Lankan Youth Delegates to the United Nations.

He was also a member of the Sri Lanka Youth Parliament. He has worked with the United Nations Development Programme, the Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka.

Mahishaa Balraaj

Mahishaa Balraj is the Co-Founder of Hashtag Generation and was one of the two youth delegates from Sri Lanka to the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Mahishaa graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of London, UK and also holds a Bachelor’s in Electronics and Communication Engineering from College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University, Chennai, India.

Mahishaa, an Attorney-at-Law is currently involved in litigation – Human Rights Law, Family Law and Administrative Law. She also works with organisations and networks across the country to seek redress for rights violations and to advocate for law and policy reform.

She was also designated as Country Representative for Ashoka in Sri Lanka and leads the Youth Venture program which activates youth as changemakers by working with diverse stakeholders including, educators, schools, parents, and companies to create an environment where young people can lead and practice the core ‘changemaker skills’.

Jayathma

Jayathma Wickramanayake

Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.

Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.

Adhil (1)

Aadhil Bakeer Markar

Late Mr. Adhil Bakeer Markar  completed his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London and entered the Sri Lanka Law College where he passed out as an Attorney-at-law. He was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship and was selected to pursue his MSc in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science in September 2016.

He was selected as one of the two official youth delegates to represent Sri Lanka at the 68th United Nations General Assembly in 2013. He was President of the Rotaract club of Colombo North and was also the club’s International Understanding Director.

He was also the Founder Secretary-General of the Youth Model United Nations, 2011. In 2015 Adhil was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Youth Services Council of Sri Lanka. At the age of 26, a month into his MSc programme, left this world on the 12th of October 2016.