“Joy to the world” is what Christmas brings as per the famous Christmas carol. It is truly one of the most fascinating times of the year, loved and celebrated with great enthusiasm by the people all over the world. Even though we celebrate this festive season with our loved ones, there are people among us who aren’t fortunate enough to share that joy. Therefore, Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School came up with an initiative “A million smiles” with the intention of putting a smile on the less fortunate during Christmas.
Our community service directors, Rtr. Bipash and Rtr. Hasitha together with the club members planned out the day to spend time at a children’s home in the morning and at an elders’ home in the evening on the 28th of December 2019. We came up with the idea of making Christmas and New Year cards with the children and giving them to the elders in the evening. Hence, necessary preparations took place during the previous week.
Our day started at Surasa Special Needs and Girls’ Home, Moratuwa. This place was home for around 30 girls of different ages with special needs. We gathered there at around 9 am with color boards, color pencils, stickers and other stationary items. We got together with the girls and spent the entire morning making Christmas and New Year cards with them. The girls engaged in making the cards and coloring them enthusiastically and our club members bonded with them well. We drew pictures of Santa Clauses and Christmas trees on their cards which they enjoyed coloring and decorating with stickers.
After that, the girls took us out to their play ground to play with them. We played ‘musical chairs’ with them and provided them lunch funded by the club afterwards. They were so happy we came to spend time with them and wanted us to visit them again.
The evening session of our day was spent at Methodist Home for Elders, Wellawatta. We went there at around 4.00 pm with an evening snack and the cards we made for them. After their evening tea, we all gathered in the living room and played ‘pillow passing’. Whoever got the pillow either sang a song or shared a fond memory from their childhood. Afterwards, we sang Christmas carols with them and it was one of my favorite moments of the day. Then we gave them the cards we made with the children which they loved. Afterwards we had a chat with them where they shared their thoughts and memories.
So far all of us were having a wonderful day and an incident happened at the elders’ home made it even more special. One of our fellow club members met her long-lost literature teacher from her school, staying at the elders’ home. She was looking for her teacher for a long time and she has seen a name list of the elders at the elders’ home in the morning and wanted to check if it was her and it was! She was so happy to meet her student after so long and gathered us and shared her memories of her times as her teacher; how strict she was and how the students respect her even whenever they see her even after retirement. It was truly a Christmas miracle.
We concluded our day and left there with our hearts full, promising them that we will visit them again. The entire day with the children and the elders was to put a smile on their faces but what we didn’t realize till the end was that it put a smile on our faces as well.
Rtr. Vinuri Ramanayake