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13th Installation Ceremony of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School

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The Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School transitioned to yet another glorious year with their 13th Installation Ceremony. This marked an unforgettable day in the calendar of RACALBS, as the newly appointed board of officials began their year of “Redefining a Legacy”.

The ceremony was a sight to see! The path leading to the stage was illuminated with jars of flowers and fairy lights, and the event begun with the lighting of the oil lamp decorated beautifully by the incoming board members.

Lightning Oil Lamp

The outgoing president Rtr. Bipash Suriyage called the ceremony to order, followed by the National Anthem, Rotaract Formalities, and welcome address by the project chairpersons Rtr. Seshan Kingsley and Rtr. Zulfiquar Aysha.

Next, the guests got a glimpse into the club’s amazing journey throughout the past year with the secretary’s report presented by Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda.

Then came the time for the outgoing president to address the gathering one last time.

Past President’s Speech

In his speech, Rtr. Bipash fondly reminisced his year as president. After presenting tokens of appreciation and certificates to several dignitaries and his board of directors, Rtr. Bipash received a token from his board members.

It was finally time to introduce the incoming president of the club, Rtr. Sandithi Jagoda, who was collared as the 13th President of RACALBS!

Collaring 13th President of Rotaract Achievers

Rtr. Sandithi addressed the gathering as the newly appointed president, following which she inducted her new board of directors.

13th President’s Speech
President, Secretary and the Board of Directors for the years 2022-2023

District Rotaract Representative Rtn. Rtr. PP Ahamed Hussain, District Rotaract Chair Rtn. PP Farzana Khan, and Chief Guest and President of the Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town Rtn. Dhamitha Pathirana then took the stage to address the audience.

DRR’s Speech

Rtr. Sandithi then presented tokens to several dignitaries, followed by felicitations and the vote of thanks delivered by the newly appointed secretary Rtr. Vinuri Ramanayake.

Secretary’s vote of thanks

The event ended with a beautiful rendition of ‘Master Sir’ by directors Rtr. Mahira Dissanayake and Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi, with Rtr. Sandithi terminating the 13th Installation Ceremony of RACALBS.

Performance by Rtr.Hiruni and Rtr.Mahira

Written by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi

Photographs courtesy of Charaka Welihinda Photography

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Why is fashion important in our life?

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Although we are all destined to live on this planet, how we live does make a difference. We prefer to look the best and dress according to fashion. The purpose of life gets enhanced by fashion, and it updates us about current trends. Before getting to know a person, the first impression we notice is how they dress and look. Therefore, it can be stated that fashion is a silent language.

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of life”

– Bill Cunningham

Meaning of Fashion

Our level of life is raised and improved through fashion. The way we act, the technology we use, and everything else we pick are all based on current trends.

Have you ever considered where we spend the majority of our earnings? Most of our income is spent on fashion-related expenses such as shopping, branded things, and eating out. The majority of us are not going to think of dining outdoors as a part of fashion, but it is. Starting from scratch, up until it gets served to customers, the entire process of the food-making and dining experience is an art. When it comes to outdoor dining, the expansion of food trucks along the roadways is a reflection of the growing trend of eating from mobile kitchens. 

Fashion goes hand in hand with the food industry when the customers bring value to it. A great example would be, having fun in the great outdoors and uploading images, and videos on social media. This builds social media trends and marketing standards to promote businesses and much more.

The need to keep up with the latest styles and trends in fashion is what usually drives many of us to work harder and earn more money. Fashion allows us to conceal our physical defects and seem more appealing, boosting our self-actualization and confidence.

Additionally, we can argue that fashion plays a significant part in the generation gap. If we were to look at old photographs of our parents and grandparents, we would notice that they all used to dress differently. They had various hairstyles and chose different colors and shoes. All these are according to the trends and social acceptances of the time.

“Fashion is about something that comes from within you”

– Ralph Lauren

We should acknowledge that fashion is a significant aspect of life that cannot be ignored. It is something that connects you to society is fashion. For instance, the once-famous tech giant Nokia collapsed because it failed to innovate in line with the trend, although its competitors did with rapid adaptability. In the information and technology field, Apple company made sure to set technological trends and standards. It resulted in them having the highest long-term customer base in the market. The Apple company became globally famous because of their insightfulness and detail in their product with impeccable customer satisfaction.

Fashion nowadays plays a significant role in people’s lives. It now serves as a means of expression. It never fails to draw attention and is accessible to everyone, regardless of age. Do not slow down no matter how old you are; instead, enjoy every moment to the utmost.

Written by: Rtr. Ashfaq Ahamed

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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Success & Failure

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“Success is Not Final; Failure is Not Fatal: It is the Courage to Continue that Counts”

Different people interpret success in many different ways. For some it may be having a multi-storied house, driving the most expensive car, having a six-figure in your bank or it may be even having a beautiful family. Despite success in that a very opinioned definition, people often struggle in reaching the “success” they give opinions to because all humans are never content when satisfying their wants. But the fact that people miss out on is that without failure there is no success. We are often scared to fail, scared to take a risk, and scared to make a big step but it’s the courage to hold on Despite our fear of failure, it keeps us going. We often look at failure on a negative aspect rather than looking into the silver lining of the dark cloud.

Moving towards the idea we call success, requires a lot of hard work, consistency, discipline, endurance, and most importantly the quality to enjoy the journey despite the pain and hardships that come our way. It is always hard to start, harder to keep moving, and even harder to finish. However, often when things get hard, we tend to quit, we feel it is too much, and we feel tired but we always need to remember that a quitter never wins and a winner never quits. It’s a deliberate choice we need to make to put in the work, and make sacrifices on the things we love and enjoy the most, like our sleep, our eating patterns our idling hours for a temporary time to reach a permanent freedom awaiting the other side of the line. People are often lazy to do so. They feel that running on the infinity loop is okay to do because everyone does it, but if it’s easy, everyone would be doing it and, that’s why the person who wakes up with a strong determination, makes that hard decision, stands above the average than the many others who run on the infinity loop.

Throughout the journey people will try to bring us down and, more than others it is sometimes our mind that brings us down by filling the energy inside of us with negativity and downfall. Rather than admiring the success of another person and speaking about their journey, we must make it a point to create our own success story making it a beautiful one for many to read and to be inspired. After all, there is a difference between a person that works eighteen hours a day and sleeps eighteen hours a day.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.”

— Admiral William H. McCraven

Sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way. We are all born with the potential to change the world but it’s that we haven’t found a purpose or the eagerness to unlock the potential. Sometimes we think it’s about making a big move at once, opening a big company at once, or driving a luxury car at once but good things take time. Even little things like making your bed every morning can add a positive attitude to your day, giving you a sense of pride that you have achieved something small.

“Great successes come through great failures”

If not for Michael Jordan not being chosen to his high school basketball team, if not for Walt Disney being told he “lacked creativity,” if not for Abraham Lincoln being rejected many times to enter politics, if not for Oprah Winfrey being told she was “unfit for TV” they wouldn’t be the people that they are today, whom we admire, love and respect a lot. If it wasn’t for their failures there wouldn’t be such a major success. The most successful stories are the ones that have the most bitter-sweet failures. So, when failure knocks you down make sure to pat yourself on the back and remember you have a purpose, and most importantly remember why you started.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

Written by: Rtr. Gavin Dias

Edited by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

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Our Projects

All About Jumpstart 2022

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Jumpstart was launched as a signature project of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School under the Professional Development avenue, for students to get corporate exposure and jumpstart their professional careers. Over time, it modified into a platform that gives aspiring entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka the opportunity to kickstart their entrepreneurial journeys. Since its inception in 2017, Jumpstart has undergone multiple exhilarating changes that have opened up countless opportunities for its participants and substantially enhanced their professional lives.

If you are someone that wishes to become a successful entrepreneur with a business idea that could change the course of history but feels you don’t have the necessary skills or understanding of startups, then Jumpstart is the ideal place for you!

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Jumpstart 2022!

This year’s theme for Jumpstart is ‘Empower, Embolden, Emblaze’, which perfectly sums up our aim to empower aspiring entrepreneurs to step up to the challenge, embolden them with all the tools and skills necessary to take their first steps, and help emblaze their entrepreneurial journey.

Jumpstart 2022 will happen under three categories:

  1. Boardroom Challenge 
  2. Pitch It! Win It!
  3. Shark Tank
The 3 phases of Jumpstart 2022

Introduction session

An introduction session will be held at the start of the event to make potential participants aware of why they should participate in Jumpstart this year.

Boardroom Challenge

This challenge is aimed at students of Achievers Lanka Business School, where they can prop their ideas and learn through trial by analysing companies. The students will be divided into teams and instructed to run a case study on the standards provided. Ultimately, they will dispense the information gathered by presentations to a panel of judges on preset criteria.

Pitch It! Win It!

A platform where entrepreneurs and idea wizards may present their business ideas to a panel of judges and compete for huge prizes to jumpstart their venture. All Pitch It! Win It! contestants are required to attend a number of workshops tailored to improve their performance in the preliminary round.

Workshop Series

A series of workshops will be organised, which aims to inform participants about several important aspects that should be taken into account when developing their business ideas and ultimately experiencing success. These seminars will be crucial in helping the participants get ready and equipped since they will provide them with a general understanding of entrepreneurship, starting with the fundamentals, and help them prepare the best possible pitch for Pitch It! Win It!

The series will be comprised of the following workshops:

  1. Problem Identification: 25th November
  2. Business Canvas Model: 1st December
  3. Finance and Bookkeeping: 6th December 
  4. Intellectual Property Rights & Data Protection for Startups: 8th December
  5. Digital Marketing
  6. Preparing a Proper Business Plan
  7. Pitch Perfect

Prior to the Preliminary Round, the contestants will get a fantastic opportunity to advance their skills through the workshop series, and all the Pitch it! Win it! contestants are encouraged to participate in them.

Preliminary Round

The participants will pitch their business ideas at the Pitch It! Win It! – Preliminary Round after the workshop series. The choice of using Sinhala, Tamil, or English for their presentations is up to the participants. Translators can be arranged for participants that require them with prior notice to the organisers. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A session with the judges. The participants will be quizzed on topics including the application, viability, return on investment, etc. of their business ideas. The teams with the most creative business ideas will move on to the Finale.

If chosen for the finals, each finalist will also be assigned a mentor who will aid them in getting ready for the Finale.

Grand Finale

The Pitch It! Win It! – Grand Finale will feature the Preliminary Round finalists. Each team will be given assignments to evaluate their capabilities in various areas, including strategic thinking and decision-making. After the Preliminary Round, details on the Finale’s specific format will be released.

The top three Pitch It! Win It! teams will each receive prizes that will help them grow their companies. Prizes worth LKR 100,000 will be given to the winners in this category, including co-working spaces, IT solutions, HR solutions, portfolio solutions, web hosting, and mentoring.

Registrations for Pitch It! Win It! will be open real soon!

Shark Tank

This will be a networking event, done in the guise of a competition, where growth-stage startups will be able to meet with potential investors from a variety of industries who might be interested in providing them with capital in exchange for a return for equity in their companies. This category is for people or groups who run growing businesses.

After enrolling, contestants will be asked to present an overview of their startup based on the following criteria as part of the selection process for this category:

  1. Existing revenue generation
  2. Scalability
  3. Profitability/impact
  4. Business Model
  5. Traction

After several rounds of discussions, the chosen individuals or teams will get the chance to pitch their business to potential investors. The participants will receive professional advice from potential investors, and a chosen number of businesses will get the opportunity to participate in advanced incubation or acceleration programs, which could eventually lead to potential investments. Additionally, they will gain from the opportunity to forge enduring relationships with customers.

Registrations for Shark Tank will be opening after the Workshop Series!

If you are an ideator or an entrepreneur, Jumpstart 2022 is not an opportunity you want to miss. Stay connected with the social media pages of Jumpstart by the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School for more information!

Written by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi & Rtr. Himaki Mendis

Edited by: Rtr. Vinuri Ramanayake

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FeaturedGeneralGrowth Hacks

Gender Equality

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Before we understand the concept of gender equality, we need to ensure that we have a fundamental idea of what equality means. Making sure that each individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, despite the major demographic factors inclusive of religion, race, and gender, is considered to be one of the most essential factors required to ensure that equality among the cultures or sexes is nurtured. Gender equality is a human right that expects all genders to be provided with equal chances and opportunities in all aspects.

Dating back to when women were only expected to engage in domestic duties, it is evident that they were viewed as the weaker part of the community. Their opinions were often neglected when it comes to making certain decisions due to the common practice of relying on men for financial support.

Due to societal norms around the world, the majority expects women to be patient and soft. They are working for the “man that provides for the family”. Upon review, it can be stated that being born as a female is considered an offense in some parts of the world, taking into consideration the fact that the mother is blamed by those who have not been educated from a biological standpoint, about the said “mishap”.

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

– Emma Watson

Other than these two genders, the different genders such as non-binary, transgender, etc. have been going through many hardships for a very long time. They were not even treated and accepted as a part of society for years. And they still find it challenging to live a simple everyday life. History shows us enough evidence that society has never been fair to them. Although we can see the state of acceptance by society, and the improvement of people’s attitudes towards them, they continue to face exclusion and discrimination. These occur in the industries such as education, employment, and health care – as well as within homes and communities. And many were harassed, beaten, sexually assaulted, tortured, and killed.

We can start attaining Gender equality from the smallest part of the community, which is home. We can begin by accepting them, showing respect, and cooperating. Parents have the habit of providing pink to girls and blue to boys, buying cars and gun toys for the boys and dolls and kitchen sets for the girls. As parents, we should encourage our children to respect their differences and give them a proper environment to grow, learn, preserve and be non-biased about their choice of colors, toys, and games. Whatever a child sees and learns in childhood will be reflected when they become adults. Children pick up knowledge and are influenced by what they see and hear from others. They frequently mimic people they observe in books, movies, and their environment. So, the lesser the gender prejudice mannerisms in any characters portrayed in the media, the better environment is provided to the children to absorb equality.

Gender equality in education is crucial because it has a huge impact on children. Giving unbiased examples, including all students in courses, having comprehensive sex education programs, and supplying adequate sanitation facilities should be maintained. Due to inadequate school facilities, reports show that many females drop out of school.

When it comes to the work environment, giving women and men the same respect is the first step in the practice of gender equality. Equal possibilities for promotion must exist to ensure better equality in the work culture.

Equal participation by all genders in decision-making, household tasks, and care needs to be encouraged. Everyone must be treated with respect and on an equal footing. As gender equality improves the safety and health of our communities, promoting gender equality can result in a more peaceful society. Involving women and gender-diverse groups in all decision-making processes can lead to sustainable peace in the long run.

Written by: Rtr. Divani Canisius

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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FeaturedGeneralJoint Projects

Blind Walk

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“There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.”

-Helen Keller

Blind Walk is an initiative commemorating World Sight Day on the 2nd Thursday of the month of October, making it the largest eye donation campaign in the world; to create awareness about blindness, raise funds to support the community, and raise pledges for eye donation. What started with three Blind Walks in 2014 has developed into a global program involving 55 locations in five countries in 2016. World Sight Day is an International Day of Awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October. World Sight Day is a reminder to you, to love your eyes. World Sight Day is an opportunity to focus the world’s attention on eye health as a global issue, raises awareness of eye health amongst individuals, families, and communities, and is a platform to influence decision-makers to prioritize eye health initiatives and help activate demand for eye health services globally.

Living with the invisible is not easy, the people who are blind, have a lot of limitations in their life. There are difficulties in work and living in society. They cannot drive and work in a career that requires their eyes to be important. Some people who are acquired blind, might still not accept their status, feel sadness, and fear, and cannot take care of themselves. Visually impaired people have a harder time of life than normal eye people. The striking experience of Blind Walk is that a visually normal person is blindfolded and led along a 1 to 1.5km route, which is utterly in the darkness on the road for an hour. This will give the feeling of being visually impaired and to understand the darkness of their world. The objective of Blind walk is to increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and improved quality of life, for all blind and visually-impaired people.

The Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town along with the Rotaract clubs of Achievers Lanka Business School, Australian College of Business and Technology, Colombo Mid Town, and University of Colombo Faculty of Management and Finance join together to organize the BLINDWALK in Sri Lanka. Blind Walk is an award-winning project initiated with the aim of alleviating the plight of the visually impaired. However, the Blind Walk 2021 was held virtually with a Talk Show and an open mic night due to the pandemic. Last Year a blind challenge was held among the Rotaractors to experience the hardness of doing daily activities with a blindfold. Dr. Vasuki Gurusamy, a consultant Eye Surgeon from The Kalubowila Teaching Hospital was the guest speaker on the Talk show and she gave an insightful view on Blindness and its reasons. Blind Walk 2022 is going to be held for the sixth time, and this year in a different way including the walk and a carnival.

The Blind Walk 2022 is planned such that it reaches more audiences than before. This year’s Blind Walk will witness the walk and a carnival happening on the 22nd of October 2022 at Viharamahadevi Open Air Theatre Car Park. The theme of the walk this year will be “Walk for light, in sight” and it aims to promote pledges for eye donation, collect funds to support the visually impaired, and provide them with an opportunity to reveal their talents in the open mic night. The walk will start from Viharamahadevi park at 3 p.m. and let a normal person blindfolded and led by a visually impaired person to an extent of a 1.5 km route. Then it will be followed by a fun-filled Carnival. This will consist of various types of stalls and DJs where the members of Rotaract and a few visually impaired people will perform on the stage. After 2 years of virtual sessions, The Blind Walk 2022 welcomes you all to get the real feeling of Blind Walk.

Let’s join together and get a wholesome feeling of lighting up the darkness in someone’s life!

Written by: Rtr. Ramajini Gnanasuthan

Edited by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

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FeaturedGeneral

Our Planet, Our Future

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Planet Earth supports the life of more than 8.7 million species, resulting in a rich Biodiversity. However, it is sad to see how Earth is currently experiencing extreme degradation by mankind, which has led to unprecedented climate change. The main cause for this is the extensive pollution due to growing population and industrialization. Pollution is the process in which undesirable toxic contaminants such as Air, Water and Soil contaminate our environment. This has led to sudden changes in the Ecosystem such as Global warming, which directly and indirectly leaves adverse effects on the lives of human beings, animals, and plants.

The question is, ‘How are we going to overcome this tragedy?’ Since our Childhood we wrote various essays about reducing pollution and preserving our environment. But did we mean every word we mentioned? Today, as teenagers and adults, have we put all that into practice to protect mother nature? Have we set an example to the younger generation through our actions? Just as the famous saying tells us “What goes around comes around’’, if we don’t take correct action against this, we will
have to face the consequences, if not immediately, at least some time later.

“Going Green” is a term used for the conservation of energy and preservation of the environment. Facing environmental hazards of pollution like global warming, citizens from every part of the world
are doing their contributions to lessen the emissions of greenhouse gases. A world agreement like the Kyoto Protocol is one of the manifestations that show that the world is serious about preserving the environment for future generations.

How can we really make a change?

Can we make a change? The answer is yes, but needless to say we have to put in effort. It all starts small, from our own home and daily routine, extending to things like Awareness programs and simple initiatives. Single-Use plastic, Preserving Fresh water and Reducing Consumption of Animal Protein are few examples to avoid this situation. The 3R Initiative is one of the most effective and efficient ways to reduce the pollution Footprint or by simple meaning, help cut down on the amount of waste we throw away.

Reduce

The best way to manage waste is not to produce it. This can be done by shopping carefully and being aware of a few guidelines such as purchasing products as bulked items. Larger economy sizes use less packaging and usually cost less per ounce. Reducing Disposable goods and using reusable items such as Cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, and Dish Cloth instead of paper towels could be small ways to reduce wastage.

Reuse

It makes economic and environmental sense to reuse products. Sometimes it takes creativity. Similar to the concept of reducing, reusing products for the same purpose, or reusing products for different needs can reduce global harm in unexpected ways. For example, supermarkets giving a small discount for customers that bring a cloth bag instead of using plastic bag, can drastically motivates the customer to be concerned about the environment.

Recycle

Recycling is a series of steps that takes a used material and processes, re manufactures, and sells it as a new product. Begin recycling at home and work. Buy products made from recycled materials. Look for the recycling symbols or ask store managers or salesmen to help you. The recycling symbol means one of the two things; either the product is made of recycled material, or the item can be recycled.

 
Water plays an important role in ecological systems, and is an indispensable component of human lives. As open environmental spaces, rivers are more likely to be polluted. This issue has received a great deal of attention, because concentrations of heavy metals in rivers continue to rise above the regional background value under constant anthropocentric disturbances, and has caused potential impacts on human health and ecological balance. For the ocean to thrive, we must look to the sources that feed it; our rivers. Rivers are the arteries of our blue planet but are treated like open sewers. Only 14% meet good ecological status and 3 in 4 poses a serious risk to human health. We could make a change. The petition to have 200 River Bathing Waters by 2030 to help #EndSewagePollution is a timely example.

A bit on the Contrary

Did you know that Air Pollution actually helps plants to grow faster? Researches have found that pollution allows the sunlight to scatter, allowing more plants to be in the shade. As a result of this, plants absorb Carbon dioxide more efficiently under polluted skies than under clean skies. It has also been found that this polluted air blocks in coming solar radiation, making the plant temporarily cooler. The Earth would actually be 0.5 – 1.1 degrees warmer if not for the polluted gases.

A take home

However, these fun facts work only for a small percentage. If we conclude and ask if pollution is Good or Bad, the simple answer is YES, it’s bad. Air pollution specifically increases the risk of respiratory infection, heart
Diseases, strokes, Lung Cancer, and more severely affect people who are already ill. Children, elderly individuals and people in low-income neighborhoods experience disproportionate health effects from air pollution. The effects of long-term exposure to lower concentrations of air pollutants could be more damaging to public health than short-term exposure to higher concentrations. For this reason alone, local authorities should take action to assess and improve local air quality. It is not advisable to wait for an episode of severe air pollution and then try to deal with its effects.
 
In conclusion, Environmental pollution has become a big concern when talking about saving the planet. To create the clean and healthy planet that we long, we need to adapt to various measures in order to reduce environmental pollution. Some of them include planting trees, reducing the use of non-renewable resources and proper disposal of waste. It is the responsibility of every individual, you and I, to save our environment from getting polluted. It is the responsibility of every individual to be an example to the younger generation. If we do so, together we can create a greener planet, a better future.

Rtr.

Written by: Rtr. Saabith Sabry

Edited by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi

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FeaturedOur Projects

SNEHA – We Rise by Lifting Others!!

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Teaching is more than imparting knowledge, it is inspiring change. Learning – is more than absorbing facts it is acquiring understanding.

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Education is the most important gift a child could be presented with, and we must help underprivileged kids so that they can also acquire the necessary skills, knowledge, and intelligence and grow to become triumphant human beings.

The Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School initiated a project targeting young children of the slum area of Koombi Kale in Kirulapone. It mainly focuses on educating the underprivileged students in this area, and this project commenced in October 2019.

After I was appointed as the Community Service Director of the club, Sneha was my first project, handed over by our President Rtr. Bipash Suriyage (Rtr. Year-21/22). This project has been considered one of the signature projects of our club. I was so excited to involve myself in this project. I felt that this was a great opportunity for me to acquire and learn more skills and knowledge from these young souls and also be made aware of the area that these children were brought up in and the activities that were conducted by Reverend Ashen to support the families who lived there. Along with the support and guidance from Reverend Ashen, this project was conducted for the 4th consecutive year. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we couldn’t conduct physical classes, but still, we had plans to conduct virtual classes for these kids every day. Most of our club members volunteered as mentors and teachers, and they were involved happily and helped these children in their studies. Therefore, every day each volunteer conducted classes for each student via Zoom with different time slots to provide them with the most competent teaching they can contribute. The majority of the children actively joined all the classes, and all students became favorites for our volunteers in the club.

All these students were very smart, eager to study, and punctual for all the classes. My team and I were very glad about the response and improvement reflected by our students and that motivated us to do more classes for them and help them in a small way for them to shine like stars in the future. Mathematics, Science, English, Business Studies and Accounting, Sinhala, and IT are the subjects we taught for grades 6 to 11 in all three mediums (English, Sinhala, and Tamil).

These young little hearts are also a part of a group called “Empowered Rangers”, where many exhilarating and thriving group activities take place. This was fully organized by Pastor Ashen and he commits full time to improving skills such as communication and leadership in the children and also does sessions related to mental health, etc.

      Team of Empowered Rangers

It also includes activities like campaigning, dancing, and singing, and some of these talents are showcased in a concert at the end of the year.

17th Nov 2022 was the day of my first visit to Koombi Kale in Kirulapone. On that day, a session on Mental Health was conducted by the LEADS Organization at the Koombi Kale Buddhist Temple auditorium from 5.30 pm onwards. This hall was far away from the main road, and when I entered with our teammates, the place was very dark and scary. My heart beat fast at that moment, and I realized the type of reality these children were living in. 80 parents and 20 kids participated in our 1st Mental Health session, and we ended it with fellowship and served refreshments. During that session, I met two cute little girls who helped me arrange the place, and soon, they became my friends. After a few hours, these two girls came to me and gave a flower with a card and thanked me for the help and support given to them by organizing classes. At that moment, I felt like I have achieved the greatest height in my life.

In order to expand our volunteer service to this project, we partnered up with the Foundation of Goodness for the further expansion of virtual classes. We received 25 new applications from students in grades 6 to 12 to conduct Spoken English classes via zoom. Then we faced a lack of volunteers to support new kids from the Dematagoda and Borella areas. After a few meetings, the PR directors of our club created a poster mentioning that we needed volunteers to conduct Spoken English classes via zoom. After two days, I was surprised to see the results. We got nearly 30 registrants external to our club who were willing to conduct free Spoken English classes.

Thereafter, we had a meeting with the new volunteers and started the classes according to their availability. We kept track of each and every student’s attendance by the updates mentioned in record books at the end of each class.

We were able to expand the IT Lab in Kirulapone by donating 6 computers and 10 computer desks with the help of the Foundation of Goodness in order to further conduct IT classes for students in the slum area.

It was my pleasure to have been able to chair this unique project ‘SNEHA’ which helped me in different ways to improve myself. I also learned to thank God for the blessings he has showered upon us and to share those blessings with others who are underprivileged. That action is the greatest thing we could do. We might not value the opportunities we receive regarding education enough, but kids like these are eagerly waiting for those opportunities to use them and become better versions of themselves.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!”

Therefore, let us step forward, reach out to more young little hearts who might be in need, and rise by lifting others. Together we can proceed to serve by Embracing the Change!

Written by: Rtr. Lydia George

Edited by: Rtr. Hiruni Hettiarachchi

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Featured

Hopes and Dreams

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“Hope is not a dream but a way of making dreams become reality”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

 Who wouldn’t love to have money to buy all the items they love? To have a six-figure salary? Spend quality time with your favorite people? And to be the happiest every day in their life without regrets? Hoping everything goes as you wish and to achieve the dreams you have built for yourself.

According to the textbook definition, desire and expectations a person has for their future can be also known as hopes whereas a dream is a series of thoughts, imagination, or a cherished ambition.

Why do you need hopes and dreams?

“Hope is a waking dream”

– Aristotle

Life is never easy. There are many obstacles and problems one faces throughout the journey. Hope is the feeling that drives a person to get through the obstacles, the courage to find solutions to the problems. Therefore, it can be stated that people do need hope. Hope in life boosts the person to approach problems with a mindset and strategy-set suitable for success, thereby increasing the chances to truly accomplish their own goals.

Dreams are the result of the creative imagination of a child. Creative people are often dreamers. Growing up affects a person not only physically but also mentally and most importantly, social norms, cultural boundaries, and beliefs may result in shattered childhood dreams. To keep the dreams alive, one has to set goals to achieve them. This is where our hopes contribute to making our dreams come true.

Are you giving your brain hopes and dreams?

“While there’s life, there’s hope.”

– Stephen Hawking

As we grow old, our unused muscles get weaker, similarly, the parts that we do not tend to use in our brain would start to become less effective. Although many researchers suggest, a good workout, proper nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle for a healthy brain, it is vital to have hope and dreams to make our brain keep on functioning. Although the human body can go on days without food or water, we cannot survive without hope. Hope ignites the willingness to go fight through the struggles, to see the positive side in a problematic situation, and the courage to drag self towards success. It helps people to think better and ultimately influences others as well.

Do we need to have hopes and dreams for a country?

 “People create these extravagant habitats because they have a vision, love of beauty, hopes and dreams.”

– Anne Rice.

Just as much as a person needs hopes and dreams for their life, a country requires it to become stronger, successful, have a radiant future, and overcome unexpected difficulties. Without a common goal, clear vision, dreams, and hopes, a country would surely fail to exist in the current competitive world.

Even if a country is facing great difficulties, the best its citizens can do is to have faith in each other, be ambitious, and have good intentions that the country is going to surpass the hardships. Better yet, be individually stronger to win through the struggles that they had to face.

Thinking about how hopes and dreams can affect a country, Sri Lanka can be taken as a timely example of this, where people have given value to themselves as citizens, envisioning dreams for the country and encouraging hopes for all to have a better future. Encouraging people to have a positive mindset using hopes and dreams, despite many difficulties, brings people with similar ideologies closer so all of them work towards a common goal. This gives value to the people which creates so many other ripple effects in the society. Growth in the power of people to speak up is one such ripple effect. Whilst communication connects people, hopes and dreams bond the people tighter as they all expect the betterment of the country’s future.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Written by: Rtr. Imesha Ilangasinghe

Edited by: Rtr. Loshini Gnanasambanthan

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