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A Million Smiles

A Million Smiles – Website

“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

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FeaturedOur Projects

Jumpstart 2019

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Leading the youth of Sri Lanka to be passionate, creative and resilient, the Rotaract Club of Achievers  Lanka Business school introduces a platform to present and discuss all your business ideas, Jumpstart.

Many contests of this nature have taken place across the globe bringing in ideators, start-ups and investors to one platform helping unique businesses emerge and grow. The concept as a whole may be new to Lankan audiences but nevertheless will benefit the country immensely in the years to come. Especially given the dire need for creativity and innovation to break barriers and norms, this opportunity provided by the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School will not only benefit all those who participate but Sri Lankan Entrepreneurship in general.

JUMPSTART, a signature project of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School, is a platform that provides finance to start-ups through investments and exciting prizes through a competition. Not only does JUMPSTART provide finances and prizes but it also provides a thorough knowledge to contestants through the much-needed set of workshops.

JUMPSTART was held successfully for the 3rd consecutive year with a new category that allows contestants to receive investments. The team behind ‘Jumpstart 2019’ worked hard tirelessly to bring entrepreneurs, judges, mentors, investors and even those who absolutely have no idea on entrepreneurship under one roof.

JUMPSTART has three categories namely Idea wizards, early-stage startups and growth-stage startups. The Idea Wizards and the early-stage startups faced a competition followed by a business case study to receive prizes worth LKR 200,000+ whereas the growth stage startups presented their ideas to investors in hopes of an investment.

This contest gave the participants a brand new experience. It helped the contestants develop their leadership and technical skills, network with giants in the corporate sector and let them think on their feet to tackle everyday business problems that are thrown at them. To help achieve this goal, we organized 6 workshops on aspects such as how to pitch, finance and bookkeeping, marketing, fundraising, supply chain, and PR and branding. All workshops were held at Hometree Coworking, our Venue Partner.

Following an intense first round, 5 finalists were selected by an esteemed panel of judges, all representing leaders in the corporate world. The Pitch it! Win it! the round was conducted on the 12th of November at Collaborate Co-working which enabled Idea wizards and early-stage start-ups to present their business ideas. Five talented teams/individuals were shortlisted from nearly 40 teams. As per the requests of the judges, two more teams were given golden buzzers and were escalated to the Shark Tank round. A big thank you to our Knowledge partner, Venture Frontier for providing us with the experts in the business field to conduct workshops, judges and also investors.

The finale comprised of the finals of the Pitch it! Win it! round and the shark tank round and was held on the 8th of December at Orion City Auditorium from 1 pm onwards. However, the finalists were challenged even more as they were given a realistic business case scenario to solve and present to the judges and the audience. Volunteer Nation emerged victoriously and took home prizes worth LKR 200,000 while the first runner up, Cookoo Eats won prizes worth LKR 100,000 and the rest of the finalists won prizes worth LKR 50,000.

The finals also comprised of the shark tank round where growth-stage startups presented their business to investors who scrutinized them immensely and provided investments if they deemed the startup to be worthy. The finals also featured a session by an influential speaker, Mr. Niroshan Madampitige.

Teaming up with Jumpstart and helping this event become a success were 15 partners. We are extremely grateful to all our partners. Namely, Venture Frontier – Knowledge Partner, Collaborative Coworking – Coworking Partner, Quire Lanka – Brand Strategy Partner, Avance, Urban.lk and Helanka Shoes – Gift Partners, ReadMe – Digital Media Partner, HomeTree Coworking and Orion City – Venue Partners, Impulse – Media Partner, StartupX foundry – Mentoring Partner, Chokolaate  – Magazine Partner, Dawn Developments – IT Partner, Filmdragonn Productions – Videography Partner and SefGlobal – Outreach Partner.

Last but not the least, an added word of gratitude to our Bronze sponsor ACCA and the management of Achievers Lanka Business School for the support.

Rtr. Suwithi Karunasekara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Projects

AID FIRST

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A workshop conducted by Dr. Sandya Somaweera consultant anesthetist at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, on preliminary first aid and how to handle basic medical emergencies with care, was held on the 31st of October 2019 at Achievers Lanka Business School from 7:00 pm onwards.

Fellow club members and the students of Achievers Lanka Business School were present at the workshop.

First aid is the first and immediate assistance given to any person suffering from either minor or serious illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery. It includes initial intervention in a serious condition prior to professional medical help being available, such as performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) while waiting for an ambulance, as well as the complete treatment of minor conditions, such as applying a plaster to a cut. First aid is generally performed by someone with basic medical training. Mental health first aid is an extension of the concept of first aid to cover mental health, while psychological first aid is used as early treatment of people who are at risk for developing PTSD.

There are many situations that may require first aid, and many countries have legislation, regulation, or guidance which specifies a minimum level of first aid provision in certain circumstances. This can include specific training or equipment to be available in the workplace (such as an automated external defibrillator), the provision of specialist first aid cover at public gatherings, or mandatory first aid training within schools. First aid, however, does not necessarily require any particular equipment or prior knowledge and can involve improvisation with materials available at the time, often by untrained people.

We also had an interesting presentation by Dr. Sandya Somaweera on the importance of first aid and she also taught us what we need to do when necessary first aid is needed in unexpected situations. For example, we were taught what we have to do when we wanted to replace a tooth, how we have to do necessary first aid for burns and cuts and what we need to do when a person faints, etc.

  

A dummy was bought alone with Dr. Sandya Somaweera where we also did practical first aid on what we need to do when a person gets choaked.  Dr. Sandya Somaweera demonstrated on how we need to carry out the needful first aid.

And following that our fellow club members too did try out on how the necessary first aid needs to be done using the dummy.

There was an extremely interesting question and answer session, where we gained additional knowledge on basic first aid.

By 8.45 pm we ended the workshop successfully.

Rtr. Rukaiya Shahabdeen

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FeaturedOur Projects

Ekamuthuwa – Phase 1

Ekamuthuwa – Website

It was 7.45 AM on a Saturday morning, We gathered at the highway bus station at Makumbura to catch the bus to Galle for one of our biggest community service projects of the year. We started the journey around 8AM and reached Galle in about an hour’s time. Rtr. Thaha was already waiting for us at the bus stop. We had ordered refreshments for the students who will be participating in the awareness program so our first stop was at the bakery to get the Fishbuns, Rolls and the milk packets we had ordered. Then we went to the Navinna Muslim Maha Vidyalaya, the school in which we conducted the awareness session. We met the principal and the enthusiastic students who were to participate in the awareness program who had already arranged the classroom to carry out the session. Around 30 boys who were having their lunch break in between extra weekend lessons settled down into the small classroom by 11 am. The principal then gave a brief introduction about the school and told the children how working together with each other is important. Then we moved on to our first speaker Rev. Father Ramesh, who gave a small introduction about Christianity in Tamil. Our second speaker, Rev. Father Tharaka referred to the Easter Sunday attacks and spoke about how working together in harmony can be very important towards preventing such situations and can help people live a happy and peaceful life. Then we moved onto a question and answer session where a few questions were raised by the audience. Then we moved onto our third speaker Ven. Kongahadeniye Palitha Thero. The kids were given a little introduction to Buddhism. He spoke about the current situation of the country and spoke about how we are all Sri Lankans and that we should not be divided due to religions as we are one nation. This session was also followed by a question answering session in which the boys of the school also raised questions. It was finally the time for the boys to get back to their classes, which meant that it was time for us to wrap things up. Rtr Hasitha ended the session with a thank you speech and distributed the refreshments to the students and helped them rearrange the classroom while mingling with them. The principal and the students were really happy with the session and said that the program was very valuable to them. Then they went back to their respective classes to carry out the rest of their academic work.

The day ended on a high note for us as Rtr. Thaha then took us to his house for lunch and overloaded us with food. We stayed at his place for a while after lunch and then in the evening he took us to Galle fort and Rumassala. We all had fun and took the highway bus to Colombo marking the end of the First day of Ekamuthuwa- Phase 1.

During the workshop…

Day 2 began a little earlier than day one as we met at the Makumbura highway bus station around 6.45 to go to Matara, we reached Matara in about an hour and a half. Once we got there we got off the bus and walked to a shop named “Theentha gedara” as it was known to be a place in the area to buy goods needed for painting for a low price. We bought the items that we needed and got into a truck to take the paint to the temple, it was a new experience traveling in the back of a truck holding the paint steadily. On our way, we bought 8 bags of cement and we finally reached the temple which is newly constructing. Then we met the head priest of the Pabbataramaya temple, Ven. Kongahadeniya Palitha Thero. The Thero mentioned that he was very happy about the fact that a young crowd was organizing events of this nature and mentioned that he was very happy about the session we had the previous day and also thanked us for the paint and cement which we took that day. The prist then chanted some pirith to bless us. Thereafter we left Matara and came back to Galle for a temple visit at the Sri Sudarmalaya temple at Galle and came back to Colombo marking a successful ending to Phase 1 of Ekamuthuwa.

Rtr. Nuwanthi Mannapperuma

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Featured

Willow Mania

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‘’Till the full stop doesn’t come, the sentence is not complete’

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

 

Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School for the year 2018/19 paid off successfully in terms of International Service Avenue. As such the year 2019/20 for Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School has started the journey with the hopes of great success in the International Service Avenue with a set of immersive projects upcoming.

As the quote above mentions, there is no end in educating oneself and also learning about facts which people would love to know and some might not be interested. But apart from that, educating yourself with all kind of facts also makes someone special. Similarly where CRICKET is the second most popular game in the world, and it is important in knowing the facts about cricket. Project ‘’WILLOW MANIA” is the first International Service project for the year 2019/20 to make an understand how important cricket is to many societies by making the club members more enthusiastic about the field they love and also to the members who are not aware to become one.

Project ‘WILLOW MANIA’ was organized on 15th of August 2019 after the joint meeting with the Rotaract Club of Informatics Institute of Technology (RACIIT). So, we had higher participation from the RACIIT which gave a huge contribution to our project. The project had a unique way of professionalism in order to keep the momentum of the game flowing, by providing each team with a buzzer (rarely worked) option in terms of ‘First come first served’ basis to answer the questions. Which also made the game more interesting and enjoyable to all the fellow rotaractors.

The project was organized by our International Service Directors Rtr. Rahul Jeyanthan and Rtr. Kalani Siriwardhana. Where Rtr. Rahul Jeyanthan host the event, while the Professional Development Director Rtr. Suwithi Karunasekara was assigned as the Scorekeeper. All the members in the room were split into 3 teams as (Team A, Team B, and Team C) where each team consisted of 15-18 members from both the Rotaract Club of Achievers and IIT. Coincidently both the presidents of RAC IIT and RAC Achievers were split into two different teams, where both were acting like a normal participant for the time being for the fun of it in the game.

 

The quiz was divided into 3 different rounds. Which is a Test match round, T20 and One Day International Domestic round and the final round was the World Cup round. Where each round consists of 11 questions and the points were scored as 0 hints – 6 runs, 1 hint – 4 runs, 2 hints – 2 runs. If a team gives an incorrect answer another team will get the chance to get the opportunity and will be given half the allocated points per questions. If the 1st answer gets wrong Rtr. Rahul will give the first hint, where if a team comes with a correct answer after the 1st hint, they will be given 4 runs. And if the 2nd answer also goes wrong Rtr. Rahul will be providing a second hint and where if a team comes with a correct answer after the 2nd hint, they will be given 2 runs (I know right!, a bit confusing). As usual, the team with the highest runs wins the match.

At the end of the Test match round (1st round) Team A scored 8 runs, Team B scored 13 runs and Team C scored 17 runs and the Team C were leading. And at the end of the T20 and One Day International Domestic round (2nd round) Team A scored 25 runs, Team B scored 50 runs and Team C scored 55 runs and still retained leading. And before the last question of the Quiz, Team B was 62 runs and Team C was 62 runs and it was a similar situation like the World Cup 2019 final, where even they ended up scoring the same and they were supposed to play a super-over match in order to select the Champions of the World Cup 2019. As such the Willow Mania Quiz became such a situation where the last question will decide the Champion of the Willow Mania. And all 3 teams were so excited to press the buzzer to answer 1st. And the Team B pressed the buzzer 1st but was not been able to give the correct answer. So, team C grabbed the opportunity and came up with the right answer and became the champions of Willow Mania by scoring 66 runs at the end of the day.

 

In between when the game was flowing, the irritating part for our own Professor IS Director Rtr. Rahul Jeyanathan was even before he asked the question the buzzer was pressed. And the most noticeable part is the buzzer was kept pressing by the same team and by the same person over and over again. At one-point Professor Rtr. Rahul got tempered and wanted that particular team to answer without knowing the question as they were repeatedly doing the same mistake, which also made the event more exciting and entertaining.

Victory or defeat, after all, it’s all about learning and getting to know the facts. And all the teams, both the Rotaract Clubs of Achievers and IIT have fully enjoyed the event and showed their best fellowship by cheering and congratulating the winning team as well. At the end of the day, the project greater than expected by an immense number of participants by both the Rotaract Clubs and each person leaving the room while knowing a little bit more than they knew about the great game of CRICKET.

 

 

Rtr. Rishad Mohiyade

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Our Projects

Blog Better

Blog better

The first Professional Development project of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School for the year 2019/2020 was held on the 8th of August, 2019 at Achievers Lanka Business School. The project “Blog Better” was an initiative to provide the club members with some basic knowledge on writing better blogs in a way that is more appealing and relevant to the readers. The workshop was conducted by Malinda Seneviratne, a senior journalist who specializes in writing about political affairs in the country.

Mr. Seneviratne was the chief editor at The Nation, prior to which he had been submitting weekly articles to many popular newspapers such as The Daily Mirror and the Daily News. He is an alumnus of Royal College and went on to complete his bachelor’s degree at the Harvard University through a scholarship, for which he applied during the JVP Insurrection period when all the state universities were shut down. He is also an accomplished poet, having been nominated for the coveted Gratiaen Award for the best work in literary writing in English in Sri Lanka five times, which he won in 2013 for his poetry collection, “Edges”.

According to him, one of the key factors of writing a good blog is to know your audience. As explained by him, most of his audience are people who are interested in the political affairs of the country who prefers English articles. Therefore, his audience is not only based in Sri Lanka but also around the world in places where many Sri Lankans reside. Because he knows what his audience is expecting of him, he targets the topics which are relevant to them. The next part is knowing your writing style. It is shaped by the audience, the writer and it may change with the topic of the article. Another key to being a good blogger, or a writer of any kind, is practice. As Mr. Seneviratne elaborated with an example from the cricketing world, the more you keep writing, the better you become at it over time.

The workshop was well-received by the participants, mostly because of the way it was conducted by Mr. Seneviratne. He referred to some of his life experiences to explain certain things which helped keep the discussion casual and the participants engaged. At the end of the workshop, a Q&A session was carried out by him to clarify any questions the audience had. The workshop was a success as the participants were fully attentive throughout the entire two hours.

His blog can be found at MalindaWords, and a collection of his poetry work can be found on his Instagram Page, @senevikadavara.

Rtr. Pruthuvi Fernando

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General

The 10th Installation of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School

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The annual installation ceremony of our club was successfully held on the 21st of July. A new board of directors headed by the President, Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe was appointed for the year 2019-20. This was a much-awaited moment for obviously the incoming president and the new board of directors.

The ceremony commenced at 6:30 pm at the CIMA Auditorium, CIMA division. It started off with the lighting of the beautifully decorated oil lamp by the dignitaries present in the evening following the welcome address delivered by the project chairpersons, Rtr. Hashini Wickramasuriya and Rtr. Niflaz Nuhuman.

Welcome speech by the project co-chairs

The outgoing secretary’s (Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe) annual report for the year ended showed us the remarkable projects the club has completed throughout the year. The presentation about these projects showed us about the many lives Rotaract had touched and the many smiles Rotaract had built. Proving that not only does Rotaract help develop surroundings of one but also helps to improve themselves through the journey. Thus describing the theme for the year ‘To avail and thrive’.

The Outgoing Secretary’s speech

Amidst all the fun and laughter was the hard work that proved these projects to be the best of the best. Thus, she also stated that most of these projects received awards during the previously held Rotaract District Assembly.

Following this was the address by the outgoing president, Rtr. IPP Hamdhan Sulaiman. Amidst sharing the treasured memories of the club in the past Rotaract year, he thanked his wonderful board, friends, and family for sticking by him through thick and thin. He showed that Rotaract is not always about the award-winning projects but it is about the journey to those achievements with the ones you cherish.

 

The final speech by the Outgoing President
Handing over of a Token of Appreciation to the Outgoing President’s mother by himself

Then came the introduction of the Incoming President, Rtr. Sathma, by her very own brother, which was kept as a secret from her until the ceremony. After an emotional yet memorable speech, the incoming president, Rtr. Sathma Jayasinghe was collared as the President for the year 2019-20.

Introduction of the Incoming President
Collaring of the Incoming President

Followed by the introduction of the board of directors through eye-catching presentations was the address by the District Rotaract Representative, Rtr. PP Krishan Balaji. He spoke well of the club’s achievements and stated that they had picked his favorite color, purple to gain points. Many more dignitaries share their thoughts about this evening and even included their own experiences about the journey of Rotaract.

Induction of the new Board for the years 2019-2020
DRR’s Speech

Felicitations were given by fellow Rotaractors, Interactors, friends, and family. Many fellow Rotaractors who are also ‘proud Visakians’ assured the fact that the incoming president will continue to do a great job just as she did as secretary. Felicitations were full of laughter with all of them coming up to the podium and saying ‘#proudVisakians’ and how the guys tackled it at the end by taking the podium to say how proud they are about their schools as well. The hour-long amount of felicitations assured how much Rtr. IPP Hamadhan’s work had made an impact on Rotaract world and how much more it is expecting from Rtr. President Sathma to do in her year.

Last but not the least the vote of thanks was delivered by Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake, secretary for the years 2019-20 concluding the events of the ceremony but beginning another year of continuing the love, laughter, and life that Rotaract gives to the community. VIVA-LA-ROTARACT.

Rtr. Suwithi Karunasekara

Photographs courtesy of Charaka Welihinda Photography

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Youth Time

Cryptocurrency

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2010, price of 1 bitcoin = $0.39

2019, price of 1 bitcoin = approx. $7800; Rs. 1,371,084.00

As you can see if you had invested Rs 70 to buy 1 bitcoin back in 2009, you would have been able to receive Rs 1.3 Million in 2019

What is Cryptocurrency?

One of the main examples for cryptocurrency is bitcoin. In simple terms, Bitcoin is a digital currency. Non-digital currency is fiat currency which is the normal rupee and dollar notes that we use daily.

Bitcoin was created by a person or  a group of people who collectively call themselves Satoshi Nakamoto.

What is Blockchain?

Let me explain what blockchain means in simple terms.

Modern communication has allowed people to communicate directly. Texts, voice mails, emails travel instantly from one to another. But when it comes to money, we need to rely on a 3rd party for security.

If we need to transfer $100 to someone in Canada, we would have to do it through a bank. Blockchain challenges this mechanism by removing the third party. Blockchain uses math and cryptography to provide an open decentralized database of any transaction involving value. This can be money, goods, property on even votes. These transactions’ authenticity is verified by the community. All these transactions will be recorded on a public and distributed ledger which can be accessed by anyone who has an internet connection. So how is a decentralized database kept? This is done by having decentralized nodes rather than having a centralized system like the bank. These distributed nodes share the ledger which means all cryptocurrency users have a ledger and updates to the ledger are independently constructed and recorded by each node. The nodes then vote on these updates to ensure that the majority agrees with the conclusion reached. This voting and agreement on one copy of the ledger is called consensus and is conducted automatically by a consensus algorithm. Once consensus has been reached, the distributed ledger updates itself and the latest, agreed-upon version of the ledger are saved on each node separately.

What is Blockchain Mining?

Mining is the process of adding transactions to the large distributed public ledger of existing transactions, known as the blockchain. Mining involves creating a hash of a block of transactions that cannot be easily forged, protecting the integrity of the entire blockchain without the need for a central system.

Miners validate new transactions and record them on the global ledger (blockchain). On average, a block (the structure containing transactions) is mined every 10 minutes. Miners compete to solve a difficult mathematical problem based on a cryptographic hash algorithm.

Mining is NOT about creating new cryptocurrencies. Mining is the mechanism that allows the blockchain to be in a decentralized security.

Miners receive a reward when they solve a complex mathematical problem. There are two types of rewards: new bitcoins or transaction fees.

Some of the other Cryptocurrencies available

  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Litecoin (LTC)
  • Bitcoin cash (BCH)
  • Zcash (ZEC)

How to purchase cryptocurrency?

In Sri Lanka, you can use several methods to purchase cryptocurrency

  • Through a Website called Localbitcoins. This site allows us to buy and sell bitcoins with other local users. Mode of payment can be bank transfer or card payment.
  • Through a Website called Paxful. This too allows you to buy and sell bitcoins globally. The mode of payment can be Paypal, Moneygram, mobile recharge.

My personal favorite is this site called cex.io. This site allows you to buy and sell most cryptocurrencies and is not limited to bitcoin. To perform a transaction, create an account and register your credit card. Any credit card wouldn’t do the trick and you would need an HSBC credit card for this (based on research). Its simple to use and offers many valuable features like price charts and wallet management.

Rtr. Hasitha Jayasuriya

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Joint Projects

The Cluster Project | Sihina Yaathra

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It was the 14th of December and members from all clubs rallied together at Racecourse at 5: 30 AM (In the morning :D), way past the time they were asked to come( 4:30 AM). Anyway, after all the members came, we left for the school in Chillaw. Half the bus was sleeping at 6:30 AM and the guys got their phones out to take some decent photos of the sleepyheads. I had brought sandwiches according to the plan, but I was betrayed by two of my fellow cluster members who said they would bring too. Anyway, the group enjoyed the sandwiches with some opting for another.

We finally reached the school at 9:30 and was greeted with milk rice and “Katta sambal”. The principal was overjoyed to see and so were the kids. The principal had previously asked some kids to come and help and as they saw us, they had a beaming smile over their face. The students rushed towards us and greeted us saying “Good Morning Aiya” and “Good Morning Aunty”. The female students hid with a shy smile.

After the very satisfying Milk rice, we decided to get to work. The Cluster representatives were allocated parts of the school to be in charge when painting. Each team had around 8 members with a mix of all clubs so that people would get to know each other mingle if needed. The members were decided at the discretion of the cluster reps and Hamdhan.

 

Buckets were brought by our “Baas” and so were paint brushes as asked. We, being amateurs at it, let the Baas mix the paint with water. According to him, we should put 2 liters of water with 1 liter of paint, so we did learn something new.

4 members from Rotaract Club of Chunnakam came soon afterward ready to play dirty. Buckets and Brushes were handed and they got to it without hesitation. This was the first time we, the other cluster representatives met the cluster representative from Chunnakam (Anojan) and was surprised when we saw the size of him( You can imagine a miniature hulk).

2 hours passed and we haven’t completed half of what we had planned to complete. The clubs reps met near the giant teak tree for a discussion.

Shenal says “Machan, my team has completed a lot, I’ve been coaching them on how to do it properly”

And Angelo follows by saying “Yeah same here” my guys needed a little push, but we are handling it”.

Then I say “ Well, our guys are really trying, the front wall was too dirty to paint so we had to clean and one coat isn’t enough we probably need to paint it thrice” and the guys say “Ok ok try to finish it quickly”

And Anuradha says “Ok so, the books will be arranged in the library later, we’ve started painting the walls, there’s a lot of dust but we will manage”.

Everybody goes back to their designated areas and start continuing until lunch.

Before lunch, I went and checked the walls and was surprised by the beauty of it. The guys had done an amazing job, and everybody wanted to perfect it. People were keen on painting every tiny part of the wall, without having and spots. They would paint and re-paint until they got it right. As I was passing the principal, I saw him look at the walls with pride and stared at the walls. The kids had brought their parents to show their new school and the parents blessed us with well wishes.

Then, at 1:30 we were called for lunch and everybody gathered at the classroom to enjoy food prepared by parents. The principal has assigned food for parents and one had brought “dhal curry” and one had a “fish ambul thiyal” and so on. The guys thoroughly enjoyed the meal with most opting for a re-serve. Then for dessert, we had pineapple slices and bananas and me being the fruit lover ate more fruits than the main meal.

After Lunch, we got back to the rest of the work. More people gathered at the gate wall to witness the beauty of it. It wasn’t complete but we felt the beauty it was going to be once it was completed. Then we got the problems. The paint was over and we needed more paint brushes and we needed more wire brushes. But luckily, there was a Hardware shop nearby and one of the parents had a bike. He and I rushed to the store and bought all the necessities and came back and distributed it to the guys.

In the evening we were able to cherish our childhood memories by having “Ice packets” which were bought at the boutique next to the school. The guys really loved, and it brought back some good school memories, although, for some of us, it was the first time.

Then at around 6pm, the work was almost over. The gate wall was over and so was the outer walls of one building. What was remaining was the re-painting the library and one more wall which the guys decided to do on another day.  We left at 6:30 after donating all the books. It took a good 5 minutes for 5 guys to get all the books to the library. The principal and kids couldn’t believe their eyes. We had to keep most of the books on the floor because there wasn’t enough space.

Then near Kaduwela, Anuradha and Shenal agreed to honor the deal and decided to buy the guys some short eats. They bought rolls and patties for everyone from a Perera and Sons close by.

We finally reached Racecourse and the cluster team had to bid farewell with a heavy heart. It was the last time they would see each other for a long time. But we had to learn with only the fond memories.

For me, this cluster project had shown me how people are deep inside. Loyalty towards team members, perseverance, undying commitment and love to truly help ones in need.

Rtr. Hasitha Jayasuriya

 

 

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Our Projects

Conquer Colombo 2019

Conquer Colombo

The third week of January is a week like no other for the rotaractors of RACALBS. From the meticulous organization and execution by the organizing committee and the careful preplanning by many of our participants, Conquer Colombo is by far one of the most anticipated and hyped events of the Rotaract calendar. Setting the bar higher than ever before, Conquer Colombo 2019 was back with more new twists and challenges of all forms be it eating challenges, mind challenges and even Augmented Reality. This grand scale project involving almost 500 participants was initiated with the motive of aiding of the club’s major community service project “Project Life”. This project targets at combatting Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in several affected communities in Kebithigollawa in the North Central Province by aiding for the building of Rainwater harvesting systems. Since its inauguration in 2013, Conquer Colombo has been more than successful in aiding project life along with providing a unique experience to its participants.

This year’s conquer Colombo bore the theme of “Monopoly” which amalgamated the concepts of the much-beloved board game of Monopoly into this year’s event. Shifting CC paradigms every year, this year’s event included the opportunity for participants to do 3 optional challenges in addition to the traditional 4 core challenges which was a first in CC history. The difficulty of the 3 optional challenges was color-coded as Blue for the hardest challenges, Yellow for medium and brown for the easiest challenges. This was in line with the monopoly element where the price valuations of properties are in the same respective order with blue having most expensive properties such as Mayfair and Piccadilly. Monopoly was further embedded with the inclusion of “Spin the Wheel” at challenge intersections through which participants would be able to draw chance and community chest cards. These cards acted as power ups which either empowered or even worsened the dynamics of each teams’ game. Every choice mattered in this year’s CC where the teams weighed in the opportunity cost of selecting which level of difficulty of an optional challenge to select, whether the option was cost-effective in terms of the monopoly cash they were to spend, the most time effective routes to take etc. All these factors added in glamour and spice to Conquer Colombo 2019 and truly shifted the metrics of this year’s competition.

The event kickstarted with variety of small entertainment items by a few of the participants as the crowd started registering at Race Course in the morning. As a first-time spectator\organizer at this event, it was amazing for me to see the heightened excitement of what’s to come by both veteran CC participants to the first-timers alike. The highlight of the morning which had everyone chortling over was when the team “Banda forced us to come” drove in a car campaigning for our much beloved COMSERV Director Sandaru a.k.a. Banda’s presidential run for 2020.

 

Following a very eventful morning, the much-awaited race kickstarted at 11.30 with the throwing of the dice. This was followed by a literal stampede of participants racing to their respective stalls to obtain their first clue sheet to the challenge locations. With much frantic confusion and excitement, teams were rushing at every direction to reach their rides and to figure out where to head first. As a first-time challenge head at pearl harbor challenge located at subway fort, I was definitely was in for a big surprise when hordes of frantic participants rushed into the venue too eager to get started with the challenge. It was a quite a challenge for us challenge heads and volunteers both the new and experienced to handle and accommodate the flash mob like crowds, but as time went we got the hang of it and ran our challenges pretty smoothly. With the last team signing at our table (whom we, unfortunately, had to turn away as they were in the wrong challenge location), we had felt a  great rush of relief and also a bit of sadness as we knew Conquer Colombo was almost over for us.  It goes without saying that this year’s CC was truly an experience to remember for both the participants and organizers alike.

The closing ceremony capped off one of the greatest events of the Rotaract calendar on a high note. It started off with the commencement of the raffle draw which is one of the more awaited events during Conquer Colombo. Winners walked away with gift baskets and a variety of exciting gift vouchers. Up next came the awards for best themed, funkiest ride, Supermen and wonder women. Last but not the least, the top fifteen teams of Conquer Colombo 2019 were awarded a variety of exciting prizes from gift baskets to vouchers. Team “Bebaddo” came in third and received a variety of amazing prizes along with an opportunity for an overnight stay at Udawatte Kele forest lodge. Team 2 fast 2 furious came onto take the number 2 spot of this year’s Conquer Colombo winning an overnight stay at Jetwing hotel along with other exciting prizes. National List topped the point list of this year’s event with a total points of to be crowned champions of Conquer Colombo 2019  securing return air tickets to Jakarta, Indonesia among other exciting prizes.

This year’s challenges gave a new experience to our participants which most have never experienced before or wouldn’t experience anywhere else. Regardless of whether our participants managed to break into the top 15 or not, without any doubt, everyone left with a feeling of satisfaction and eagerness to look forward to this event again next year. From deciphering road directions using Augmented reality posters, mind boggling mind challenges such as the bomb challenge to blindfolded cupcake challenges, Conquer Colombo 2019 was definitely not a day to miss. Setting the bar higher than ever before, CC 2019 left quite the mark on the Rotaract calendar and leaving us with the anticipation of an even more awe-inspiring event next year.

Rtr. Asel Gunaratne

(Image sourse: Impulse Inc. )

 

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