Flavours from around the World ~ A Heart & Mind Satisfied

The Open Day of General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University marks a special day in the University’s annual calendar. It was held on the 9th of September with much grandeur at the university premises for the fourth consecutive year.

The Open Day is where the university takes pride in exhibiting what it has to offer for the young generation of Sri Lanka who habours skills, endeavors & brains. The day is all about showcasing the rare opportunity to study in a defence university, in a hassle free academic environment while gaining novel experience with civil & military undergraduates. This provides a great opportunity for those who are interested in pursuing their higher studies at KDU.
Apart from guidance & assistance given to visitors, there were also various events organized by the day-scholars & the cadet officers; out of which the; International Food Festival was one of the main attractions of the day which stole the spotlight. The International Food Festival is an International Service project organized by the Rotaract Club of the university, to build International Relations & cultural Understanding among the students of various cultures of the university.

This festival presented an opportunity for both local & foreign students to put up stalls with authentic cuisine & diverse delicacies from around the world. It provided a platform to showcase traditional food from their native countries. Which in turn provided an opportunity for everyone to take a trip around the world without the actual traveling.

Stalls covered countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, the Middle East, Nepal, Arabia, India, Zambia & our very own Sri Lankan stalls. The air was filled with various alluring aromas that drew in many people, curious to try the exotic food that was displayed. An array food from fried arthropods such as caterpillars & cockroaches to comfort food like a good old slice of pizza & a plate of Naan with dhal curry to sizzling Kottu.
The Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawela Defence University along with the rotaractors of the Allied Health Sciences Faculty, organized stalls with traditional Sri Lankan foods. A variety of street food along with healthy food were displayed respectively in each stall. Faculty of Allied Health (FAHS) were considerate on making certain those who had an early start without breakfast, didn’t roam around without a healthy start to a productive day providing Kadala & a healthy drink of Saruwath.
While the Rotaract Club stall, focused on giving the necessary action punch to kickstart what was going to be a tiring day indeed, with a mix of Sinhala Achcharu & Fresh Juice with an action station for Kottu- an ideal option for those who wonder around the exhibition- a quick fix of spicy takeaway to add a bounce to their step. Our rotaractors indeed showcased their culinary skills by producing mouthwatering irresistable portions of Kottu, which had the crowd coming asking for more. We did indeed have our masterchef moment.
All in all, the Open Day & the International Food Festival went hand-in-hand successfully & the goal of giving out knowledge & satisfaction of people were achieved. We hope to see you at the next International Food Festival to have your palates tingled & your cravings satisfied.

Article by Co-Editor Vibodha Rathnayake




Precaution & Prevention

The HIV-AIDS Prevention Program jointly organized by the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University & our Parent Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Colombo was held on the 31st of August 2017 within the university premises. We were graced by the presence of Consultant Venereologist, Dr. Sujatha Samarakoon, who conducted a very informative briefing about this growing epidemic.

The proceedings were started by the welcoming of the guests, by our president, Rtr. Ravindu & secretary, Rtr. Ranishka. As we waited for the rest of our audience to join us, our Rotary Parent Club president, Rtn. T. Someswaran, was introduced to the members present. It was a friendly round of introductions whereby he got to know each of the board members present & general members alike as he went around asking each & everyone’s name & the degree they were currently engaged in.

As the last of our audience filed in, our honored speaker, Dr. Samarakoon started her discussion. Her first order of business was to get everyone to introduce themselves & the degree they were following. Then she began by introducing us to the basics of HIV-AIDS. She touched on how the disease acts & once a patient is infected how to detect & the treatment process that follows. It was enlightening to know that the ways it can be transmitted weren’t as obvious as we thought. Those of us that had studied biology for science knew some factors but Dr. Sujatha clarified it further for us.

She further touched upon the situation in Sri Lanka & how prevalent it was. Since it is considered a sort of taboo still in our culture to converse about this disease so openly, she showed us a disparity in the statistics that were collected because she believed that many still had not come forward. One factor that was emphasized is that society needs to be educated on what exactly AIDS is & how they must get along with patients who have contracted it & not discriminate them. It must be noted though, due to most people receiving a sound education & deviating from the narrow-minded thinking of their ancestors, the situation in Sri Lanka has developed. Many youth are actively participating in educating their peers & taking the necessary precautions to be safe.

Past programs such as the one conducted in Monamurei, at a tea-estate & a famous international school in Colombo, has shown an improvement in people’s attitude towards this epidemic & how they are working towards helping those that need it & working towards its eradication. The symptoms & consequences after having contracted the disease was broadly elaborated on. The only treatment available so far is a prevention tablet which ensures the slowing down of the progress of the virus. There was also talk of a future project, currently being planned to be carried out in the Kalutara area, to educate youth just out of school.

Dr. Sujatha also touched on other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia etc. As she came to a close on her discussion she emphasized on the importance of prevention rather than treatment. The floor was then opened to questions & comments. Our attentive members asked questions in relation to measures taken by the government & the question led the way to talks of the legal ordinances available which were brought up by the large number of law students present. The discussion ended & as refreshments were being taken the audience mixed & mingled with our honored guest, Dr. Sujatha & the members of the Rotary. The session came to a successful close & the crowds dispersed with new knowledge to be shared among their friends & family.

Article by Co-Editor Chayangi Kannangara


The interactive gaming competition organized by the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University came into play on the 21st of August 2017. It was open to all cadets & day-scholars alike, from inside the university who participated with eager enthusiasm. The game of choice was the very popular video gaming franchise, Call of Duty.

From day one onwards, there was an active crowd who had come to observe & cheer on the teams participating. The energy was clearly palpable as the people filed in to the IT lab where all the necessary preparations had taken place. Many had just come after lectures, some had taken some time off to practice & get their game face on while others had taken time off internships, such as our team from Intake 31, to come participate.

The proceedings were started off by our president, Rtr. Ravindu, welcoming the teams & introducing the chairpersons for the event. Then, Rtr. Malisha, one of the chairpersons, explained the rules of the game, how the point system will work & how the competition will carry on generally. Thereby, games on the first two days were carried out in the League format & on the last day it was in the Knockout style. There were 14 teams registered & waiting to prove themselves worthy & claim the cash prizes. The teams were divided into 4 groups such as Group A, B, C & D to make it so that the score-keepers can do their job easily. Further each team had 5 members. 

Day one, the teams from Group A & B battled it out to get their team into the quarter finals. While being intense, there were a few glitches that were faced by the organizers because of having to accommodate many laptops into one server but it all worked out in the end. The games started at 4.00 pm & carried on late into the evening. The IT lab was packed with many spectators, shouting out cheers every time a round was won & the battlecries of the players who kept screaming out strategies to their teammates. Despite having played their best, only 4 were able get into the quarter finals from both groups collectively amidst which our would be winners were present. Day one ended in a success.

Day two, teams from Group C & D went at each other with a much more intensity than day one. With twice as much spectators filling the IT lab, there was little to no space for anyone to move about. It was another intense day whereby although there were 2 less in the number of teams to play, there was still plenty of noise & many more spectators to cheer the teams on. It went on in the League style & even our chairpersons, Rtr. Hiran, Rtr. Gayeshan & Rtr. Malisha participated in their respective teams battling out each other in a style so focused, their faces, a mask of sheer determination, that no one dare disturbed them even with a cheer. Again the day ended with 4 teams from both groups collectively making it into the quarter finals. Another set of rounds successfully completed.

Day three, was a new day with new challenges for the organizers to ensure that the same teams did not fall into same categories to play against their previous opponents. The quarter finals were divided into 4 whereby 2 teams battled it out at a time. One significant entertaining game was in quarter final 2, by the team, Kandy Lamissiyo, whereby a teammate accidentally killed his own teammate, at least we hope it was accidental. It was also one of the most intense games whereby although one team seemed to be in the lead the opponent put up a play that was groundbreaking. Next the semifinals started, whereby it was divided into semifinal 1 & 2, which took place side by side: four teams became two.

After a small break, finally the most awaited round arrived: Finals. 2 talented teams had made it into the finals. One team was ‘Patta Noob’, an Intake 31 team & the other was a team that knew their way around well with computers, ‘No-One’ which consisted of our Intake 33 computer science tech-whizzes. The final round brought in many more spectators & the game finally commenced at 6.30 pm. The excitement & nerve-racking feeling of the respective supporters of each team could be felt clearly in the air & there was battle-music in the background to set the mood. At the end of the final round many people had bitten their nails off with the anticipation of which team will win since it was such a close call.

All the proceedings were brought to a close by our president Rtr. Ravindu giving the vote of thanks & handing over the stage to one of our vice-presidents, Cdt. Officer Rtr. Udeepa to announce the winners of the cash prizes for first place & second place. Second place was allocated to our tech-whizz team, ‘No-One’ & the winners of the competition was our expert team, ‘Patta Noob’ who were part of an international competition as well. Although the excitement of three days had come to an end, there was no calming down of the buzzing of the masses as they went their separate ways. 

Article by Co-Editor Rtr. Chayangi Kannangara 

The Grand Slam 🤛🏽

A Clean Up Campaign organized by the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawela Defense University supporting the Rotaract District Initiative, “Let’s Start with Us”, was held on the 5th of August 2017, covering the university perimeter & its surrounding neighborhood. The campaign conducted was more about helping wipe out Dengue, which has bared it ugly face recently, proving to be a huge epidemic in the country than just about cleaning up. “The Grand Slam”, was initiated as a step to help eradicate the fatal disease & to demonstrate that even the smallest of actions could result in the greatest reaction. 
All the action thus started at 10 am in the university premises. Our Secretary, Rtr. Ranishka, initiated a 2 minutes silence in memory of the lives lost to Dengue & was followed by Dr. Ellawala who addressed the gathering with the agenda for the day; elaborating on how the teams should be divided, how the garbage should be disposed & how many teams per lane should be allocated. With the assistance of health workers & the health inspector, Mr. Caldera, ten groups of three, were sent from door to door, examining houses. Each group was guided carefully with the assistance of a health worker. 
A PR campaign was then dispatched to explain to the house owners, how dengue can breed, effects of dengue & how it can be prevented. Accordingly leaflets on the disease & its prevention were distributed by both health workers & the PR team.

Ten groups of six, a mix of Cadets & Day-Scholars, started from 1st Lane to 7th Lane between Kandawala Road to Borupana Road. While the other started from the top of Borupana Road, everyone literally getting down & dirty, jumping down into drains & beating around overgrown weeds. 

After a much productive morning, the time arrived for the lunch break, where refreshments for the tired were distributed. Special thanks goes out to KDU & everyone who made snacks for the generous contributions.

The project carried on as planned after lunch, even among the gloomy skies looming overhead didn’t stop our enthusiastic members & helpers from working. As the rain started to fall it was almost like showers from above because neither did anyone complain nor did the work stop.

With the assistance of the Municipal Council of Mount, garbage was disposed into the trucks, rest assured not to leave any behind. The campaign came to a successful end as we watched each other actively engage, cooperate & work hand-in-hand to achieve a greater cause with determination & splendid team work. 

The success of the campaign would not have been possible if not for the assistance rendered to the club by the Ministry of Health, Municipal Council of Mount, Sri Lanka Police & KDU themselves. We take the opportunity to thank everyone who took time off of their Saturday in & joined in helping us to clear out a Dengue prone area, contributing to the protection of the public.

Link for more photos of a very productive & fun filled day: 


Article by Co-Editor Rtr. Vibodha Rathnayake 


On the second meeting of our new Rotaract year, we had more than a surprising increase in number of new members. What started out as a seemingly normal meeting had a few pleasant surprises in store for all of us.
Firstly, we had a rather young guest from the States. Interactor Sethmi Dharmasiri, from the Interact Club of San Mateo High School, California, informed us about her Interact club and the various projects her club has been a part of. It was inspiring to hear that they have, as such young members, participated in worldwide projects that have a large impact.

Afterwards, Our Secretary, Rtr. Ranishka, opened the floor to our two Professional Development directors, Rtr. Ashenka and Rtr. Naduni to introduce the fun they had planned: to help all the members get together and have a fun time while getting to know each other and break the ice.

The first ice breaker was something that had us all jumping through hoops. Members were divided into teams of twelve into five groups. It started out by members having to pass a hula-hoop which they had to be jumping through, all the while holding hands. This tested the skill of agility and being able to coordinate well with the other person to work to achieve a common goal. We had quite a few tall, well-built boys, who had an interesting way of getting through the loop or rather making sure that the loop didn’t completely overpower them. The first group to finish leaping through the hoops was indeed our IPP Rtr. Kushan Yapa’s team which was indicated by a very loud roar of victory from himself followed by his team.
Secondly, we had an interesting game of Pop the Balloon. There was a small catch- you had to run to the chair placed at the end and sit on the balloon to pop it. Those of us who didn’t participate were in fits of laughter all through out. Some members were very forceful in sitting down and popping the balloon while some were less forceful and were left floating awkwardly on the chair trying. One we noticed specifically was our Membership Development director Rtr. Sandali.
The third but last ice breaker for the day had to be on volunteer basis due to an influx of members that day. There volunteered the eager innocents who had no idea what they were getting themselves into as they were being blindfolded. After being blindfolded and placed in a circle of chairs blocking their movement to just half a circle, they were told balloons will be released into this space and they would have to pop them. As soon as the game started there was popping almost immediately but not by those within the circle. The little factor our organizers kept from themselves was, the balloons won’t actually be given to them but be popped by our remaining members outside the circle. The innocent members were all left wandering around, trying to find these balloons that were being mysteriously popped seemingly by the other players. After the blindfolds came off, they all had a laugh because some had even come out of the circle of chairs in their drive to find the balloons and win.
As the meeting adjourned, the members, old and new, among goodbyes being thrown around, there was talk of a great time they had and how glad they were they had joined the Rotaract family. 

Article by Co-Editor Rtr. Chayangi Kannangara

Rotaract Year & New Beginnings

The Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawela Defense University calls upon its members to a special meeting on the 5th of July 2017.

With another spectacular Rotaract year coming to a close, it was time again to renew the oaths, goals and memories, as a set of enthusiastic Rotaractors awaited to be assigned their appointments in the committee to kick start a new Rotaract year.
The meeting was held, in the most humbling manner, amidst its old and new members, within the university premises, where as a tradition, the meeting was initiated with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Nation and Rotaract Invocation given by the gathering. It was started off by the Immediate Past President, Rtr. Kushan Yapa, recapping briefly, the club’s events and activities which were conducted in the past Rotaract year; reminiscing the glory of the club’s accomplishments. Special recognition was given to the club’s signature project KUDA OYA, as well as many other significant projects such as BURN, CURE, #EMPOWER etc. The Immediate Past Secretary, Rtr. Lekangi Perera, joined in to extend gratitude to the hard-working club members for their support and contribution to the projects, as well as to extend her well wishes to the newly appointed commitee.

The outgoing president then passed off the gavel to his successor, Rtr. Ravindu Jayakody, to take over the responsibility of guiding and leading the new committee into another exciting year of dedicated service and fellowship to the community. Soon after followed by the introduction of the new Secretary, Rtr. Ranishka Ratnasekara. Amidst all formalities, there occurred a light-hearted moment as Hasani Gunasekara, Director for Professional Development for the previous year, took a few minutes to deliver an account of how wonderful it had been to work hand in hand with the IPP and his committee.

Finally, most anticipated moment of the meeting had arrived- appointment of the executive committee and the board members. The following members were entrusted to take upon duties and responsibilities of the club, as the newly appointed President announced:-

Vice-President: – Salinda Samarakoon
Vice-President: – Cadet Officer Udeepa Hettiarachchi
Vice-President: – Heshan Wijayagunawardane
Assistant Secretary: – Hasani Gunasekara
Editor: – Chayangi Kannangara
Editor: – Vibodha Rathnayake
Sergeant-at-Arms: – Ramitha Miyuranga
Directors for Club Service: – Rukmi Jayawardane, Rajith Samarasekara
Directors for Community Service: – Harith Samarasinghe, Senuri Gunetilleke
Directors for Public Relations: – Malinthi Perera, Raveen Fernando
Directors for Finance: – Sammani Dunuwila, Shara Meedin
Directors of IT: –  Kaveesha Erangith, Lahiru Attanayake
Directors for Membership Development: – Sandali Gurusinghe
Directors of Professional Development: –  Ashenka de Silva, Naduni Fonseka
Directors of Sports: – Pamoda Hettiarachchi, Hiran Sameera
Directors for International Relations: –  Rushinie Ranasinghe, Gayeshan Jayasundera.

There was a clear-cut support felt in the air emanating from the crowd of members present towards the newly appointed committee.
Both IPP and IPS, for their immense service and dedication to the club, were given tokens of appreciation and was once again congratulated for completing the past Rotaract year with much grandeur and success. Thereafter, the meeting was conducted as usual as the newly appointed President laid out future plans and briefed on the upcoming events while encouraging the members to expand the club membership and delivering uplifting words of inspiration to the appointed committee members.
The meeting was thus successfully concluded as the gathering scattered with hearts content and their minds’ wheels already turning with creative plans for the future.

Article by Co-Editor Rtr. Vibodha Rathnayake


Project C.U.R.E BnS Up-Close and Personal Concert

The Musical Concert led by Bathiya and Santhush was the first time in which a Rotaract Club of District 3220 organized such an event as the “BnS- Up-close and Personal concert.” The concert which took place on the 3rd of May 2017 at the BMICH.
A warm night breeze hung thick over Colombo that night. Despite the heat and the fatigue that comes with it after a tiring day of work and university lectures, hundreds of people both young and old scurried into the hall eager for the show to begin. They came anticipating an evening of fine music and entertainment. This was the Big Concert: the phase 2 of the project C.U.R.E.
The evening brought big news too: the Rotaractors of KDU were ecstatic to find out five minutes before the show that they were left with a mere 20 tickets to sell! The members had worked tirelessly for months on end to ensure that the funds necessary to complete the project C.U.R.E would be collected, and there hard was duly rewarded. It was just a matter of sitting backstage, relaxing and enjoying the show.
Bathiya and Santhush need no special introduction. The reaction of the crowd when the curtains were drawn spoke volumes on how successful the concert would be. From beginning to end the audience sang along to the songs of old and new, while the audience in the balcony wasted no time sitting as they danced along to the tunes and beats that were all too familiar. The energy resonating throughout the concert was truly spectacular and was felt immensely by the performers on stage who couldn’t help but notice what a great time the crowd was having.
Randhir, Umariya, Bathiya, Santhush and Ashanthi lit up the stage with their lively performances and talent, bringing on an encore at the end of each and every song, keeping the audience on their feet dancing the night away.
The concert was a success and needless to say it ended up carrying on for an additional half hour as the artists couldn’t get enough of the vibrant audience.
The B n S concert which was organized as a “vision to action” initiative in order to raise funds for the Thalassemia project C.U.R.E has been one of the biggest and most successful fundraiser organized by the Rotaract Club of KDU.

Article by Co Editor Rtr.Shenelle Perera.

Caroling for a cause -Evening Tea Party at The Pamunugama Orphanage.

“Caroling for a Cause 2015” was an initiative of RCKDU to raise funds in order to provide essentials to the children of the inmates at the Walikada prison. Having completed the prison project successfully, Rotaractors of KDU decided on having “Caroling for a Cause 2016” for the second consecutive time in order to provide essentials for orphans at the Pamunugama Child Development Centre.
The 28th of February 2017 was a much anticipated day for the young Rotaractors of KDU. It was precisely 2 months prior to this date that the enthusiastic Rotaractors put on their Santa hats and set off caroling from door to door to collect funds for the Pamunugama Child Development Centre.
The Rotaractors arrived at the Child Development Centre on a beautiful Sunday evening, and were met by 52 eager, smiling, hopeful girls, who called this Child Development Centre their home.
The funds collected through “caroling for a cause 2016” enabled us to provide dry rations, sanitary necessitates, as well as ceiling fans to the center. The highlight of the event was when the girls found out that an evening tea party and sing along was a part that evenings agenda.
In order to better acquaint ourselves with our new found friends, we spent time playing games and chatting in the garden, which we enjoyed immensely! Later that evening, they sat in eagerness until the tea party began, and feasted on cakes and savories and a nice hot cup of tea that they enjoyed thoroughly. The sing along session was an even bigger success, as the girls fought for an opportunity to sing their favorite song and entertain the audience present that day. It truly was a blissful evening full of smiles as the girls of the Pamunugama Child Development Centre thanked us profoundly for spending our Sunday evening with them, when in fact it was us who should thank them for the wonderful entertainment and fun shared with us!

“…hurtful words are such that pierce the heart and weigh the soul.”

There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. Both you and I for sure have come across moments where our emotions are crippled and hope is shattered by words of cruelty. Words seems to take the character of a weapon to manipulate one’s thinking in order to condemn their behavior which would ultimately cause emotional breakdowns and poor self- esteem in many people. You could even be a victim of verbal abuse if you live alone because if your self-talk, the voice in your head, diminishes you or your belief in yourself in any way, then you subject yourself to verbal abuse when you allow your inner critic to put you down. No one, anywhere, is immune to verbal abuse. Name calling, putting down, hurling insults, making “fun”, harsh criticism, and one-upmanship and so on can seem to be the “norm”. But in the context of a relationship and combined with manipulation and denial it becomes very dangerous and damaging to anyone.

In Sri Lanka, women face the threat of verbal abuse at work, at home, at school, on the road, or walking through a park, and lasts with nothing to prevent it. In fact defending one’s self against abusive comments puts women in a position to be judged as misbehaving and they are often expected to ignore verbal harassment taken place in the streets. In most societies objectifying women is often misinterpreted to be a sign of masculinity. In such way women are much prone to be harassed verbally as serious as they are prone to physical abuse.

In Sri Lanka, cases of verbal abuse against women are seldom discussed or taken action against. The society as a whole lacks an adequate idea about adverse effects caused by verbal harassment against women. Where the topic physical abuse receives a paramount status for discussion, consequences of verbal abuse against women are often left unaddressed.

Bearing the thought of how Sri Lankan women face the incurable threat of verbal abuse, RCKDU took an initiative to raise awareness with regard to the consequences of verbal abuse against women and why verbal abuse should be condemned and prevented. Project EMPOWER was the ultimate movement to create awareness that as much as physical abuse, verbal abuse too is an incurable epidemic in the society. Withholding, countering, discounting, verbal abuse disguised as jokes, blocking & diverting, accusing & blaming, judging & criticizing, trivializing, undermining, threatening, name calling, forgetting, ordering, denial, abusive anger, all these amount to verbal harassment and carry gravity to afflict women as much as physical abuse does.

The Club’s intended to remind the society that women are strong, courageous, intelligent, inventive, thriving and words shouldn’t be used as a tool to undermine them or manipulate them in an abusive manner. Hence empowering women to stand against verbal abuse, to promote self-love by building self-esteem was the ultimate goal of project “EMPOWER”.

Social media has become a powerful tool for igniting new movements from generations’ long conversations. Online hash tags and tech-ins, tweets, blog posts and inventive use of new media have forced attention on interpersonal violence issues including rape-kits, street harassment and domestic violence. As much as these online movements focus on major issues obviously visible in the society RCKDU this time focused about yet another major issue though prevalent but invisible or neglected in the current society.

The specialty of this project was that it was carried out solely via Facebook and Instagram throughout the month of November. The participants (men and women) were to upload a self-portrait photograph (selfie) with a common description and were to tag their other friends on Facebook in order to carry out the same act as a movement for awareness. In addition to that, posts which contained various facts on verbal abuse such as causes and consequences were posted and shared via the Facebook page “EMPOWER”.

A popular modern day cliché –“selfies” were the driving force of “EMPOWER”. The club’s intent of putting it to good use on social media to capture the attention of the public made a great impact on raising awareness about “verbal abuse against women” that is taking place in our society.

Another important feature of “EMPOWER” was that RCKDU was able to collaboratively carry out this project with the participation of influential celebrities in the modern day. The present generation is more willing to follow the path of the inspirational characters. They give a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation. Bearing this in mind RCKDU took the initiative to join many eminent figures in the field of sports, cinema, art, entrepreneurship, in Sri Lanka. They too took part in this movement by either posting a short video clip sharing their personal views and experiences on “verbal abuse”, or a self-portrait with a description on their personal views why verbal abuse against women should be condemned.

Our principle goal was to remind the general public that ladies are solid, gallant, insightful, imaginative, and flourishing and words can’t undermine her. Thus words should not be used in an abusive way to jeopardize their way of thinking or behaving but in a way to empower them; to highlight their true potential and not their insecurities.

By “likes”, “shares” of posts on Facebook and Instagram that exceeded hundreds in number, and the appreciations,support received by many inspiring characters and fellow rotaractors, it is safe to say that, as a young set of Rotaractors we succeeded in raising awareness among general public.
EMPOWER, to a great extent, was able to inculcate in young minds that verbal abuse has grave consequences just like other forms of abuse and we should be mindful in using our words to express judgment.

Sisu Saviya : “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving”

The world, classified as per societies unfortunate standards and directives, consists of the “haves” and the “have nots.” The criteria which classifies each individual into one or the other is vastly subjective.
If I were to ask you to classify yourself as a have or a have not, I would assume that the mere fact that you do not own the latest I Phone or the trendiest and latest fashion outfit would make you think of yourself as a have not. I know I would. Society would.
Consider for a moment a scenario in which you had to long for a pair of shoes to wear to school, or a book in which to write your school notes. Sadly, I would find it rather difficult to ever imagine myself in such a situation, hypothetical though it may be. Is it the lottery of birth which denies or grants us the luxuries in which we live? What then of those who in reality long for a set of books to take to school? Are they the have not’s? Or are we? What makes us equal other than the fact that we human?

Education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the greatest equalizer of the conditions of men, – the balance-wheel of the social machinery.
As part of our commitment to the sustainability of this equalizer, the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University took up the charge of helping, supporting and promoting education among the students from grades 9 to 11 of Kuleegoda Sumana Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda, through the project titled “Sisu Saviya,” an annual project of the Club. The chairpersons for the Sisu Saviya project 2016 were Rtr. Renzie Thajudeen and Rtr. Ranishka Ratnasekara.

The students of Kuligoda Sumana Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda were nothing but smiles when we arrived at the humble school in the early morn of the 24th of October 2016. Students from grades 1 to 11 were accommodated at the school, and inquisitive eyes followed us as we unpacked boxes from the bus. A warm welcome awaited us at the main hall which was filled on that day with 60 students from grades 9 and 10. The members of the club were seated nervously on the stage as we were unaccustomed to such honorable recognition and treatment. The principal of the school as well as a head teacher addressed the gathering and doused the student’s curiosity by affirming that we had indeed visited them to gift them with whatever it was that lay inside the boxes. Excited whispers and chatter echoed through the hall as the students stared longingly at the boxes, wondering what could be inside. I couldn’t help thinking then of how beautiful life would be if we could be content with the simple things.

The president of the club Rtr. Kushan Yapa addressed the gathering and emphasized on the fact that what we had for them in those boxes, although small in value, would someday be invaluable to them depending on the choices they made in their life. He also went on to state that there was no such thing as haves and have not’s, although society would seem to think so. Regardless of what we lacked in life, should we chose to make this an excuse we would fail. He stressed on the value of education and how each and every student in that hall could be anyone they wanted to be, should they chose to work towards it. The students listed intently with smiles on their faces as he spoke on, and when the moment came for the distribution of the little gifts inside the boxes, the happiness in the air could be felt even to the weariest of souls. The students lined up eagerly and gratefully accepted the neatly wrapped bundle of exercise books we handed out to them.
The next part of the day was to focus on the students of the school sitting for the Ordinary Level Examination. They were handed out past papers and a seminar was conducted in order to help them with their exam which was only a month away. The students treated us as equals, addressing us as “akki” and “ayya” which created a sense of comrade amongst us all.

The project Sisu Saviya, unlike any other project done by the Club, helped us rather than it helped those we intended to help. Rotaract has thought me to never be surprised by the lessons one could learn from those we so wrongly fully call the “less privileged.” I often find myself wondering as to what privilege really means. Is it having everything one could want? Or is it having nothing and feeling no want? We often lose the small joys in life, the little contentment’s, in the hope of bigger happiness.

Consider once again a scenario in which you had to long for a pair of shoes to wear to school, or a book in which to write your school notes….