To see the joy in the children’s eyes| Caroling for a Cause

What could be more fun and enjoyable for a bunch of 20-year-olds than to gather up and spend some quality time talking, singing, cracking jokes and reminiscing while munching on some yummy snacks? And imagine if all that energy is put towards a charitable cause, how contented we all would be!

“Caroling for a Cause” 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” this year for the second consecutive time in order to provide essentials for orphans.

It was a piece of cake for us to gather up and run through few of the most popular carols with the talented choristers and the guitarists in the club. Dressed up in red, white and black with the “Santa hats” we were all in the Christmas spirit to go from door to door singing carols.

We simply loved it; to see the families gather in their halls to watch us sing and to witness the breathtaking interior Christmas decors in each house. They all were truly entertained, it was obvious from the way they all swayed, tapped their feet and mouthed the words along with us. Some even served yummy Christmas cake and soft drinks!

Every minute spent with the fellow Rotaractors preparing to sing and walking door to door singing carols was enjoyable. We did what we loved, it was tireless because we had fun spending time together singing and hoping to provide the ones in need with essentials in the coming New Year.
Coming home that night past mid night, it got me thinking… “This is exactly why I love Rotaract, it brings all of us together to put a smile on the faces that need to feel delighted in a season like this.”

We all felt much contented in ending 2016 with a blast, putting all our youthful enthusiasm for a charitable cause. The moments we spend together are never dull, each one of us definitely knows how to stay happy and make others happy and that makes being a Rotaractor worthwhile. 🙂

Article by Co-Editor M.Pasqual

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Escape the Ordinary | Kuda Oya 2016

Month of December, as we all know it, is the month of festivity, glamour and vacation. It’s the end of a calendar year where most of us love to wrap up themselves on bed or gather around with family to take some time away from their busy schedules, enjoy the festive season with friends and re-energize to start another new year. As for the young KDU Rotaractors, this December was all about stepping out of their comfort zone with their fellow Rotaractors to take the most awaited trip to “KUDA OYA”.

For me, even though KUDA OYA 2K16 was my second time every little thing felt adventurous as it was my first. The best feeling about going to the Commando Regiment Training School with fellow Rotaractors once again, was that, it felt like going “home”. The warm welcome given by the officers and the early morning “sweet” tea has so much to say about how “homely” Kuda Oya is for me.

The Commando Regiment Training School in Uva Kuda Oya is originally the home for brave Commandos of our country, where they are groomed to be skilled with extraordinary strength, fearlessness, courage and motivation to face any battle and bear in mind that “Nothing is Impossible”. Hence for us, facing at least a wee bit of the challenges that the commando trainees face was actually something to brag about.

Kuda Oya was the place to set aside your fears and unleash the adventurous soul that hide within you because of your mundane daily routine at home or work. If you are an “adrenaline junkie” and would love to feel your heart racing with excitement, I guarantee that KUDA OYA is the ideal place for you.

Even though I’m yearning to share interesting details about KUDA OYA, on a collective agreement we are determined not to give out any spoilers for those who haven’t yet been a part of Kuda Oya. It’s all about experiencing than explaining. But I’m pretty sure all those who were a part of Kuda Oya had so much to share with their loved ones.

Thanks to all the “selfies”, new friends we’ve made in Kuda Oya and all the little stories we could laugh about for hours, Kuda Oya once again paved the way for Rotaractors to cherish a whole lot of memories. Next time when those Rotaractors meet, I’m pretty sure they would start their conversations saying “Remember at Kuda Oya…” in reminiscing the adventures.

“Life is for Strange Adventures, Midnight Swims, and Rambling Conversations.” Until next time, keep in mind that, “an adventure awaits you at Kuda Oya”. 😉

Article by Co-Editor Rtr. M Pasqual.

“…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….

International Food Festival – A celebration for the soul.

For the many of us who live glued to computer keyboards at work, TV monitors at home, and mobile phones, food may be more than entertainment. It may be the only sensual experience left. Food is our common ground, a universal experience.
The “International Food Festival,” an International Understanding Project organized by the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University held on the 01st of October 2016 at the University premises in Ratmalana was indeed a celebration for the soul.
Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture. With this in mind, the Club was able to provide an array of cuisines ranging from the Maldives, India, Bhutan, Rwanda, the Middle East, Nepal, Africa, Belgium, as well as Western dishes cooked up by our very own university students, both foreign and local, for the second consecutive year, celebrating cultures from around the world!
The event was open to the parents, family and friends of all university students, who were eager to yet again experience what the budding chefs of the University had to offer, ranging from Medical students to Law students and Engineers, who cooked their hats off from 9am till 5pm, satisfying the bellies of over 500 people! Each stall representing the mentioned countries offered a spread of dishes which represented the culture of their countries, cooked on the spot by the students, who were dressed in their respective national outfits creating a truly spectacular ambiance and spreading the festive mood. Passers-by watched in awe as students expertly placed dishes and beverages before them that looked mouth-watering and tasted divine, awakening the pallet and introducing new flavours and fragrances that most happy customers have never before seen or tasted in Sri Lanka!
The Rotaractors too put up their very own stall, selling Virgin Mojitos and Ice creams and Milk shakes to passers-by. The members could be seen squeezing lemons and pounding mint leaves to cater to the customers who were eager to quench their thirst with a fresh beverage while little children, not to forget adults, waited in line to get their hands on an icy cold milkshake topped with sprinkles and nuts. It was indeed a successful celebration of Cultures and food for the soul!
Stay tuned for the next Annual International Food Festival organized by the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, and watch us cook up something spectacular (Pun intended!)

Inspiring young minds.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

For us KDU Rotaractors, it’s not only charity that matters to make our badge of Rotaract worthwhile for we believe that guiding the young minds into doing what’s right and what they love is also a valuable service.
Bearing this thought, the Rotaract Club of KDU, joining hands with SL2College organized a Career Guidance Seminar for the Undergraduates of the Faculty of Management in order to uproot our primary objective of guidance within our KDU community.

SL2College is an educational non-profit organization endorsed by the Ministry of Education, established with the objective to “help Sri Lankan students with their higher education goals by providing information and guidance as necessary”. SL2College comprises a well-educated set of volunteers as its member team who have the expertise of conducting informational seminars at local universities and schools across Sri Lanka.

SL2College team provides guidance on professional and vocational qualifications required to excel in the intended career paths of undergraduates. RCKDU coordinated with SL2College member Saiyaff Farouk in organizing the seminar.
The seminar took place on the 21st of September from 2.45pm to 5.30 pm at the Main Auditorium of KDU. As planned the seminar consisted of four presentations done by four speakers of SL2College.

The first speaker, Isuru Senadheera is a Tech lead at 99X technology who graduated from The University of Moratuwa and was also a Past District President at Leo Club 306A2. His presentation was on “Resume Building and Social Media Presence”. His presentation was quite informative in a way that the audience was able to learn a lot of minute but important details about preparing a resume for a job interview. He spoke about the vital elements that should be included in a resume. He emphasized on the dos and don’ts that should be followed in preparing a resume for a job interview. When speaking about social media presence he pointed out the importance of maintaining proper social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook in a way that they would portrait your skills and achievements.

Shafraz Rahim, administrative director at SL2College and Senior Executive for product and services innovation at Dialog Axiata PLC, was the second speaker for the session. His presentation was on “Presentation and Interview Skills”. It was a quite interesting and had active participation of the audience. In a nutshell, he spoke of five vital characteristics that a good presenter should have and his demonstrations grabbed the attention of the audience thus proving himself to be an amazing presenter.

Next was a presentation on “Higher education opportunities and industry expectations” done by Erandi Thanippuliarachchi, a graduate from the Faculty of Law at University of Colombo who is currently working at the Ministry of Justice as an Intern. Her presentation mainly focused on the current job opportunities related to the field of management and what the young undergrads should achieve in order to face the competitive job world. She also mentioned specifically on choosing the correct and suitable career path, and doing what you are most passionate about.

The final presentation was done by Yasas Sri Wickramasinghe , a graduate of University of Moratuwa and a former Software Engineer Intern at 99X Technology. His presentation mainly focused on the introduction of the SL2College and how it has influenced him to succeed in his life. His speech was a great motivation for the audience full of undergraduates who were filled with hopes to follow their dream career path.

All of these presentations and speeches done by the SL2College was immensely beneficial for the undergraduates who participated. It is safe to say that they did learn a lot more about securing their career path and achieving what’s expected by the job market now a days and in the future.

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress but working hard for something we love is called passion. It was mutually understood that the guidance that these speakers gave, encouraged the undergrads to focus on their passions and achieve them through dedication.

As Rotaractors we hope that this project laid a successful initiative in inspiring the young minds and guiding them to excel in their career paths.

4th Installation Ceremony of Rotaract Club of KDU

Behind the scenes an anxious yet hopeful group of rotaractors anticipated the evening’s proceedings….
The Installation Ceremony of President Rtr. Kushan Yapa and his Board of Directors of the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University for the term 2016/17 was held on the 26th of September 2016 from 6.30 pm onwards at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University Auditorium.
One month before the date, the Board to-be along with the club members of the Rotaract Club of KDU rushed around in haste, organizing and re organizing the schedule for the event which was merely two weeks away. Time truly was of the essence as the Club expected nothing but perfection on this most prestigious day in the Rotaract calendar of KDU; the 4th Installation Ceremony of the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.
The theme for the club year 2016/17 was unanimously decided to be “Risk, Care, Dream, Achieve.” With just that in mind, there were speeches to be made, invitations to be sent out to external parties as well as decorations and the fellowship meal to be organized.
It seemed as though nothing would fall into place while behind the scenes an anxious yet hopeful group of rotaractors anticipated the evening’s proceedings…..
Registrations for the attendees of the installation began at 5.30 pm. There was much laughter and chatter outside the auditorium as fellow Rotaractors from many Rotaract Clubs around Sri Lanka mixed and mingled. A dance troupe comprising of the clubs very own members, along with the Sri Lanka Army Eastern Drum Troupe awaited the arrival of the dignitaries in much graceful glory. Upon the arrival of the personages, it seemed as though the moment had finally arrived.
The ceremony commenced with the lighting of the oil lamp by the dignitaries after which the installation was called to order by the Outgoing President Rtr. Kalana Jayantha, followed by the Flag Salutation, Rotaract Invocation, Four-Way Test and the Rotaract Song. The Chief Guest for the evening was the Vice Chancellor of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and one could see the pride in is yes and could hear the approval in his words as he addressed the gathering.
Project Co-Chairperson, Rtr. Ravishan Amerasinghe representing the project chairs, Rtr. Damin De Costa and Rtr. Omindu Lokuliyana, welcomed the gathering on behalf of the organizing committee.
The Secretary’s Report for the year 2015/16, delivered by Rtr Sadhika Jayasinghe, secretary for the Rotaract year 2015/16, brought about a sense of reminiscence amongst the club members both old and new, while pictures spoke a thousand words on the screen as the video footage of the report played on.
The outgoing president, Rtr. Kalana Jayantha addressed the gathering as he thanked his Board for a job well done and wished the best of luck to the incoming board.
Afterwards, the collaring of the Incoming President of the Rotaract Club of KDU for the year 2016/2017, Rtr. Kushan Yapa, took place, following an expressive introduction of the Incoming President given by Rtr. Maleesha Pasqual, the co-editor for the year 2016/2017.

The address by Rtr. Kushan Yapa, in a nutshell, spoke of how nothing could be achieved without taking risks. Every achievement being a result of somebody’s dream. And how through our dreams we achieve our goals and how goals are nurtured through caring, which highlighted further the theme selected for the year 2016/17.
Next on the agenda was the much awaited moment; the induction of the new Board. Each newly appointed Board member walked proudly onto stage and accepted their badge of duty.
The address by the District Rotaract Representative (DRR) Past President Rtr Mohamed Husni which was followed by the address by the District Rotaract Committee Chairperson (DRCC) Paul Harris Fellow Rtn. Sanjeewa Fernando shared with all attendees’ wisdom and words of encouragement or all future endeavors.

In order to break away from formalities, an entertainment item by the winners of the “Most Popular Award” at the Friends in Action Talent Competition 2016, “Hexatonic”, got the crowds tapping their feet and singing to the beats of a medley of well renowned songs.
The address by the Guest of Honor, PHF Rtn. Selvarajah Maherakanth, District Youth Service Chair, followed thereon.
While the formalities for the day drew to a close, and tokens of appreciation were handed out to pay tribute to the dignitaries for being present on this significant day, thereon opening the floor for felicitations from all the clubs present in the audience.
The secretary for the years 2016/ 2017 Rtr. Lekangi Perera delivered the Vote of thanks which was followed by the singing of the National Anthem, bringing to close the installation.
The night however was still young for us young Rotaractors. Needless to say, the next most anticipated affair for the night was the Refreshments and Fellowship dinner. The Rooftop dinner organized for all attendees with food and drink was enjoyed the most by the newly elected Board, as they finally relaxed and sat own to have a meal, having successfully carried out the Installation Ceremony which had now come to an end.
It was however only the beginning.
As the well renowned rapper Tupac Shakur once said happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.
And to quote the words of Rtr. Kushan Yapa, “let us all RISK more than others think it’s safe, CARE more than others think it’s wise, DREAM more than others think its practical and ACHIEVE more than others think it’s possible!”

Dignitaries present at the 4th Installation Ceremony of the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.

• Chief Guest -Rear Admiral JJ Ranasinghe, Vice Chancellor of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University
• Guest of Honor– PHF Rtn. Selvarajah Maherakanth, District Youth Services Chair
• Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university – Major General Ruwan Kulathunga
• Dean faculty of graduate studies Brigadier RGU Rajapaksha
• Dean Faculty of Defence and strategic Studies Colonel WTWG Ihalage
• District Rotaract Committee Chairperson PHF Rtn. Sanjeewa Fernando
• President of the Rotary Club of Millennium city PHF Rtn. Dayanki Chadrasekara
• District Rotaract Represntative PP Rtr Mohamed Husni
• Immediate Past District Rotaract Represntative PP Rtr. Sathiyeandra T’singham
• District Rotaract Represntative elect PP Rtr. Anuradha Senanayake
• Officer in charge of RCKDU Lt. Commander DMS Jayathilake
• Outgoing president – Rtr. Kalana Jayantha
• Outgoing Secretary- Rtr Sadhika Jayasinghe
• Incoming president – Rtr. Kushan Yapa
• Incoming Secretary- Rtr Lekangi Perera
• Project chairperson Rtr Ravishan Amerasinghe on behalf of the co- project chairperson Rtr. Damin De Costa and Rtr Officer Cadet Omindu Lokuliyana

List of Board members of the Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University 2016/17
President – Rtr.Kushan Yapa
Secretary – Rtr.Lekangi Perera

Vice Presidents
Rtr.Ravishan Amerasinghe
Rtr.Damin de costa
Rtr.Omindu Lokuliyana

Asst. Secretary
Rtr.Kavindya Arachchi

Co Editors
Rtr.Maleesha Pasqual
Rtr.Shenelle Perera

Treasurer
Rtr.Glen Perera
Sergeant at arms
Rtr.Hettiarachchi

Community Service
Rtr.Chayangi Kannangara
Rtr.Madree Perumunugama
Club Service
Rtr.Renzie Thajudeen
Rtr.Ranishka Ratnasekara

Finance
Rtr.Nipuna Illangamage
Rtr.Nathasha Pathirana

International Understanding
Rtr.Tharani Mayadunne
Rtr.Salinda Samarakoon

IT
Rtr.Pruthuvi Perera

Professional Development
Rtr.Ravindu Jayakody
Rtr.Hasani Gunesekara

Public Relations
Rtr.Sammani Dunuwila
Rtr.Vibodha Rathnayake

Membership Development
Rtr.Thyaga Gunasekara
Rtr.Hasintha Shashiranga

The best is yet to come.

A birthday is a time to reflect on a year gone by but it is more importantly a time, to set goals for the upcoming year.

On the 16th of September 2016, as we celebrated the 4th birthday of our beloved club in the usual goofy style which is only unique to us, we set up new goals for ourselves to conquer & made a game plan for success. Although age wise we may, still be considered young & somewhat inexperienced; we are anything but that, because it is not our age that defines our achievements but rather its the efforts we have put in that have paid off, proudly shown by & that will continue to be showing the growth of our club.

Serving the community is our primary endeavour but we also value the growth of our members as individuals. The ability & opportunities that present themselves to help in that growth, are more than abundant within the club. Helping these amazing, vibrant individuals grow, develop their skills & have new experiences that help them to view the world through a broad perspective, while hanging on to their morals & ethical codes, is something in our opinion, that will better prepare them to serve the community. As it is said, the significance of a man or woman is not what he or she attains but rather of what he or she longs to attain.

As the clichéd saying goes, ‘United we Stand, Divided we Fall’, this saying is in fact very applicable to our club. When it comes to achieving goals, we need the support of each other to reach these goals & not just that, goal crushing becomes so much more enjoyable when it is done with a bunch of close friends. Friends, who have in time become as close as family.

So as our fourth club installation draws nearer, just six days away, we plan to achieve greater heights & raise the KDU flag to new horizons with the help of our ever talented & hardworking executive committee members, uniquely skilled board members & not forgetting our ever expanding number of dedicated club members. We promise to achieve our set goals to the best of our abilities while helping our people and society grow stronger.

We here at KDU Rotaract believe, that whatever with the past has gone & the best is always yet to come. Happy Birthday to Us & may we dare to dream & take a risk to achieve the impossible!

Risk | Care | Dream | Achieve

The Rain

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.”

There are two ‘i’s’ in Fundraising – they stand for inspiration and innovation.Atleast that’s what The Rotaract Club of General Sir John Kothelawala Defence University believes.

At the mention of the word fundraiser, it’s acceptable to hear a gamut of excuses as to why it should not be done. Merely mention raising funds to support an entire village meet their daily water needs, and you might find yourself in a situation where it’s just your idea amidst an empty room.

But then again, Martin Luther King didn’t get up 50 years ago and say: “I have a budget and a plan!”

The rain water harvesting project proposal would have been just another dream, had not the overly enthusiastic group of young Rotaractors of The Rotaract Club of KDU taken it upon themselves to make the dream a reality by hook or by crook. And so began the countless hours of thinking, planning, organizing, rethinking, re planning, and reorganizing.
“Burn” Ideas kept pouring in as to what Burn would be. A fundraiser no doubt, but the unspoken question on everyone’s mind was “can we pull off a fundraiser that would raise the funds we need for the rain water harvesting project?”

The rainwater harvesting project is a project initiated to provide the filtering systems needed to pump potable water to the areas affected by the hard water crisis in Sri Lanka. It is a well believed fact that the intake of potable water free from harmful solutes can greatly minimize the risk of chronic kidney diseases in individuals of areas affected by the hard water crisis.

In order to get the clogs moving, we decided on piling up ideas given by our members, and then settling on the best option/options. Should it be a musical show? A floating lantern festival? A fitness program? A basketball tournament?
Being the over enthusiastic and over optimistic youngsters we are, we decided to aim the bar high, surpass our comfort zones, and just go with it by giving our all. It was no surprise therefore when we decided to combine a Zumba Fitness Session along with a floating lantern festival ending with an epic DJ after party.
And so on the 21st of August, “Burn-phase 2” unveiled to the public, at the Race Course Grounds Colombo 7. An early morning start on the day was inevitable. There was a stage to be fixed, lights to be put up, and decorations to be set up and so on.

The evening encounter that was planned began with the Zumba Fitness Session conducted by Dharshan, a well renowned and established Zumba Instructor in the country. Due to his professional expertise he was able to conduct the Zumba dance session not only to enhance the wellness of the participants but also in a manner that was extremely fun and definitely worth the sweat. His passionate performance of Zumba attracted not only those who had come ready to dance (sweat pants and all) but also the kids and our very own club members in the audience, who felt impatient and excited to join in on the groove!

As the evening passed on it was time to start the most awaited “floating lantern festival”. Our guest of honor, the gorgeous Stephanie Siriwardhana, Miss Sri Lanka 2011, launched the very first floating lantern of the evening, and the rest of the crowd followed. As such festivals in Sri Lanka are a rare encounter, the crowd was very enthusiastic to send off their floating lanterns; some with their loved ones with romance in the air and others with their children and families. It was quite obvious how amidst the doubtful and impatient atmosphere, faces lit up with relief and enjoyment on seeing the lanterns they set off float in the night sky in picturesque beauty.

“Burn-phase 2” came to an end with an epic after-party and carnival. The DJ music, food and the ambiance created the “perfect carnival” for everyone to enjoy their Sunday evening before the new week started.
The atmosphere was static as the day moved on and everything began falling into place. With over 300 participants both young and old, we knew we had met our mark and they all, unknowingly or knowingly became a part of a wonderful cause to help a population of kidney patients to access potable drinking water. All those late night organizing and planning sessions seemed more than worth it, because “Burn” was a success beyond our greatest hopes. Pictures speak a thousand words. See for yourself.

It always seems impossible until it’s done. We would know. We achieved what we thought was impossible.

Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water….

The more you look into health and health inequalities, you realize that a lot of it is not due to a particular disease – it’s really linked to underlying societal issues such as poverty, inequity, lack of access to safe drinking water and housing.

The purpose of life is not only to be happy, for it is also to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. This thought is what made the young Rotaractors of KDU understand that lending a helping hand to persons affected by hard water crisis of certain communities in the dry zone of Sri Lanka would be an immense aid to provide them with potable water for a healthier living condition.  It’s hard for most of us to imagine that clean, safe water is not something that can be taken for granted. And yet, there are those of us who would give anything they possess for a sip of clean drinking water.

It has become a well-known fact that one of the major causes of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown etiology, shortly known as CKDu, is the continued intake of “hard water”. The dry zone of Sri Lanka is one of the key affected areas while the disease had been discovered in six out of the nine provinces of the country (Only the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces are free).

This disease condition leads to a gradual destruction of renal mass resulting in a complete kidney dysfunction which results in death. The disease consists of five stages out of which symptoms are only revealed in the third stage or after. A cure or a cause for the disease had not been discovered yet.

Hard water is usually defined as water, which contains a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. However, hardness can be caused by several other dissolved metals; those forms divalent or multivalent cations, including aluminum, barium, strontium, iron, zinc, and manganese. Consumption of “hard water” not only causes renal dysfunction as explained above but also considered to be a significant etiological factor around the globe causing many diseases such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, reproductive failure and neural diseases.

The only promising options for an affected individual are a kidney transplant or a periodical dialysis.

In Sri Lanka due to the prevailing socio- economic issues pertaining to lack of awareness, lack of education resulting in insufficient knowledge on contributory bad health habits subsisting in their communities, economic hardships faced by the their families since the main mode of income of the people in the affected areas is agriculture have made it difficult for the diseased persons to get access to proper treatment.

According to the research facts published in the Presidential Task Force Website for CKDu, 2015, about 2000 annual deaths and about 20000 new admissions to hospitals are reported at Government hospitals every year. Another major issue that the persons affected by adverse effects of hard water consumption is that, kidney transplants or dialysis facilities are not readily available in these areas. Patients have to travel to Kandy or Colombo hospitals for transplants and a similar distance problem exists for dialysis, which has to be performed three times a week. But more than that, they are unable to bear even minor scale travelling expenses.

Although the quality of water to be provided to these areas should be improved, there lies a barrier in obtaining suitable potable water in these rural villages.

It was these facts altogether that made our Rotaractors to look into this issue of CKDu as one of the best areas to invest the potential they carry and thus set hands on a project to provide potable drinking water to affected individuals.

Currently implemented solutions in Sri Lanka to establish a supply of good quality drinking water as one of the most important interventions for controlling the disease, include

  • Setting up small R.O (Reverse Osmosis) plants,
  • Bowser supply of potable water,
  • Service extensions from existing pipe water supply schemes to certain areas and rain water harvesting in areas where bowser supply is uneconomical.

 

Accordingly, R.O plants have been set up in 3 district secretariats (DS) of Anuradhapura and one DS of PolonnaruwaBowser supply is also done in in areas like Kabithigollawa, Medirigiriya, Badulla, Monaragala and Dehiattakandiya.

However due to expensive technological mechanisms needed to install and maintain these R.O plants and also due to the discharge of the effluent water containing toxic elements filtered by R.O filtration process, out back into the ground water, R.O. plants are unsustainable within the current ecological and socio-economic context of dry zone farming communities.

Therefore our specific concern is to resort to the implementation of Rain Water Harvesting Plants which are more affordable and more suitable for the dry zone farming communities.

Rain water harvesting plants are advantageous in many ways over R.O plants that it can be used as a solution in seasonally drought stricken areas and rain water is substantially free of salinity and other salts as well as impurities where any traces of microbes or other dust particles are only found in the first flush, which is deliberately allowed to pass out in any rain water harvesting model and is cost effective.

 

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another. Thus, the project “BURN” was set in motion in order to aid the persons affected by the hard water crisis in Mahiyanganaya area, by raising funds which will be utilized to implement Rain Water Harvesting Plants by installing storage tanks capable of holding 5000 liters which can supply a household consisting of 5 persons with potable water. (Approximately 20 liters of water per day for drinking and cooking purposes.)

The first phase of the project “BURN” was successfully completed. The Rotaract Club of KDU decided to take this project onto the next level and has come to present “BURN- Phase two” The Rotaractors of KDU are currently on the go with their fullest potential and enthusiasm to make a difference for the persons affected by the hard water crisis.

None of us want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand.We can’t change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but we can do our bit together hand-in-hand.CKDu proposal FINAL (1)CKDu proposal FINAL 2