Year end nostalgia!

It is one of those moments when the mundane saying ‘time flies’ actually makes sense. If you take a minute to take a quick look back at the pace of one year that lies right behind you, you will notice that you have changed, you have become more matured, become more confident, grown your social networks, grown taller or grown¬†fatter ūüėõ

So have we, as a club.

The Rotaract Club of KDU is about to complete its third year and altogether step into a brand new Rotaract Year with the rest of the fellow clubs. Looking back at the past Rotaract year, we have gained more experience, learnt and embraced the Rotaract culture, made new friends, ridden a few roller coaster rides, gathered more passionate souls and literally grown fatter.

Still belonging to the infant category in Rotaract, judging by how old our club is of course, it is with pride that we reminisce how we were able to bring new projects into being and improve our signature projects at the same time. This calls for a little nostalgic paragraph and here we go.

Ok so we started the year with the installation as usual and the accompanying kottu and hoppers dinner and loads and loads of photographs. Then we went to Galle for ‘Sisu Saviya’ book donation. It was truly an amazing trip and bet you still can remember the tickles of the fish therapy. Not to forget the coolest boat rides and the fascinating sundaes.

Then there was the time when we visited the zoo. The singing sessions we had with the kids at St. Anthony’s Children’s Home, Mount Lavinia. They were so good at it! We also did a project at the Welikada Prison with RC ANC and we hope everybody enjoyed it ūüôā

A big throwback to the amazing project Kuda Oya and a big shout out to everybody who dared to take part in it. It was indeed a great pleasure to have been able to extend the opportunity to as many Rotaractors from fellow clubs as possible and we know that each and everybody who took part in it already have a separate folder in their minds with the memories of all the adventures they came across. The third successful time of holding Chronicles of Navam and parading through the procession for two nights was enjoyable too. Among other projects also lies BURN: the three on three we pulled off as first timers and which ended up as a major fundraiser of the club.

Emerging as unbeaten champions at RCL set up our spirits higher!

Amidst all the fun and frolic, it was exceptional how the members acted promptly during the flood period this year and collected aid for the affected. The Down Syndrome Day art competition turned out to be a huge success too ūüôā

There were more projects that ended up quite successful and the above were only the highlights. It is with great happiness and satisfaction that we are getting ready to step into the brand new Rotaract year of 2016/17.

Meanwhile, the blog also turns one! ¬†:’)

Fingers crossed for a happening year to come round the corner!

Article by Rtr. Thamalee Wijekoon

Outgoing Editress ūüôā

Life is too short to wear matching socks

We are living in a world where everything is stereotyped¬†from¬†‘women can’t drive well’ to ‘if you wear Goth clothing, you are a drug addict’ and ‘only the students who are good at science or math succeed in school’. Living in such a community as a physically or mentally challenged individual should double¬†the burden of existence on them. The chances of such people being subjected to bullying, various harassments and discrimination are far more greater than the others because they are at a disadvantage when their capability of¬†fighting back is assessed. Protecting equality as a fundamental right for them means the rest of the community going an extra mile to lift their lives, so that they’ll be as¬†equally armed as the rest of us to wrestle in the ring of life.

The reason¬†why this article kept beating about the bush for a paragraph¬†now was to get your attention to a group of such individuals living among us who were not exactly¬†directly physically or mentally challenged but rather ‘genetically challenged’. Our concern here is the genetic defect of ‘Down Syndrome’; the trisomy of the 21st chromosome. When an egg gets fertilized by a sperm, the 23 chromosomes carried by the¬†sperm form pairs with the matching 23 chromosomes contained in the egg. This gives rise to a cell with a total of 46 chromosomes or 23 pairs, which is the number of chromosomes found in a normal cell in a normal human being. Sometimes an error occurs in the production of reproductive cells¬†(sperms and eggs) itself and as a result a sperm or an egg¬†might carry both the copies of the same chromosome in it. When such a reproductive cell fertilizes with a normal reproductive cell, the combination will result in a total of 47 chromosomes which means that there will be¬†three copies of one of the chromosomes instead of the 2 copies that should exist. It’s called a ‘trisomy’. When the trisomy of the¬†21st chromosome occurs it is called ‘Down Syndrome’.

Though the¬†biological error behind this condition is microscopic, the impact it leaves¬†on the life of a person¬†is certainly macroscopic; majorly judging by the way the society¬†perceives them. These individuals do get frowned¬†upon sometimes by some of those ‘genetically perfect’ individuals of the society, as ironical as it may sound.¬†This genetic defect leaves a person¬†with¬†retarded growth rates, lesser intellectual ability¬†in comparison to the others of his or her own age, cross eyes, heart defects, relatively lower life expectancy, infertility in most cases, short necks, poor muscle tone, short hands and feet and also certain¬†other characteristic deviations from normal appearance. We don’t wish to go on about them because those differences shouldn’t matter. But persons subjected to Down Syndrome are not in toto incapable. One can never predict how talented such a person is just by looking at the features his or her physique reflect. Their maturity may be slow but not totally non existent. This is a fact that the rest of the world should convince themselves when accepting and treating the particular individuals as no outcasts. The Downs Syndrome Day celebrations we recently took part in, made this statement explicit.

The ‘World Down Syndrome Day’ was celebrated on the 21st of March world wide and the¬†Rotaract club of KDU was¬†a proud participant of the Sri Lankan celebrations of the day organized by the Rotaract District 3220 together with the Kosala Dullewa Foundation. The event was held¬†at the Royal College Nawarangahala on the 27th of March 2016. The Rotaract Club of¬†KDU, together with the Faculty of Law of University of Colombo organized the “Sithaka Siththam- Colour My World” all island art competition where we displayed 800 drawings, all done by Down Syndrome affected individuals from all over the country. Many other events such as talent shows were also undertaken by other different clubs. We worked over several weeks trying to collect the drawings, preparing frames and so on which was all a little tedious but the end proved the effort to be fruitful.¬†There is no cure found to Down Syndrome yet since it is¬†a genetical disorder, but as¬†the probability of occurrence of the disorder in babies increases with the age of the mother, a control can be exercised by raising awareness. This is¬†exactly the purpose¬†of pulling off such a large scale event annually.

The reality for many is that prevailing negative attitudes result in low expectations, discrimination and exclusion, creating communities where children and adults with Down syndrome cannot integrate successfully with their peers. But where children with Down syndrome and other disabilities are given opportunities to participate, all children benefit from this and environments of friendship, acceptance, respect for everyone and high expectations are created. Not only this, but these environments prepare all today’s children for life as tomorrow’s adults, enabling adults with Down syndrome to live, work and participate, with confidence and individual autonomy, fully included in society alongside their friends and peers. РSays the Down Syndrome International.

Nobody in this world was created by nature to be perfect. So differences exist among us for a good reason. Genetics is the business of the nature to handle. But overlooking those differences is the business of the society to handle.

Life is too short to wear matching socks. Accept the differences because you can’t colour an¬†entire community with the same brush.

Project co-chairs:Rtr. Suchitta Witana & Rtr. Damin De Costa

Article by Rtr. Thamalee Wijekoon ūüôā