Grama Prabodhaya, the journey of empowering the village communities of Sri Lanka is another sustainable community service project which was launched six years back by the Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa. During the past six years project sustainably developed three rural villages of Sri Lanka to bring a better future for those amazing souls' lives. This year it passed another significant milestone by completing the third chapter of its journey. This journey began at Dunupothagama village, a beautiful but rural village in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.
During the last Rotaract year with the beginning of the third chapter of this journey, I got the chance to join this project as a member of Rotaract Mora. During that period we conducted physical seminars and “Star Seekers”, a star observation camp for the children of the Vidya Pradeepa Maha Vidyalaya. Through those projects, we met talented small souls who are hidden from the world. These amazing souls were trying to build a better future for their village but they lacked enough resources and facilities. They even didn’t have a shelter for their education. They studied under trees. But their spirit for learning never died. So, we started the “Sip Sewana” project to be a strength to their dream by providing shelter for their education. In addition to that, we donated few computers to the Vidya Pradeepa Maha Vidyalaya. But they didn’t have a proper IT lab. They just had a small room as a namesake “IT lab” which was more of a storeroom than anything. So, we thought to transform this room into a proper IT lab and for that, we started project “Digitalize”. Our target was to complete the “Sip Sewana” project and start the Digitalize project within the first phase of this chapter. But unfortunately with the pandemic situation, we had to break the projects without reaching our targets for the first phase.
During the first phase of this chapter, I got another opportunity to extend my service by co-chairing the “Healing Hands” project with Rtr. Thenuka Karunasiri. With this project, we were able to check the medical state of the villagers and provide necessary guidance and medicine for their healthy future. That day was the last day of the first phase of the Dunupothagama chapter of the Grama Prabodhaya. As I stated before we had to put a break for the Grama Pabodhaya after this project because of the pandemic situation and we were not able to continue the project again until the end of the last Rotaract year.
With the beginning of the Rotaract year 2020/21, I got the responsibility to drive this project as one of the Community Service Co-Directors. We started the second phase of this chapter intending to complete what we started and to do more service for the villagers. First, we visited the village to understand the current situation of existing projects and to identify the significant problems that the villagers faced. But still, we had to face lots of difficulties because of the situation of the country. But we continued our service and one of our chairs of this phase, living near to the village, was a constant source of strength to us. Last September we completed the “Sip Sewana” project by providing proper shelter for more than 80 students for their education.
Then we partner up with LSEG Technologies for the “Digitalize” project which is to renovate the IT laboratory of the school. Our members would able to complete the dream of littles souls in Dunupothagama village by providing a completely furnished IT laboratory. Painting, wiring and all the other stuff done by our very own members and they enjoyed it a lot while doing that. It’s not just enjoying the doing service but also having some late-night chats, playing at the lake, and many more fun stuff.
Usually, we conducted seminars for the village students but this year we got difficulties reaching them physically because of the COVID situation. But we didn’t let it stop our service and we brought life to the distance learning concept. We created a digital classroom and conducted virtual seminars for the children. Moreover, we launched the “Senehe Yathra” project to be a strength to the ladies who carry the future generation. Under that project, we were able to provide the necessary goods for their babies.
While doing all these projects we identified a huge problem that villagers are facing. They didn’t have pure drinking water facilities and that cause kidney diseases in that area. So we wanted to provide a pure drinking water facility to them. After several researches, we identified a location to install a water filter. We had several discussions with villagers. They even provided us a proposal regarding their requirements. Finally, we were able to install a water filter at Dunupothagama to provide a pure drinking water facility. The day we went there to install that filter we saw the happiness in the faces of all the villagers. All villagers got together to celebrate the first clean water drop they got from the filter.
During the journey of this Dunupothagama chapter of Grama Prabodhaya we met few amazing souls who work hard for the better future of others. Who spent their valuable time for others. The principal and teachers of Vidya Pradeepa Vidyalaya and the President and Secretary of “Suhanda Praja Muula Jala Samithiya” are a few of them.
Finally, we had the final visit of this chapter on the 20thof March 2021. School and villagers organized small ceremonies for us and they warmly welcomed us as always. The happiness of the villagers and children made us happier. That day was one of the happiest and most heart-touching moments in my Rotaract journey.
With this final visit, it came to the end of another unforgettable chapter of Grama Prabodhaya. This is the end of another unforgettable chapter but not the end of the journey. The journey of empowering village communities of Sri Lanka will continue
Grama Prabodhaya lives through the villagers.
I would like to conclude this with the small part of a song which was sung by a talented small soul of Vidya Pradeepa Maha Vidyalaya on the 20thof March at the final visit.
“When your dreams come alive you're unstoppable
Take a shot, chase the sun
Find the beautiful
We will glow in the dark
Turning dust to gold
And we'll dream