“A person’s most beautiful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help.” - Unknown
Though the pearl of the Indian Ocean abounds with a plethora of passionate, multiskilled, and brilliant young brains, due to the lack of knowledge of higher education or the dearth of motivation, some of those blossoms give up on blossoming and cage themselves, melting away their potential. When we are in a position where we can lend an ear or hand to them to strengthen their tiny wings and navigate them, we are responsible to go the extra mile to show them that there is a hidden rainbow in them that is waiting to shine.
Establishing another milestone of the meritorious journey of the Community Service avenue of Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa, project “Shalom'' was carried out as a sub-project under the project “Connecting the Dots”. Shalom was dedicated to helping the children of the Catholic community in the city of Negombo by lighting a path for them to set their goals for higher education and their future life. Shalom extended its hands to the students who had just sat for their G.C.E. Ordinary Level examinations and for those who are anticipating to sit for the G.C.E. Advanced Level examinations in the coming years.
On the 18th of April, on the day of the project, a team representing Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa departed for Negombo and the team from Rotaract Club of Negombo wholeheartedly welcomed us at Munnakarei Church Sunday School. After organizing the final preparations, the session carried out with the proceedings on the importance of pursuing higher education and how a tertiary education supports one’s career and growth in a dynamic job environment. Rtr. Pankaja Uyangoda, who is a motivational speaker and an undergraduate of the University of Moratuwa, lighted up the session by delivering the inaugural speech with a heads up about the subject for discussion, firing up the enthusiasm of the students who were there as the participants.
Thereafter, our team conducted a mentoring program for the students, by dividing them into groups and allocating our team members to have a discussion with them. Those little budding blossoms with passionate eyes who had always eagerly waited for a chance to get to know about the paths they can pursue, spent those hours with us sharing their dreams and desires, and inquiring about the steps they need to take in order to achieve their goals. Our team also shared all the experiences and the knowledge they had obtained on higher educational pathways and the opportunities each stream can provide which could help the after-O/Ls students to find an ideal stream for the Advanced Level examination according to their desires as well. They also did not forget to share study tips and ways to balance studies and one's mental health, with the students. Furthermore, we collected details of them such as their contact details and further clarifications they requested regarding higher education opportunities, with the intention of contacting them later and guiding them further to clarify their doubts.
The conclusion of the session was marked by making a book donation to the Munnakkarei Church Sunday School. As we came to the end of the session, the teachers expressed their gratitude, appreciating the step we took and encouraging the Rotaractors to go even further to light many other lamps in the future. Lastly, as we took a lovely group photo marking the end of the session and in hopes of adding onto our Rotaract diaries, the lovely and impassioned goodbye we received from all the students spoke out loud that at the end of the day, we were able to help them by some means to craft their own success stories and successfully achieve the objectives of this initiative.
The day’s lineup did not meet the end after the conclusion of the session. Seizing the exceptional, rare opportunity we got to conduct a physical joint project with our very own Rotaractors and our colleagues from Rotaract Club of Negombo, the last proportion of the agenda was allocated for an exhilarating experience mixed with fellowship. A boat ride along the Negombo Lagoon was the subsequent event of the day which offered a chance for us to capture the captivating, stunning surroundings and sights of the city of Negombo. Hours on a beautiful tour with fellow Rotaractors opened the doors for chit-chats amongst each other which was able to switch the atmosphere of the gathering from a complete strangers’ mode to that of age-old, close-knit buddies. Not only that, the ride was an ideal opportunity to start off some discussions about the history and the famous tourist spots of the lagoon.
The next destination was one of the largest cathedrals in Sri Lanka, the St. Mary’s Church - a Roman Catholic church. During the visit, the members of our club got to learn about the historical value of the church and some old stories on the Catholic religion. After relishing a delicious lunch at the restaurant ‘Ceylonian’, the sundown of the day earmarked a musical session where the President of Rotaract Club of Negombo turned the whole atmosphere into a melodious one with his guitar and all the rest bolstered it up into a full-flavored and fun-filled sing-along. At the end of the day, we were able to build long-lasting friendships that beautify the similar meritorious paths we take as Rotaractors to serve above ourselves, just like the sprinkles on top of the ice-creams we were served before waving goodbye to our friends from Rotaract Club of Negombo, enhanced their colorfulness and sweetness.
Shalom opened up with an opportunity for the Rotaractors of Rotaract Mora and Rotaract Club of Negombo to unit their efforts under a shared vision to reach students who need guidance to achieve their future goals while motivating them to dream bigger. Project Shalom is just a single step towards illuminating the lives around us while stabilizing and strengthening the foundation of fellowship as Rotaractors. Rotaract Mora is sure to continue to write down more meritorious chapters that can bring smiles to the blossoms across our country in the future as well.