Farewell and Gratitude: Reflecting on Our Community Service Journey

Farewell and Gratitude: Reflecting on Our Community Service Journey

Community Service Reflection: Rtr. Manthini Attygalle, Co-Director

During my first year, I was curious about Rotaract. Seeing my friends from other faculties and universities as active members influenced me to join the club. While I was a member, I found myself particularly drawn to community service projects, which resonated with my lifelong passion for helping society. My first physical project was “Supipena Kekulu,”  which we did with a children’s home. I was amazed by how our former Community Service Director, Rtr. Buddhimali Parindya, managed the workload so well, even during exams. Watching her juggle all the responsibilities with such grace and dedication was truly inspiring. She showed me what it means to be passionate and committed, even when times are tough, and her ability to balance everything left a lasting impression on me.

My journey to becoming a co-director of the Community Service Avenue was a bit different from others. Initially, I didn’t apply for any position because I thought my contribution was insufficient during the last few months. However, when Kavindi Akki and Gethmi Akki approached me to take on this responsibility, I decided, “Why not?” And it’s a decision I don’t regret at all. I was paired with this tall and curly-haired girl, Amandi, someone I hadn’t worked with before. Initially, I was unsure if we would work well together, but it turned out that I had the best co-director I could ask for. Our synergy and mutual support made all the difference.

Throughout the year, we executed four projects. Our first was “Pruthivi” in August 2023, a tree plantation project done in collaboration with the Environmental Service Avenue at Arawwala Dharmapala Vidyalaya, focusing on SDG Goal 13: Climate Action. We learned that the school needed herbal plants for their garden, and with support from the Ayurvedic Department, we distributed 25 herbal plants and conducted an awareness session on the importance of herbal plants and SDG Goals. This project not only benefited the school by enriching their garden but also contributed positively to the environment by promoting sustainable practices and raising awareness about climate action. The impact was evident as students and staff became more engaged in environmental conservation efforts.

Our second and most cherished project was “Healing Hearts” in December 2023, focusing on mentally disadvantaged people at the National Institute of Mental Health. We began to plan this project in November. The first phase involved sharing awareness videos featuring district council members, counselors, and our club president to spread awareness about mental health issues. In the second phase, we cleaned and painted corroded beds, donated clothes, bed sheets, pillowcases, cups, and other items, and provided meals. We celebrated Christmas with the patients, aiming to make them feel inclusive and cherished since they are often excluded from society. This project had both short-term and long-term benefits, such as improving the living conditions in the ward and fostering a sense of community and inclusion. The project was also featured in Sinhala newspapers and on channels like ITN, highlighting its significant impact. More than 50 members participated, making it a huge success and leaving a lasting positive impression on the patients and staff.

Our third project, “Sparklean,” was a cleanup initiative that took place in March 2024. We cleaned the university premises, trimmed the grass, and donated a compost bin to the university cleaning staff. This project had a positive impact on the environment by promoting cleanliness and waste management. It also provided a more pleasant and livable environment for students and the staff, enhancing the overall aesthetic and hygiene of the university. The initiative fostered a sense of responsibility and pride within the university community in maintaining a clean and sustainable environment.

Our final project was a Vesak Dansala in May 2024, done in collaboration with Sports and Recreation Avenue. We distributed bread and seeni sambol to the public outside the university during the Vesak festival. The project was a huge success, drawing a large crowd and gaining a lot of merit. This had a significant social impact by fostering a sense of community and sharing during the Vesak season. It brought people together by promoting cultural traditions and offering support to those in need. The joy and gratitude expressed by the beneficiaries were heartwarming and reinforced the importance of community service.

Executing these projects was not easy and required the support of many people. First, I must thank my co-director, Amandi, whose support and communication made the workload manageable. For some good reason, we both had that weird habit of releasing stress by calling each other. So whenever one of us was feeling stressed by Rotaract responsibilities, no matter what time it was, we took a call and discussed what else was left on our bucket list. With that, we always made sure that we were not missing any tasks.

Special thanks to Jehan, Baagya, and Hiruni for their constant support and motivation, especially during challenging projects like Healing Hearts and the Vesak Dansala. I also want to thank Dhanuji for her money-saving tricks. Thanks to her, we saved at least a small amount on every project we did. LOL!

I thank Raziya, Sayuri, Sajani, and Kusali for tolerating us when we sent our posts and captions to proofread at the last minute, and Nirodha, Lihini, Savini, Hasini, Thusini, Ranosha, Lochana, Buddhi, Induwara, Abeetha, Charitha, Harshi, and Sandamini for their support in our projects.

Finally, I extend my gratitude to my juniors—Mandeera, Dulasha, Ayadi, Vibavi, Sandithi, and Tharushi—who chaired our projects and to all the other organizing committee members and to all those who participated in the projects. Their commitment and effort made these projects successful. I am proud to have worked with such an enthusiastic team dedicated to the well-being of society.

As I pass the baton, I wish the upcoming Community Service Directors, Vibavi and Ayadi, all the very best. I’ve seen your potential, and I’m confident you’ll make a fantastic duo. I look forward to seeing the avenue thrive under your leadership.

Thank you, everyone, for this incredible journey.

Rtr. Manthini Attygalle.

Co-director- Community Service Avenue.

Community Service Reflection: Rtr. Amandi Ranawaka, Co-Director

As I reflect on my journey as a member of Rotaract, I am filled with gratitude, pride, and a profound sense of fulfillment. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of serving as a catalyst for change, a beacon of hope, and a champion for community empowerment.
 
From the outset, I embraced the ethos of Rotaract service above self. It was this guiding principle that propelled me forward, igniting a passion for making a tangible difference in the lives of others. Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to participate in a myriad of projects, each leaving an indelible mark on my heart and soul.
 
Whether it was organizing fundraisers for local charities, volunteering at soup kitchens, or spearheading environmental initiatives, every endeavor was infused with purpose and meaning. Together with my fellow Rotaractors, we tackled challenges head-on, leveraging our collective strengths, skills, and resources to effect positive change in our community and beyond.
 
One project that stands out in my memory is our collaboration with “Healing Heart,” a campaign dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues and providing support to those in need. Through workshops, seminars, and outreach programs, we endeavored to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness and foster a culture of empathy, understanding, and inclusion.
 
Similarly, our partnership with “Pruthuvi” allowed us to champion environmental conservation and sustainability. Through tree planting drives and recycling initiatives, we sought to inspire a sense of environmental stewardship and responsibility among our peers and the wider community.
 
As the year progressed, we encountered our fair share of challenges, logistical hurdles, financial constraints, and unforeseen setbacks. Yet, in the face of adversity, we remained undeterred, drawing strength from our shared commitment to service and our unwavering belief in the power of collective action.
 
Looking back, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the experiences, friendships, and lessons learned during my Rotaract year. It has been a journey of personal growth, self-discovery, and profound transformation—one that has shaped me in ways I could have never imagined.
 
As I pass the baton to the next generation of Rotaractors, I am filled with hope and optimism for the future. Together, we have the power to create a world where kindness reigns, compassion abounds, and service becomes a way of life.

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