“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”
In a world of darkness where people fight for the realms of power with bullets and bombs, still in the mind of the erudite, the most powerful weapon of all is not mere gunfire but the fire lit inside a learned soul. Education and literacy hand in hand when used wisely are mighty elements, capable of changing the world. Building bridges, serving others, and changing the world one step at a time are our pillar goals at the Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science, University of Colombo. With all our members working as one, we strive to initiate projects that bring together talent and innovation and implementation in areas of the world where we feel it is required the most.
Over many months we were fueled by the vision of promoting our rich Sri Lankan culture on an international level while enhancing international relations, building a positive image of Sri Lanka, making a sustainable impact on Sri Lankan tourism, and empowering and inspire children through education. And as a result, Project “Ralithi” was born.
Initiated under our avenue of International Services, we aimed at donating a collection of children’s storybooks (for ages 6- 11 years), to deserving communities overseas, written and illustrated by our own Rotaractors and embedded with an essence of our beautiful Sri Lankan culture. With the element of creativity sprouting from within our club, a total of six books were written and illustrated after weeks of hard work of an amazingly talented and passion-driven team of Rotaractors. The 06 books were themed as follows;
- Grandma’s recipe for life
- Life: By the Sea, By Hand
- Little Bindu’s brilliance
- Melody of ‘Aurudu’
- Mom’s best menu revealed
- Say “Ayubowan” to Taprobana!
With the unwavering support of the International Youth Alliance for Peace (IYAP) in Sri Lanka, 25 copies of each book, with a total of 150 books was decided to be distributed to 03 deserving and diverse communities.
The first of which being groups of street children, children with poor economy, orphans, and other school children in provinces of Kabul and Laghman in Afghanistan. A total of 60 books were planned to be distributed via the Afghani organization ‘The Bookies’. Next, 48 books to clusters of students of underprivileged, minority households and the general public in two rural districts of Nepal; Morang and Jumla through two libraries being renovated by ‘The Civil Outlook’ Organization. Finally, 42 books to the children at ‘Pertubuhan Pusat Kebajikan Destiny’ – a refugee center in Malaysia, an organization providing a home to refugee, migrant and stateless children between the ages of 2 to 11 from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia & Sabah.
Hurdle after hurdle, we were able to successfully initiate this phase of project “Ralithi” with our ship of literacy sailing far and across oceans, putting a smile on the faces of many blossoming young souls; igniting the curiosity and imagination of young minds to open up to limitless possibilities. Here’s a big shout out to our team behind the scenes; Storybook writers; Dasith, Chami, Rashmi, Izad, Sahashra, Theekshana, Hand drawings done by; Thilini, Srini, Dasith, Dinuka, Iman, Computer illustrations, and page setting by; Wishmika, Udara, Bimal, Shanaka, Ganeshiny.
But our job is not over just yet! As the next milestone of “Ralithi”, we hope to sail our ship to the rural and underprivileged groups of children across Sri Lanka!
By Rtr. Tharini Cabraal