In a world full of variety, every person has their own story to share. Some stories are built differently. They feel challenged, for our most basic requirements, but their needs aren’t special. The way they acquire it may be different, but they are a part of us. Without them, the world would not be this nice.
As our, RACFOSUOC, ulterior goal is to implement a more sustainable change in society, we brought back one of our signature projects, SEVANA for the 15th consecutive year. This project is one of the most heartfelt initiatives and a stepping stone to doing community service in our club and it revolves around the children of Sevana Lama Nivasa. This year, we launched the project in three phases where our goal was to make the world accessible to budding flowers confined by their differential abilities while educating the rest of the community, about the potential of human beings despite the challenges they come across in life. So, I thought of sharing my wholesome experience of this ‘Journey of Sevana’.
Preparations for the project started back in November of 2022. Under the guidance of our Vice president, Rtr. Supun Samarasinghe and our avenue directors, Rtr. Omethya Illeperuma and Rtr. Lakjaya Perera, we held our first POC meeting where we were advised on how to prepare for the first phase of the project initially.
Our first phase, Spread Smiles was all about collecting funds necessary for the project. The POC members came up with many creative and fun ideas for fundraising. Of all the ideas, finally, we decided to organize a car wash partnered up with Startup Auto Care, Castrol, Saas Marketing, Sudeera Auto Air Conditioning, and 4-X. From booking the venues, and finding sponsors to designing posts and tickets were no less than chaotic. We had sleepless nights planning it and some of our POC members even trained to wash cars.
On the 31st of December 2023 near the B.R.C. grounds, all the POC members along with other Rotaractors gathered to experience a one-of-a-kind event. It was not just another car wash but an event organized with the great motive of helping the little ones in the Sevana Lama Nivasa. We gave our customers a full glam to their cars as not only did we do a mere body wash but also provided them with services like vacuum cleaning, body wax, and a free Vehicle scan and battery health reports. With the amazing support of the entire Rotaract family and all the volunteers, the car wash organized was a huge success. Everyone enjoyed it to their fullest and added more fun and joyous memories to their Rotaract diary marking the end of our first phase, Spread Smiles.
The second phase, Bloom Hearts was the tenderest stage of the project. We took the little kids of Sevana Children’s Home on a trip to Water World Kelaniya to make them encounter a wonderful experience. With the revenue collected from the first phase, we were able to plan the trip in the best possible way. The POC members worked so hard to give these little ones the best experience in life by hiring a well-conditioned bus and ordering lunch and evening snacks to refresh them. We sang their favorite songs with them on the bus journey and once we reached our destination, we aided them to experience the best in the water park. The smiles on their innocent faces bloomed in our hearts bringing tears of joy to our eyes. After a day of a roller coaster of emotions, we said goodbye to the little ones, and the second phase was called to an end.
We started the work for the third phase after our exams. In this phase, we planned to share a post series to motivate the differently-able and to raise awareness among the members of the society to promote equality. We had to search and read articles about such famous individuals who won their life despite physical limitations. While reading those articles, I was inspired by their unique stories. From how they overcame their fears to reach significant milestones in life, everything motivated me. And I wish everyone else was inspired by the challenging yet beautiful stories of the individuals we shared via social media.
Thus, we could conclude our project, Sevana successfully. Kudos to the POC members who worked towards the success of the project, and I was truly blessed to work with them. A special thanks to the Community Service Avenue directors, Rtr. Omethya and Rtr. Lakjaya for their guidance and the constant support they gave us throughout.
In this world, we are fortunate to be temporarily able. So, it makes our job to support and care for the different. I feel the pleasure of being a helping hand to a community in need of our help and would like to thank the RACFOSUOC for giving me this valuable chance. And so, shall the world be a better place for everyone!
By Rtr. Vihangi Thissera