For a brighter tomorrow

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‘Local undergraduates’ are a group of individuals that some may perceive to be the cream of the nation who cultivate within them the capacity of producing a true genius every now and then. On the other hand, some others would more often than not perceive them to be an aggressive bunch of individuals who need to find something better to do with their lives rather than campaigning for anything and everything! The latter being the most famous perception out of the two. However, one must not be quick to judge the book by its cover since a ‘local undergraduate’ is indeed an image painted with many a shade, if given proper guidance they would indeed be a spring of creativity and innovation since they do have within them the courage to dream big and realize them through concentration, commitment and patience.

It is within such a framework that the youth service organization known as Rotaract comes into play. Rotaract provides this budding individual who would be between the ages of 18-30, a platform to grow as a leader in their community and their work place. It is a vibrant non-profit organization which inspires young intellectuals to live the best days of their lives by adding color to another’s and also creating a sustainable impact for society and themselves in the meantime. It is one which is driven by ‘fellowship through service’.

Keeping these ideals at heart, the Rotaract clubs of Sri Jayewardenepura University and Moratuwa University, two vibrant, State university based clubs within the Rotaract District 3220 came up with the initiative of improving the English language skills of the students who would be facing their ordinary level examination. This is done with the guidance, support and encouragement of the Education Ministry.

The reason behind selecting the avenue of language education was due to the fundamental role it plays in a life of a young adult living within such a competitive and developing society. It indeed sheds light on the process of creating and finding oneself and unlocks doors one never dreamt of while also opening windows of opportunity one would never have believed to have existed. Finally, and most importantly, it is because we see among ourselves how much most of us stumble and struggle because of this hurdle fashioned by the lack of this particular language skill and therefore we strongly see the need to avoid our future generations taking the same path that some of us took, making that very same mistake that most of us regret at this point of life and ensuring that they would not have to wish like some of us do now, that someone perhaps took some time out of their busy schedules to tell us what we were getting ourselves into.

Encapsulating all of the above mentioned, this project would take the form of a monthly session which would begin from May and move on till November. It is to be conducted at Dudley Senanayake College, Narahenpita which belongs to the educational zone of Colombo. It would provide the students with revision on lessons stipulated for the ordinary level examination and would provide them with mock examinations which would help them overcome their physical and psychological battles with regard to learning the language. While our main focus is to ensure that these students pass the examination with good results, we also hope to encourage and develop their interest in English Language skills.

The first step of this herculean task was initiated on the February 23 at the school premises. It was carried out as an English camp with the immense support and encouragement of the school principal Ms PAW Samarasinghe, deputy principal Ven Ulapane Sumangala Thera and the English teachers, Ms Irusha Pallewela, Ms Hishama Jawad, Ms Thushara Dasanayake, Ms Ramani Gunathilake and Senaka Balapatabandi.  The main purpose of this introductory session was for the Rotaractors of both Jayawardenapura and Moratuwa to break the ice between the students and themselves and to get to know their levels of competence in the language in order to prepare the study material and pitch the delivery for the future sessions. It was a full day workshop that consisted of various fun-filled activities, movie sessions, and singing which focused on engaging the students and making them feel secure, free and optimistic towards learning what most of them believe to be fairly bleak, unproductive, hopeless and frankly a waste of their time and effort.

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