Simple act of service | Sunday Observer

Simple act of service

Project carried out by the Interact Club of Asoka Vidyalaya - ‘KataragamaKunu Not Atharamaga’

Interact, a dynamic club for young individuals, is Rotary International’s service club for young people aged 12 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance. These clubs for young individuals, are self-governing and self-supporting. Initiated in 1962, the Rotaract Club of Melbourne, Florida established the very first Interact Club and the movement witnessed the launching of this dynamic group worldwide. Speaking of Sri Lanka, a record of over 4000 members is noted and represented in more than 77 clubs across the Island.

The Interact Club of Asoka Vidyalaya is one such club and was chartered in 1996, under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Colombo Downtown. The Interact club of Asoka Vidyalaya has been a pioneer since its installation.

A simple act of service, can create a meaningful impact on the world today and this is where interact plays a vital role. Following the interact motto of SERVICE ABOVE SELF, the Interact club of Asoka Vidyalaya focused on the avenues of ‘Green life,’ and on ‘Community Service’ by launching a project to clean and to conserve the environment and to restore its natural beauty.

Kataragama, is a sacred city which is visited by many a local and foreign pilgrim. It is yet another heritage site, which reflects the varied cultures and beliefs prevalent in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, the surrounding areas of this sacred land are polluted; transforming this unique and vibrant place of worship, into an area of unpleasant pollution.

Seeing the pathetic state of the sacred ground, The President of the Interact club of Asoka Vidyala a shared the following with us:

“When we visited the premises of the Kataragama Devalaya, we were awed by the many religious activities taking place. Yet what struck us most adversely, were the piles of un cleared garbage which had piled up .These being, leftover food, clothes, polythene, and king-coconut shells, which were stacked up along the sides of the pathway, leading up to the temple premises. The plight was unbelievable and sad, to see the beautiful and sacred atmosphere of this place, degraded to such a level of pollution. The Sacred City of Kataragama, we know is one of the most venerated places of worship, in Sri Lanka and it has been ruined by the carelessness of those who were not aware of the proper disposal of garbage.” he said.

August 6, 2018 proved to be a memorable day for this group of Interactors of Asoka Vidyalaya as they set off to the Sacred City of Kataragama, to work on a project to keep the sacred city clean and entitled their project appropriately as, KatharagamaKunu Not Atharamaga.

This was in fact a formidable task and challenge and the work was undertaken with much enthusiasm and veneration, for this Sacred City. The main focus of this project was to destroy the many dengue breeding places. Furthermore, the many rounds of cleaning and arranging the young Interactors undertook, to clean up 5 areas within Kataragama is extremely creditable the sacred Devalaya and the majestic Kirivehera Chaitya premises were all cleaned up in order to safe guard the lives of those who visit these places and to create an attractive and environment friendly zone with minimal pollution.

Working diligently on the daunting task at hand, the young Interactors commenced their day of duty and work at 9.00 am and cleaned up the grounds and collected the garbage. While cleaning, they found hundreds of king-coconut shells and about 500 polythene bags, cardboard boxes and clothes which would naturally leave an adverse effect on the environment.

The Interactors went further, to create an awareness programme among the pilgrims and among the community in the area, to protect this ancient, religious heritage site. Kataragama is of great importance and the need to preserve it for future generations was a vital point they wanted the people to be aware of. Further more, they advised the people to safeguard the sacred area and to maintain proper sanitation in the city, by disposing garbage in a suitable manner. It’s noteworthy that the Interactors of Asoka Vidyalaya left the project site with a message of goodwill and a lesson to maintain a pollution free environment within this blessed land.

The project was a success and it left a message to be learnt, which was that:

“Environmental cleanliness begins with the desire of each individual, choosing to be clean.”