AKURA is an initiative conducted by the Rotaract Club of University of Kelaniya, under the project category Basic Education and Literacy, as a part of the project Rota tomorrow. We intended to reach out to communities, basically, Child Care Centres to develop the knowledge of those children by creating awareness and motivating them to educate themselves in order to secure their future. Named by adhering to the Sinhala word ‘Akura’, meaning the ‘letter’ as the project is based on the SDG goal ‘Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.’ Thus, quite unlike ordinary projects related to education, ‘Akura’ is a project elucidating the value of education for those communities who need awareness through a series of phases that comes under one project.
Why is Akura different?
Education and concerns related to education being an integral part of a country, Project Akura acclimates to motivate children in innovative ways, believing that positive reinforcement helps to develop the interest to learn better and to one’s future to lead an independent life. By not only focusing on education projects, Akura also tried to focus on the country’s current state and child care centres in remote areas as well.
How did Akura achieve its goals?
Project Akura was conducted in two selected areas in Sri Lanka, selecting children’s homes located in Rambukkana and Balapitiya respectively. Both the children’s homes were situated in areas that were less likely to be visited by outsiders, yet with the permission from the relevant authorities, we were able to conduct three different phases with aims significant to each phase. Phase one conducted in both the centres were one and a half hour awareness sessions, and they were conducted by Mr. A.R. Sarath Bandara and Mr. Praneeth Hasanka respectively, followed by a special meal. The second phase aiming to reinforce positivity and motivate the children to reap the maximum benefit of the education they received, involved a gift distribution session where each child was gifted with a handmade bag specially hand-painted by the team members along with essential stationery items. In the third phase, we intended to consider the requirements of the children’s home pointed out by the authorities. Therefore, we were able to provide school shoes and school bags to the Rambukkana Sri Bodhiraja Children’s Village and around fifty short notebooks relevant to different subjects as requested by Balapitiya Anula Children’s Home.
“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become”, says Robert Holden, and we are indeed grateful for our sponsors: Early Birds School (Pvt) Ltd, Karapitiya and Bizzara’s Boutique Store for partnering with Akura as our official gift partners fulfilling the requirements relevant for the second and third phases, Dulmi Auto Mart for fulfilling the food needs by partnering with us as our food partner, and Shutter DM for partnering with us as our official photography partner. In addition to that, we conducted a donation campaign where we received donations from people around the country, sincerely thankful for all the kind donations as Project Akura wouldn’t have been a success without proper financial support.
Apart from the aforementioned phases, Project Akura continued spreading awareness on numerous platforms; thus, be it Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Blogspot, you could find ‘Akura’ on any of your favourite social media platforms. You may find essays and poems where feelings have been put into inspirational words by some amazing budding blog writers.
We didn’t want to limit Akura to a project that can be viewed by the audience, instead, we wanted to let the audience engage and explore Akura and grasp the real essence of the importance of basic education and literacy. Therefore, we created a platform where the audience could send in their thoughts regarding the topic, ‘basic education and literacy. These articles were carefully evaluated by our talented judges, which included our very own Assistant Secretary of the club, Rtr. Verosha Abeygoonewardena and the Senior Editor Rtr. Yashodya Bandaranayake. After considering the evaluations, three amazing writers were selected as winners, namely Samali Irugalbandara, Minduli Perera and Nuzha Farook as the First, Second and Third places respectively. While Nethmi Jayasekara, Nadiya Jurangpathy, Minduli Perera and Samali Irugalbandara won the First, second and third places in the popular category which was evaluated from Facebook and Instagram post likes.
Project Akura intended to make a difference from the very initiative, and looking at the success story it is evident that Akura is indeed a project that will be in the hearts of many, as Project Akura was able to carve a memory deep inside you by trying to create a pleasant change in the name of humanity.
~ Written by: Rtr. Dinithi Lorensuhewa | Featured image designed by: Rtr.Madhavi Athulathmudali ~