“Give a Man a Fish and you Feed him for a Day; Teach a Man to Fish and you Feed him for a Lifetime.” Funduhmental 2014 was all about making this statement, a reality.
Organized by the Interact Clubs of Royal College and Visakha Vidyalaya, Funduhmental 2014 brought together a bunch of dreamers and realists who had days that turned into nights, nights that turned into mornings which turned them into one big family to be the change they all wished to see in this world.
And the change they did become. 17 individuals came together with the hope of changing as many lives as they could, ultimately changing the lives of 175 children who come from families broken apart due to poverty and alcoholism.
The chosen location was the “Center of Hope”, a Montessori and center that feeds kids of the Mattakuliya area after school hours. Prior to organizing this project, when the coordinator of this center, Mr. Prasad was asked about the requirements of this center, the respond came requesting for a place to expand the children’s perspectives through books and reading, with an objective to enhance the literacy levels of the inhabitants of the Center of Hope.
The interactors of Visakha Vidyalaya and Royal College decided that they could widen these kids’ perspectives and move these children to become avid readers by providing them with the perfect atmosphere to read; A Library.
They first chose an empty room in the center which could be turned into a magical place; a place to nurture the children, not physically but morally, a place where the world of knowledge and the world of values and etiquettes can be inculcated into these young minds. The room was then air conditioned, neatly tiled, well lighted to maximize the attraction to produce a perfect reading environment. In addition, the committee also got down a couple of bean bags to this little room of wonder, and finally hand painted the walls around it to brighten up the atmosphere and make that once empty room, a room of prospective imagination. The specially structured furniture were then assembled along with the books (featured in all 3 main languages) that ranged from pre-school classics such as the Lady Bird series, to the teenage favourites of Enid Blyton classics, to the encyclopedias, dictionaries, and even workbooks starting from colouring pictures to solving advanced algebra. The spiritual upliftment was also taken care of with the addition of a few copies of the Holy Bible, as the majority of the children were Christians, along with some copies of the Dhammapada, the Vedhas and the Holy Quran.
With the idea of embracing humanity and giving out joy, the interactors also decided to spend a day with the children and make this Christmas a special one for them. They organized games under themes that brought out the Christmassy aura and introduced them to the children on the 23rd of December 2014, the same day when the library was declared open. After the games, Santa Claus visited these children and gave them toffees and biscuits to munch off during the evening.
The day ended with a celebration of Christmas through the singing of Christmas carols in English, Sinhala and Tamil and the distribution of school bags, Barbie dolls and toy cars as a little Christmas gift from Santa Claus himself.
Although these children coming from traumatized families were little devils, the uniqueness of humanity is that it does not stop at the type of person, but spreads without borders and limits, directly from one heart to another regardless of language, race, cast, creed or colour. This, was the Story of Funduhmental 2014.