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Dura Atha Ape Pasala is a sustainable community service project carried out by Rotaract Club of Excellence along with Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan. This project entailed helping an underprivileged school, “CP/GP Koluwala Rewatha Vidyalaya, Kurunduwaththa which is very remotely located around 10km interior and can only be accessed through a dirt road from the town of Gampola. This school has children from Pre-School – Grade 5 comprising altogether around 50 children. Due to the unfortunate circumstances that this school faces, it lacked proper sanitation facilities, an abandoned building, and a lack of school supplies for its children. Basic education and literacy was the main area we focused on this project. Objectives included renovating and build infrastructure such as bathrooms, kindergarten and staff-room, play area for the kids and paint the walls of the school. Furthermore, to help in the academic and non-academic activities of the school, and help to accommodate more pupils in the school. We also understood that the students were unwilling to go to school and there was a high teacher turnover because of the limited facilities available in school and the distance that they have to travel on foot from home. The Club had the task of changing the minds of the parents of students and explain the importance of education for their children and somehow make their kids go to school. The students do not have the ability to purchase new schoolbags, school footwear, school uniforms, and books for the new term.

The project was of 3 phases; Phase 1 includes renovation, phase 2 was the opening ceremony of the school after renovations and donations drive and phase 3 was the sustainability plan. Firstly we hosted a meeting inviting all parents and teachers of the school and convinced them to send the kids to school every day. After a discussion with the Principal of the school, a prioritization model was created and we understood that the sanitary facilities needed renovation, kindergarten and a staff room, play area for the students, and school supplies to kids are mainly required.

The people in the village area were very helpful in the project and they wholeheartedly wanted to volunteer for the project. The carpenters and other types of labor requirements were all fulfilled by the local village people itself. As a result, our cost of labor reduced to a certain percentage. In addition, it is also important to mention the support provided us by the Educational Ministry. They helped us by quickening the approval process to do the project and also donated tables and chairs for the school. As the phase 2 of the project, on the 15th of December 2019, the opening ceremony of the school was held after renovations and we donated books, footwear, school bags, school uniforms, and other stationaries to all students based on their school Grade.Phase 3 of the project is still ongoing as we have pledged to the school that we’ll help them in all academic and non-academic activities of the school for the next 3 years. A monthly school visit is also done by our Club members to understand the requirements of the school.

Education is a basic need for all human beings and factors such as caste, creed, and income level should not matter. The kids in this area were facing a difficult situation in attending school as there was a lack of attention given to this school from external parties. Primary facilities like bathrooms, Classrooms, the Play area was not either available or in good condition and the kids have to travel long distances on foot to reach the school from home. The alternative option for the kids was to go to the school in the City area which has decent facilities and intakes students from year 5 (After Scholarship) but families with low income could not afford to send their kids for further education as a considerable amount of registration fee is needed. The impact of our project was that, before the start of the renovations, there were only 23 students in the school and after seeing renovations and new infrastructure, new kids joined the school, and the student count raised up to 50. Special attention is given by us to the students sitting for their scholarships as well. We will be helping them by providing necessary materials in preparation for the exams and create a path for their further education. As we had invited a member of the education ministry to the opening ceremony, the ministry understood the state of the school and help to get tables and chairs to the classroom. Usually, it takes a month or two from the date of the request to get the items but the ministry quickened the process and fulfills the needs within weeks’ time.