Contacts

University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, Sri Lanka.

rotaractmoraalumini@gmail.com

+94 713 826 109

BlogCommunity Service

Efforts on Kindred Kidneys

Kindred Kidneys is a project, initiated by the Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa in the year 2018 as an international service initiative with the Rotaract Club of Kairós Xalapa (District 4185). This year Rotaract Alumni Mora has planned to extend its scope by collaborating it with the community service avenue as well. The main objectives of this project are to increase awareness regarding Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and helping the innocent people who suffered from CKD. The project is done in collaboration with the Samastha Lanka Kidney Patients Association (SLKPA).  

On the 17th of January 2022, the first  phase of Kindred Kidneys took place at Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya. Our Rotaractors from Rotaract Alumni Mora together with members of the Samastha Lanka Kidney Patients Association engaged in selling their quarterly publication ‘Wakugaduwa which is the first kidney-related newspaper published in Sri Lanka. It is a newspaper rich in articles that educate about chronic disease. Many of the devotees visiting Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya extended their helping hand in buying the informative newspaper. It was our pleasure to enhance the efforts put in by the SLKPA and to create awareness among the public regarding the seriousness of kidney diseases.  

Rotaract Alumni Mora is excited to shape up Kindred Kidneys more vividly and frequently. The next phase is planned to roll out very soon, and we hope to see you all there, contributing towards this worthy cause! 

By: Rtr. Ayesh Malindu

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Karan Koku (Mangrove fern)

Mangrove fern falls under the Pteridaceae family, and 2 most common species can be identified.

1. Acrostichum Aureum

This is a species that can be seen in mangrove swamps and other wet locations in Sri Lanka, and this is the only fern that belongs to the mangrove community. This plant grows up to 1.2-1.8m in height. This plant has pinnately compound leaves with small green-colored leaflets. Young leaves are brownish-green in color. Similar to other ferns, this plant also has a rhizome stem.

Acrostichum Aureum leaf has 24-30 pairs of leaflets and some of the larger fronds bear sporangia (reproductive organs) on the upper five to eight pairs of leaflets. These are brown and give the pinnae a felted appearance.

2. Acrostichum Speciosum

This plant has the most similar features to Acrostichum Aureum and this is an endangered species in Sri Lanka. This also has pinnately compound leaves which are about 1m in length. The leaves have a pointed shape.

Uses

Young leaves are consumed as curries(Karan Koku Curry) or salads. Roots and leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicine for different medical treatments.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Mal Kadol

Just like most of the other mangrove species, large-leafed orange mangrove or oriental mangrove comes under the family Rhizophoraceae.

1. Bruguiera gymnorhiza

Bruguiera gymnorhiza is an evergreen species common in almost every mangrove ecosystem in Sri Lanka. The tree develops knee roots at the bottom of the trunk. Leaves are elliptic and somewhat large, and the back of the leaf is much darker. Flowers are solitary and white or cream in color. Petals are about 13-15mm with the flower being 3-4cm. The turbinate fruits are green and grow up to 8-12cm. The matured spindle-shaped fruit drops to embed in the mud and grow into a new plant.

2. Bruguiera sexangula

This species can be found in the mangrove ecosystems from Puththalama to Rakawa. Knee roots or Pneumatophores develop at the bottom of the trunk. Light green leaves are elliptic to elliptic-oblong and relatively smaller than Bruguiera gymnorhiza growing 2-4cm wide and 6-8cm long.  Pale yellow to pinkish-orange flowers bloom solitary up to 3-4cm. 6-10cm long fruit is similar to Bruguiera gymnorhiza.

3. Bruguiera cylindrica

This species is an evergreen tree often grown as a bush. Pneumatophores grow as knee roots providing stability. Relatively small and greenish flowers bloom in 2-5 bunches. Leaves are about 2-6cm wide and 7-15cm long. The 4-5cm long green color fruit starts propagating while floating on the water horizontally.

Uses

Bruguiera gymnorhiza is used in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties. The trunk is used for multiple wood products. Just like any other mangrove species, Mal Kadol contributes to reducing the coastal damage. The extensive root systems provide breeding and feeding grounds for many fish and other marine species.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

Important Days

World Children’s Day!

“Every Child you encounter is a divine appointment”

Famously said by Wes Stafford, the amount of joy, happiness, and wholesomeness a child can give is unmatched by any other thing! A child has a smile with pure happiness and a zero drop of jealousy or hatred; a child would see no difference in colour, race, age, or sex; and a child’s innocence will cure all the problems you’d be having with a sense of purity. These are just a few reasons that we value and celebrate children on the 1st of October; the Children’s day.

It was the day all we wanted to arrive in our school days, it was the day our teachers dressed up for us and entertained us, it was the day we could spend the entire day in the playground without any consequence; and such will be continued for our next generations too!

Nonetheless;

The idea of celebrating children for a day should not be limited to a single day, but every day, every hour we must support them with their lives, enriching their dreams with proper education, and most importantly being committed to preserve their rights.

Children, regardless their background, achievements and attitude are the pillars of the future. Children who are showing flying colours as well as the children who are falling behind; both of them are needed to be encouraged with our love, our support, and our affection; which will shape them to be outstanding citizens in the future.

Let us join our hands, to make and preserve a better future for our children.

A very happy children’s day to all the pure souls out there! You are our future!

Penned by : Pasan de Silva

Milestone

Discovering the leader within you

If you recall your life, what would be the first experience you had at leadership? For some people, it would be being a class monitor, being a prefect, or being a president at a school society. But for me, it was being a big sister. I was endowed with the responsibility of guiding, influencing, and looking after another person. I think that’s where I started learning how to become a good leader.

The word “Leader” is defined in many ways across many disciplines in the world. In my opinion, a leader is a person who can spot the potential in people, support them to become better, and a person who can convert a vision into reality. A leader always focuses on developing the skills of people to get the job done. A leader will influence, motivate & inspire people to become their best selves. A leader will not hesitate to take risks, tackle them with strategy and convert them into success stories. Rather than “doing things right” a leader will always “do the right thing” which makes a huge difference.

Leaders are born, or are they made?” 

There is an age-old question about leadership. “Are the leaders born, or are they made?”. As someone who has been in many leadership positions in life, I prefer to say that it is neither. Leaders are neither born nor made. They are simply people who chose to be leaders. Let me elaborate with a familiar example. Steve Rogers, a frail young artist who didn’t show any markings of a born-leader, set aside as an eye candy even after being injected with a “super-serum”, choosing to be a leader in the crisis of losing a unit of soldiers including his friend, makes him an icon that people look up to. Yes, that’s the story of the infamous “Captain America”. It is evident that most of the time real leaders are forged in crisis.

The Struggle

Leadership does not come easily. You may face many barriers and obstacles in your leadership journey. You’d be perfectly justified in feeling a little stressed out with all of these leadership issues staring you in the face. It happens all the time. It can induce fear and self-doubt, which can jeopardize your capacity to lead. Planning ahead and keeping my stress levels is what supported me in such situations. There are difficult days for everyone. The days when you’re stuck in a funk because progress is slow or an effort fails. It’s all too easy to get caught up in what isn’t working and lose your motivation. And as a leader, this might be extremely difficult to overcome because everyone expects you to be a cheerleader. Therefore it’s important to take time and celebrate small wins without letting the circumstances beat you up.

I will be a leader 

From what I have experienced as a leader, I have identified some traits that would come in handy. 

  • Being competent, 
  • Skilled, 
  • Handling responsibility, 
  • A good communicator, 
  • A supporter and influencer, 
  • A team player, 
  • Being a motivator
  • Seek for opportunities 

are some such key traits that would shape you as a proper leader. As Rotractors, as the young community: you have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills while serving the community. By taking initiatives, being sensitive to society, working for the greater good, you can be the leaders that the world desire.

Written by: Rtr.Dinithi Amarasinghe

Edited by: Rtr.Reshan Dissanayake

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Mangrove Apple

There are four species of Mangrove Apple.

i. Sonneratia alba

ii. Sonneratia caseolaris

iii. Sonneratia griffithi

iv. Sonneratia ovata

Characteristics

Sonneratia caceolaris is the common Mangrove Apple. This has a close resemblance with the Sonneratia alba species. These can grow from 2-20m tall, and some trees tend to branch highly. The root system is well spread. Sonneratia alba can be differed from Sonneratia caceolaris by the cup-shaped sepal. The fruit is green in color. The roots of Sonneratia griffithi can spread about 10m from the tree. The tree is surrounded by thick, blunt pneumatophores (vertical roots arising from shallow, horizontal roots) – these can vary in size from 30 – 100cm tall. Sonneratia ovata is lightly branched than the other species and the bark is greenish brown.

Distribution

Sonneratia caceolaris is distributed throughout Arid, Dry, and Wet zones, but most are found in the Mangrove Ecosystems of the wet zone. Sonneratia alba is commonly found in the Kalu river estuary and Madu river plant communities in Galle. 

Uses

The ripe fruit is used in food production. Breathing roots are used for bottle bung manufacturing.  This is used in folk medicine for its medicinal properties such as treating intestinal parasites and coughs, to make poultices. Due to its rapid growth rate, often used for the restoration of destroyed mangrove ecosystems.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogDebractorInternational Services

Debractor 2.0 – The friendly debate on COVID19 and Rotaract Service

The friendly debate continues…

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” – Denis Waitley, Author and Motivational Speaker 

On 11th of July 2021, “Debractor 2.0” the successor of the friendly debate “Debractor” was held with the collaborative effort of Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa, RID 3220 and Rotaract Club of Katmandu, RID 3292. It has been more than a year and a half since the COVID-19 global pandemic is challenging everyone’s life. And I should say, Rotaract service for the community has become significant than ever. Having more than one year of experience in providing Rotaract services during the pandemic, now it is time to recap and discuss whether the pandemic has hampered the Rotaract Service. Hence, the topic for the debate was,

“COVID-19 was/wasn’t a barrier to rendering Rotaract services”.  

The event was held on 11th of July 2021 at 6.45 pm in Sri Lankan time/ 7.00 pm in Nepalese time via Zoom platform. More than 70 participants from different Rotaract clubs from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia, and India also witnessed this thought-provoking debate. 

Introducing the Teams

The impartial moderator of the debate was Rtr. PP Abhijeet Venkatraman Balaji, RAC Coimbatore Millennium, District Trainer, RID 3201- India. Ten Rotaractors from the two clubs were split into two debating teams. Each team consisted of members from both clubs debating together to prove their point-of-view. The composition of the two teams was as follows,

Team A (Covid 19 was  a barrier to render Rotaract services)Team B (Covid 19 wasn’t  a barrier to render Rotaract services)
Rtr. Dulaj DilshanRtr. Paveen Perera
Rtr. Akhila SeneviratneRtr. Chamal Kuruppu
Rtr. Sahan WickramageRtr. Apar Wasti
Rtr. Aadhar WastiRtr. Shrishav Adhikari
Rtr. Diwa GhimireRtr. Bipin Wasti
Each team consisted of members from both clubs debating together…

“What is the one thing you enjoyed during the Covid-19 period”

With the invitation of Rtr. Netra Ramtel,  President of Rotaract Club of Kathmandu,  event was started with the opening Speech of  Rtr.Ronali, the chairperson of the Debractor 2.0 phase 1 in Rotaract Club of Alumni University of Moratuwa.  Before the beginning of the debate, Rtr. PP Abhijeet (our impartial moderator) remembered last year’s memories from Debractor 1.0 and also encouraged the audience by asking “what is the one thing you enjoyed during the covid 19 period”. Regardless of the cons of this period, it is delightful to know that our Rotaractors were courageous enough to find a silver light.

Let the debate begin…

The debate consisted of three rounds enabling teams to discover and prove more ideas. The 1st round was named 90MM as every speaker was given a chance to shoot their ideas (Reminder: Still a friendly debate). And the 2nd round: Do Really, team members can question opponents (Reminder again: Things are heating up, yet a friendly debate).  And 3rd round, Ding Dong where the audience can share their opinion of the debate topic.

The reality of virtual

Rtr. Paveen pointed out that Covid-19  was a barrier to public speaking with virtual speaking compared to physical meets. Rtr. Chamal explained how the barrier was overcome with a wise example,

“Think about the barrier you build upon the river and if the flow is really high it overcomes the barrier and you can’t see that barrier at all”.

Further, he pointed out that virtual meetings give the opportunity to people who cannot be there physically.  Then, Rtr. Apar added that in virtual meetings, the participants are focused on the session. 

Then Rtr. Diwa Ghimire from Team A contrasted his point by adding that compared to the physical sessions it is demanding to measure whether participants actually grasp the requirement and ideas. In addition, the organizing team cannot exactly understand how participants are impacted with the project”.

Community Service, or is it?

Rtr. Shrishav questioned Rtr. Aadhar on a point that he mentioned earlier, “Community service has become an awareness program avenue, rather than community service avenue”. He questioned, “Isn’t an awareness program part of community service? ”. 

What do you think?

Conclusion

The moderator invited Rtr. Ajay from the audience to share their impressions and opinion of the debate. Rtr. Ajay emphasized that we should actually get a learning experience from the Covid explorer path of Rotaract which enables forming new ways for Rotaract to reach out to the community and discover paths of empowering the lives.

With a Thank-You speech by Rtr. Kavinda Senarathne, president of Rotaract Club of  Alumni of University of Moratuwa, the Debractor 2.0 marked another eventful day in the Rotaract calendar by enlightening the path to serve better.

written by: Rtr. Geethika Sandamali
edited by: Rtr. Reshan Dissanayake

Blog

Improve the productivity of virtual meetings

What is Virtual Meeting?

A virtual meeting is simply a meeting that happens online rather than physically with all the participants in the same meeting room.

Why virtual meetings are important?

1. Reduced time wasting

With virtual meetings, the amount of scheduling and logistical faff surrounding a meeting tends to be significantly lower than with in-person meetings. You don’t have to think about booking a room, or worry whether your meeting space is big enough for all invitees, should they turn up.

2. Ease of costing

When all your meetings are digital, it becomes infinitely easier to quantify all the time your company spends on different catch-ups and communications. This is crucial if you are billing for all client time, or simply want to map where time goes across different projects.

3. Directness of communication

Because you can’t see where people are looking in virtual meetings, you can’t tell who they’re directing their comments or questions to—so you’re forced to become more explicit in how you communicate.

4. Productivity

Making travel arrangements cuts down on the productivity of every attendee. Since a person can attend a virtual meeting from his desk, it cuts down on both the time and the mental attention needed.

Tips to improve the productivity of virtual meetings

  1. Share out a meeting agenda in advance

It’s better in setting an agenda and sending it out ahead of time will go a long way for keeping the meeting on track. First of all, attendees will know exactly what will be discussed and in what order. And secondly, they can have time to reflect and jot down thoughts ahead of time, making your conversations much more fruitful in the long run.

2. Have a central notetaking document

Make sure there is a notetaking document set up and shared out to the group. Using Google Docs, Jamboards or some other method of tracking conversation will help everyone remember the key takeaways from the meeting.

3. Keep it professional by following basic virtual call etiquette.

Some of the best ways to make virtual meetings more effective are to:

  • Ensure your lighting is not behind you. Check to see if the light is too dark to show your face or so bright that it blinds others.
  • When others talk, look them in the eyes as you would if you were face to face.
  • Pay attention to the person talking. Don’t look around the room you are in, out a window, or talk with others that may be physically in the room with you.
  • Ensure your sound is turned on and adjusted correctly before the meeting begins and be on time for the meeting.  
  • Use the chat box and raise your hand when appropriate. Give the person talking time to finish what they are saying.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion as a professional would dress.

4. Make it a conversation rather than a lecture

If you need to deliver information during a meeting, find a way to turn it into a conversation instead of a lecture. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Give the topic to someone on your team to present.
  • Break the topic up into pieces and have each team member present part of the information.
  • Invite an expert (or experts) to your meeting and ask them questions about the topic. Invite your team to ask questions as well.

5. Allow for movement for longer meetings

Most people are sitting at their desks for long periods. Therefore, for each 30-minute meeting segment, add a brief period to stand up and move around for all attendees.

Penned By: Rtr. Kavinda Senarathne

BlogEnvironment

International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem

International Day of the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem is sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The aim is “to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems as a unique, special and vulnerable ecosystem and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses”.


Kadolana, or Mangrove forests are a type of ecosystem typically found in tropical and subtropical intertidal zone. These forests grow as a dense thicket and they consist a type of trees and shrubs called halophytes. They can withstand the harsh coastal conditions such as waterlogged and anoxic soil, high concentration of salt etc.

The slow moving water through the tangle of prop roots, accumulates the sediments forming a muddy bottom. These sturdy root systems are a major component of the ecosystem. They help in handling the daily rises and falls of the tides as well as stabilizing the shoreline by reducing the erosion protecting the land from waves and storms.

Mangrove forests occupy less than 1% of the tropical forests in the world, which is less than 0.4% of the total forest area. But these are rich in both marine and forest food web diversity. A huge number of different living organisms find food and accommodation among these roots. This is an essential habitat in the coastal zone and these areas act as a breeding ground for many sea creatures including most of the commercially caught fish. The diversity does not stop at these precious roots. Many insect species reside in these vegetation providing a food source for numerous migratory and shoreline bird species.

The formation and the location of these ecosystems reduces the amount of sea water encroaching the inland waters. These are efficient in filtering nitrates and phosphates carried out to the sea along with silt. Silt deposition can smother coral reef ecosystems. The coexistence of the mangroves, Seagrass beds and the coral reefs ensure a healthy coastline. Mangroves does not provide only ecological benefits. Communities utilize these ecosystems to benefit economically as well. Fisheries, other food products and eco-tourism are some common methods.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogCommunity Service

Before you click on that “Yes, I agree” – Together as One – Phase 1

“The fantastic advances in the field of electronic communication constitute a greater danger to the privacy of the individual.” – Earl Warren.

Often we get that notification “Privacy policy updated. Review now”. But do we really review it? Or that really long “Terms of agreement” that we are bored to read, nevertheless says “Yes, I agree”; do we really mean it?

We are a generation who are known to be “Experts” when it comes to social media. Yet. there is one side on which, many of us are not really experts. That is the privacy concerns in social media platforms.   

Privacy concerns with social networking services is a subset of data privacy. It involves the right of using personal privacy concerning storing, re-purposing, provision to third parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Social network security and privacy issues result from the large amounts of information these sites process each day.

Brainstorming together on a much-needed topic

“Together as One”, a novel effort by Rotaract Club of Alumni of University of Moratuwa, is a series of friendly discussions on the focus area of Peace and Conflict Resolution centering on our communities and localities.

The first of the series was conducted with the participation of the fellow members of Rotaract clubs of Katugastota Region and Ratnapura based on the theme “Privacy concerns in social media platforms” on 20th of February 2021 via Zoom.

It is all about your data

The discussion with the fellow Rotaractors was based on quite interesting topics which covered the areas of;

  • The value of Privacy
  • Individual Data Privacy Protection
  • How it helps to manage the boundaries of people
  • Open discussion of the issue of WhatsApp vs Signal

The participants also got an idea of data privacy and information privacy. This is a part of the data protection area that deals with the proper handling of data giving focus on compliance with data protection laws. The points covering the importance of data privacy such as data protection laws around the world gave the participants proper control over their data. This surely, empowered them to know how their data is used, by whom and why, giving them control over how their personal data is processed and used.

WhatsApp or Signal?

We also could discuss a topic that went viral during the past months among social media users. That is the usage of Signal, a messaging service platform. Here our participants got the chance to have a meaningful discussion on the benefits of using Signal. Well, the discussion took an interesting turn as the participants put their ideas and info on the table such as; benefits that Signal has with its features which are similar to the ones that you are used to on WhatsApp, such as stickers and emojis, how both WhatsApp and Signal provide “disappearing messages” feature for additional privacy with their end-to-end encryption services, their major differences such as how each app is funded. All in all, most of them agreed that WhatsApp is important because everyone has got very familiar with it.

Yet, who knows what the future holds? It could WhatsApp, Signal or any other that is still in the making. But the concern on privacy would never die out. It would rather emerge to be prominent in the days to come.

While expressing our heartiest thanks to all the Rotaractors who joined the day to reap out the best in the topic, we hope that our participants got an insight as to what really hides behind those three simple words; “Yes, I agree”.

Written by: Rtr. Kavinda Senarathne