Contacts

University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, Sri Lanka.

rotractmoraalumini@gmail.com

+94 713 826 109

Category: Blog

BlogEnvironment

Greener environment for future

Trees help clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, absorb harmful carbon from the atmosphere, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines.

Trees play a key role in capturing rainwater and reducing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides. Their intricate root systems act like filters, removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the soil. This process prevents harmful waterslide erosion and reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding.

A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitats. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home.

Penned by :

Kavinda Senarathne

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Matti Kadol

This is native to Sri Lanka. There are two species of Xylocarpus. They can be seen in Western and Northwestern mangroves communities of Sri Lanka.

1. Xylocarpus granatum

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or This This is a medium sized evergreen tree with dark brown petiole and bark. Leaves are alternate and pinnate, and it turns orange -brown when drying. These compound large leaves have 1-3 pairs of leaflets. Flowers bloom on long flowering branches with 4 petals. Petals are round and the edges are overlapping. The large spherical fruit is about 17-25cm in diameter. And it has a croaky leathery covering which usually splits into 4 pieces as the fruit dries. Surface roots are compressed laterally forming a spreading network of ribbon like pneumatophores with the upper edges protruding above mud.

2. Xylocarpus moluccensis

This species grows up to 30m in height and the trunk grows up to 70cm in diameter. The flowers are creamy white in color and they bloom on long flowering branches. The round fruit grows up to 11cm and it is about the size of a small orange. The fruit it dark brown, compressed and wrinkled.

Use

Xylocarpus granatum barks are used in folk medicine. They are also used to make tannins and dyes. Both species are used as firewood and in making furniture. The seed oil is used as a hair-shining treatment. The roots are used to make paint brushes.

Penned By : Rtr. Dilrukshi Wijethunga

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

Heen Kadol

Aegiceras Corniculatum

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or This plant belongs to the Myrsinaceae family. This plant grows up to 1-3 meters in height. The stem is branched, and the bark is grey-colored, soft, and glossy. This plant can be seen in mangrove communities in Kahamodara, Rakawa, Puttalam, Kalpitiya, and Chillaw. Leaves are small, about 3-4cm wide and 4-8cm long. Mature leaves are dark green colored. Flowers can be seen in clusters, and flower petals are white. Fruit contains two light brownish seeds, and they are viviparous.

Penned By : Rtr. Tamali Karunathilake

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Punkanda

The two main species of Punkanda comes under Family Rhizophoraceae.

1. Ceriops tagal

This species is commonly known as spurred mangrove or Indian mangrove. The medium-sized tree is columnar or multi-stemmed growing with large buttress roots along with radiating anchor roots. The bark is light brown with a silvery-grey to orangish-brown tone. The obovate leaves are in opposite pairs, glossy yellowish-green above growing up to 6 cm long and 3 cm wide. The flowers are 1-2 cm with a short calyx tube. The color brown changes as the flower mature. The fruits are up to 3 cm long and brown at first, they change color as they mature.

2. Ceriops decandra

This species shows a close resemblance to Ceriops Tagal. It grows up to 15m as a shrub or small tree. The flower is relatively different to Ceriops Tagal. The trunk diameter reaches up to 30 cm. The bark is pale brown. The flowers are white. The conical fruits measure up to 1.8 cm long.HabitatThe growth rate of Ceriops tagal over Ceriops decandra has limited their habitat to the mangrove ecosystem in the Rakawa lagoon area.

Uses

The durable wood of Ceriops tagal is used in construction industry. It is also used to manufacture firewood and charcoal. The bark is used to extract a dye, which is used in Batik and tanning leather.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

BlogEnvironmentMangrove Species

Katu Ikili

This plant falls under the Acanthaceae family and the 2 most common species can be identified in Sri Lanka.

1. Acanthus Ilicifolius

This is a species that can be seen in mangrove swamps and other wet locations in Sri Lanka, and this is the only fern

This can be seen in all the mangrove ecosystems in Sri Lanka. This is a thorny shrub that grows up to 2m in height. Aerial roots are developed in the lower parts of the stem. Leaves have spiny edges. Flowers can be seen in clusters on an upright spike. They are 3-4cm in length and the flower petals are blue colored. The fruits are non-viviparous.

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. Acanthus Volubilis

This plant has the most similar features to Acrostichum Aureum and this is an endangered species in Sri Lanka. This This plant is limited to the mangrove ecosystem in Halawatha – Pambala area. This also grows up to 2m in height. Leaf-blades are smooth, usually without spines. The stem is purplish. Similar to Acanthus Ilicifolius, flowers can be seen in clusters. The flower petals are white.

Uses

These are used in folk medicine for different medical treatments.

Penned By : Rtr. Kawmini Wijekoon

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

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