The colors of the rainbow, the luminous stars in the dark night sky, and the shape of the glowing forewings and the hindwings of butterflies; all fascinating paintbrushes that color the globe.
Yes, they are the grandeurs of this world for you and me because of the ability we have called vision. But do we all – all 7 billion people on this big blue marble, have that ability you use to enjoy the colors of this world; that ability you use to read each word in this article?
An estimated 49.1 million people who have the same rhythm of heartbeat and the same iron-rich, red-colored blood in their veins as we do, are unable to see the shapes of this world. But should we let that, keep them away from dreaming and climbing the ladder of success?
Not at all. Not only colors, but things like the warmth of sun rays falling on our skin and the smoothness of the petals of fragrant flowers all contribute to complete this world, add liveliness and bring the art that the vivid colors painted to life. So don’t we also have to do a part to help them to create a secured future for themselves, beyond and above the barriers they encounter due to their impairment?
Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa initiated “Andurata Athwalak”; an idea conceptualized under “Manusath Handa” with the indentation to endow hope to the visually impaired by means of developing their English Language skills so that they can secure better employment opportunities. One of the co-chairpersons of this noble strive, Rtr. Senith Cooray, came up with this concept to bestow a leading light to the future of the visually impaired students in our country. To lend a hand to those innocent blossoms to bloom in their own way, “Andurata Athwalak” conducted a content writing program encouraging volunteers who wished to join hands with us to pen down creative conversations that we usually encounter in real life on paper. That phase put to an end, blew the initial whistle to commence the voice donating session, The Online Voice Donation Camp. Even though the organizing committee planned to conduct this as a physical event, the second wave of COVID-19 stood in the way. Therefore they decided to conduct the voice donation camp as a fully virtual event via Zoom. Anyhow, amidst all the physical barriers, more than 100 local and as well as foreign volunteers banded together in this noble journey to put smiles on the faces of visually impaired students in our country, by bringing all the pre-written conversions to life by donating their voices.
The planning, organizing, and executing of this first-ever voice donation camp for the visually impaired children of Sri Lanka spanned over several sunrises and sunsets.
After days of several rehearsals to minimize all the possible drawbacks and errors that can occur on a virtual platform, finally, the day dawned! 31st of October,2020 – the much-awaited day of the “Andurata Athwalak” calendar.
The coordinators guided the volunteers and all the recordings went quite well because of the enthusiasm and dedication of every volunteer who joined hands with the camp. The best part was the on-the-spot feedback that they shared after donating their voices. Because of those encouraging, heartening feedbacks, it was crystal clear at the end of the day that this was not a project that only Rotaract Mora owns. The way all the volunteers put their hearts into this and the way they enjoyed their meritorious contribution spoke loud on the satisfaction they had gained with every single word they wrote or uttered and every single second they sacrificed to bring that day to life.
As the American author Helen Keller said,
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.
Raising our voices to help people to stand on their own and the ability of visually impaired individuals to add more colors to this world in the future may not be tangible but must be felt with our hearts. Like us, they also have been born with the potential to become gems to this world. Hence it is our responsibility to hold their hands in their journey to be polished to brilliance amidst all the challenges they have, and encourage them to look forward to a day when the light hits them and reflects the prism of colors hidden in them to the world and paint it bright and vivid in their own way.
The step we took to make a change in their lives, “Andurata Athwalak – The Voice Donation Camp” concluded in style engaging 100+ participants and completing 41 recordings with the participation of 12 Rotaract Clubs on a single day, sending the message to the world that there is still a vision without sight because not only the seven colors of the rainbow but also the seven fragrances of the rainbow have the potential to paint the world.