“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” In the lines of thinking of Theodore Roosevelt, on the significance of bestowing an outright education to the multitudes, our very first mission to edify the less fortunate students in the community, took place on Saturday, 15 September 2018 at the M. D. Gunasena International School. The project was the resourceful brainchild of a promising student and former Head Boy, Abdullah Nazeer, as a result of his fixated vision, steadfast determination and dedication as well as, relentless effort to pave the way for disadvantaged, yet keen students to obtain a topnotch education.
Indigent children, approximately thirty-six in all, of ages ten to sixteen from a deprived school in the vicinity, Mihindu Maha Vidyalaya and a needy, rural college, Handapangoda Vidyalaya came forward to take part in Saturday’s, foremost, learning program, that took place from 9 am until 2 pm. The children were divided into two groups; a gathering of under twelve years of age and an assemblage of above twelve years old were formed. The icebreaker, on the occasion, was a prelude on the value of education followed by a cooperative pursuit, where each child could propose himself intently to the rest of the enthusiastic pupil mass who had convened that morning. English Language, Mathematics and ICT were tutored by our resolute Abdullah and determined senior school, student corpus as well as our stalwart, IT personnel, during the course of the morning.
In précis, the launch of this purposeful project was an eye opener to its students; suggestively, it bequeathed hope in hopelessness. It, further, provided an independent, evocative, learning platform for students from deprived backgrounds. It was a constructive revelation that was communal to Abdullah and his senior school, student team, as well. All things considered, the mission ascertained itself as a rightful, learning experience to all who partook of it.
The poverty-stricken learners, on the other hand, showed us the true art of positive thinking, despite their deprived conditions. They were upbeat, wide-eyed and curious throughout the experience and they seemed to demonstrate an exceedingly optimistic, jaunty outlook to the whole process of being educated.
Armed with the power to influence people, prepared with leadership and managerial virtues, fortified with his potential to motivate people, Abdullah was able to inspire senior students in the school, to contribute selflessly, and wholeheartedly to teaching the underprivileged youngsters the schedule at hand. The team was not only able delivered the subject matter with vehemence but was so thoroughly involved in the meticulous planning and conscientious formulation of groundwork in anticipation of the occasion. Preparatory work included deriving pupil appraisal criterions, IQ checks and review documents, originating lesson plans and teaching material.
In synergy with his perceptive panel of young educationalists, Abdullah was equipped to deliver an exceptional course that allowed him to lay his first brick to the foundation of his concrete enterprise, Illuminàre.
Illuminàre, allegorically, has a potent implication and significance to enlighten students to achieve the highest in education and is decisively envisioned to change their lives for the better. Its adage being, ‘Ad Astra Per Aspera’, meaning, ‘to the stars with difficulty.’ It is designed to be perfectly sustainable in that, students who have benefitted from the program will continue to contribute to its continuity in helping other individuals achieve its ambition and objectives. “The betterment of society is not a job to be left to a few. It’s a responsibility to be shared by all.” Compelling as it may seem, such is Abdullah’s obsessive aspiration and commitment for the advancement of humanity, society and ultimately, civilization. Albert Einstein affirmed it concisely as, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”