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“අම්මා හිටියානම් දෙසැම්බර් පළවෙනිදාම ගවලෙන ඔතන” Said Janisha’s aunt pointing to an empty space adjoining their front door.

At the dawn of December, we Lankans wake up to the sound of fire crackers, which embarks the beginning of Christmas celebrations in the Island. The festivity spreads through all shopping centres and homes all over the nation. Even the small wayside boutiques throughout the country come out with their small festive décor, spreading the message of love, peace and joy, embracing the true spirit of Christmas.

But Christmas, will never be the same to some of the families in Colombo and a few suburbs. On 21st April 2019, a nation that had already seen far too much violence was subjected to even more resulting in over 200 adults and children killed. They left behind treasured possessions, those that loved them cannot bear to move, as well as the empty spaces where they lived, worked and played.

Maybe, just maybe if they were here today, they’ll be shopping and preparing for Christmas, in the festive localities around the nation.

The passing of a parent is inevitable. But just because it is, doesn’t make it any easier. This, one of the most emotional human experience, is grief filled and traumatic, especially if you are a child or a teenager growing up, as it changes you, both biologically and physiologically.

Thus, we at Mid Town, devoted our 4th consecutive Secret Santa Project, to try and put a smile on the faces of the little souls based in Negombo, who lost either one or both their parents to the vicious attacks carried out at the St. Sebastian’s Church Katuwapitiya, Negombo. 

The project chaired by Rtr. Nelushi and Co-Chaired by Rtr. Pavithra, was planned early December, and initiated by Rtr. Nelushi, getting in touch with Rev. Father Rashmi in order to obtain details of those children who were theoretically orphaned, along with their wishes for Christmas. We were indeed disheartened to see the names of 26 children and teenagers, belonging to 14 different families, battling different emotions of shock, denial, anger and sadness persisting in varying degrees, those that they’ll probably carry throughout their lifetime.

The Google form inviting donors to fulfil the different wishes, was shared across all social media platforms on the 16th of December.  We were surprised by the abrupt responses received, and grateful that all 26 gifts were picked by generous contributors within a span of two days. We are indeed obliged and thankful to all the Secret Santas who came forward to join us in this worthy cause. The gifts were wrapped and a personalized message was attached on to it, at COCO Space by our members who came in on Saturday the 21st of December after a tiring day at the dodgeball tournament.

On the 22nd of December, our team set out to Negombo, super excited to distribute these gifts to the kids and relish the smiles on their faces. We left Colombo at around 8 AM, as usual the ride was loaded with music and fun until we finally reached Negombo at 10 AM. Our first stop was at Rtr. Nelushi’s house, after which we set out to pick Rev. Father Rashmi at s residence. But to our dismay, he was held up with some other commitments, but promised to join us within the day. Although we knew nothing about the routes, we took the challenge to go ahead without Rev Father, but thanks to Nelushi’s Driver Uncle, we managed to navigate through to most of the houses with ease. It was a pleasing sight to see the smiles on their faces. Every family had their own sad story to share, single parents, financial problems, and some of them loosing many loved ones. Rev. Father Rashmi joined us halfway through and not only guided us with the routes, but also took us to the St. Sebastian’s Church. There we presented Rev Father with a token of appreciation for all the support given by him and then departed to the distribute the gifts to the remaining families. It was 3 PM when we finally accomplished our objective for the day.

Visiting 14 houses, is undeniably a tiring task, but the sense of contentment and satisfaction attained by the purpose of it, is un-matchable. We at Mid Town take pride, in letting those souls know that they are only orphans theoretically, as they are part of this amazing Rotaract Family.

Rtr. Haaziq Fhuazi | Email:

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