ROTARACT MODEL VILLAGE – HOROWPOTHANA (04th February – 30th June 2018)
“Rotaract Model Village” concept was designed with the motive of benefiting a wider community by developing an under-privileged village through a series of widespread, long-term and sustainable initiatives; thereby, uplifting the standards of the village. As the first step, Suhadagama in Horowpothana, in the Anuradhapura District, which is about 270 km away from Colombo and considered to be one of the most under-privileged villages in Sri Lanka was selected as the base village. Subsequently, having analyzed the possibility of expanding the scope of the project, three more villages that are bordering Suhadagama, namely Rathmale, Welagahaulpatha and Kethewewa, were added to the development agenda. A holistic approach was followed, and sub-projects listed below could be considered as a few of the many initiatives undertaken within the villages.
1. A newly established, fully equipped Public Library
There are three schools around these villages (Rathmale Maha Vidyalaya, Rottewewa Vidyalaya and Veeracholai Vidyalaya) which the children from all four villages attend, but none of these schools had access to or resources required for a library. Access to library facilities was therefore a major requirement for all these schools and children. Thereby, an abandoned hall was chosen, renovated with the support of the villagers, and provided with necessary furniture along with a sufficient number of books (educational supplements, past papers, novels etc.) in all three languages, taking into consideration the multi-ethnic demography of the area.
2. Fully refurbished Maternity and Child Clinic with a newly built Waiting Area
Due to lack of available resources, the only maternal & child clinic providing services to more than 1,000 families was in bad conditions rendering the effective functions obsolete. Steps were taken to fully refurbish the clinic, which included repairs to the building and surroundings, installation of furniture and provision of essential medical and other equipment such as weighing scales. Moreover, a waiting area for the clinic was newly constructed, improving the standards and level of comfort for mothers and infants.
3. Installation of Two Water Purification Systems
The Anuradhapura District is known for widespread Chronic Kidney Diseases. The situation in these villages have proven to be the same; considering which, two water purification systems were installed, one in Rathmale and the other in Suhadagama, based on the wells that are most commonly used. The installation included new water tanks, pipelines and water motors as well.
4. Provision of Sewing Machines and other means of livelihood assistance for women
In order to establish a sustainable livelihood for the women in the area, sewing machines were placed and training sessions were conducted for these women to develop and improve their skills. Considering the need for affordable raw materials, assistance was provided to gain access to clothing material at concessionary prices.
Following provision of proper training by designer resource personnel, a business opportunity was created where several items such as hand bags, mats, market bags etc. were started to be made using recyclable materials found from the villages itself, such as palm leaves and Palmyra leaves. While generating income for the women, the initiative facilitated utilization of untapped resources in a very productive manner.
5. Establishment of a Compost Manufacturing Plant
In order to ensure that all-natural resources available are utilized in the best possible capacity while generating income, a compost manufacturing plant was introduced. Waste materials such as dry leaves and livestock waste are converted into pure compost using this plant. Necessary training was provided prior to the establishment of the plant. Produced compost is used for income generation through direct sales, agricultural purposes, and also to receive fertilizer subsidies from the government.
6. Establishment of an Organic Farm along with a Well and a Point of Sale
In an attempt to further improve the economic security of these villagers, an organic farm was established. A barren land which is about three acres in size was completely cleaned and transformed into a fertile block where plants could be grown; it should be noted that compost from the compost manufacturing plant was used in the process. After making the land fertile, a range of commercial plants including vegetables and fruits were provided to the farmers. In addition, identifying the daily requirement of water, a well was dug and a pipeline was installed. A conscious decision was taken to run the farm on an organic basis.
Further sustaining the project, a point of sale was created for the farmers to sell fruits and vegetables grown in the organic farm. To capitalize on the high market available for organic products, a specific sales shop was established in the Anuradhapura-Trincomalee main road so that both locals and foreigners taking the route will be able to conveniently access the products.
7. Eye Clinic and Donation of Spectacles
A vision screening camp along with specific spectacle donations was also conducted for the people who are in need. People from all four villages were included in the list of beneficiaries. People who had been suffering from various eye conditions were diagnosed and directed to the Anuradhapura Base Hospital for further treatment, without any fee being charged.
8. Restructuring of Sports Facilities and Donation of Equipment (Cricket and Volleyball)
In order to improve sporting facilities in the villages, a ground which had been abandoned was completely restructured into a cricket ground, with a proper cricket pitch and indication of boundaries. Further, a volleyball court was provided which included structuring and levelling of the court. In addition, all necessary sporting equipment were provided.
9. Establishment of Village Societies
Focusing on improving and maintaining peace among different ethnicities, separate societies for adults and children were established representing people and students across all four villages and all ethnicities. The ultimate objective of these societies is to encourage all of them to work together at times of need. The adults’ society focuses on providing a helping hand to any family at times of hardship such as the death of a family member, and ensuring that the newly adopted economic activities are continued effectively. The children’s society focuses on improvements to education and extra-curricular activities. Both these societies meet twice a month.
After months of planning, hard work and effort put in, “Rotaract Model Village – Horowpothana” was officially established on the 30th of June 2018 with the completion of all sub-projects across the four villages. From that point onwards, all these villages are officially being referred to as the Rotaract Model Village.