The spirit of giving
By Madhushala Senaratne

Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict has claimed thousands of lives in the past two and a half decades and has left many more injured. Many are the valiant members of the armed forces who have risked life and limb to protect yours and mine and the sovereignty of this land. Now it's time to give to those who gave. And the best thing to give them is to help their children in their education.

Life is hard for these children. Their fathers, who not so long ago, bravely fought the terrorists in the North and East of the country, are now injured and unable to work. Money is hard to come by. The community service project Give to those who Gave, organised by Interact District 3220 aims to give something to those brave men and women who gave so much to their motherland, to grant a wish that their children would like to see fulfilled.

Every year the Interact District and Interact Clubs organise a charity project aimed at serving the community we live in.

"This year we wanted to do something for the soldiers, especially their children," says Dvanika Wanigasekera, President of the Interact Club of Ananda College and Secretary of this particular project. "The armed forces are doing a massive service and as youth it is important that we show them that we appreciate what they do and help them when they need something."

Around 150 children of handicapped soldiers would be given the opportunity to wish for or request something related to their education, such as books, other material or even musical instruments. As the club sees it, education is probably the best gift society can give.

"It's not just books, but say a student wants to learn to play the guitar, then we would arrange for that," Dvanika says. Children were selected based on a list given by the Sri Lanka Army. "We got in touch with a lot of children and some of them replied stating their wish," he says. And their wishes will come true at the end of this month.

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