Heart for humanity | Daily News

Heart for humanity

SachindaDulanjana Pictures by Sarath Peiries
SachindaDulanjana Pictures by Sarath Peiries

Youth are the change agents of a society. They are tomorrow’s leaders, parents, professionals, workers and today’s assets. They are often dubbed the backbone of a country. They bring new ideas and energy to add to the pool of knowledge that exists. They can bring enthusiasm and vitality which can lead to new discoveries and developments that can benefit society or even the world at large.

Although not the only drivers of social change, young people are considered as one of the key drivers who bring about change. Sachinda Dulanjana had touched the lives of many and made an impact on social change. The youth is the founder of the H3 Foundation – Hearts and Hands of Humanity; a youth led voluntary organisation which promotes volunteerism. Incepted in 2012 with the vision of setting a convenient platform for young people to get engaged as volunteers according to their own capacity and time availability, the H3 Foundation mostly focuses on people with special needs.

“I believe that young people have to play a crucial role in terms of any social cause. Young people should lead the path as pioneers with the energy and passion they have to make this world a better place. Involving young people in social service activities will also give them a different view of life where they could cope and tolerate even the hardest situations in their lives,” Sachinda said.

With his parents at the V Awards Grand Finale 2013

He realized why giving back matters when he was in grade six at Ananda College, Colombo. He had gotten the opportunity to take part in the 10th Colombo Ananda College Scout Troop as a junior scout.

“This made a great impact in my life while allowing myself to get engaged in a number of social service activities with different types of communities. I became a President Scout at the end of my scouting career which spanned around seven years. This gave me an immense exposure to the field of social work with hands on experience. The mental health restoration program for Tsunami victims in 2004 organised by Ananda College Scout Troop is one the most unforgettable and life changing experiences I have ever had as a junior scout. I took part in school rehabilitation programs, leadership training programs etc through the Prefects’ Guild of Ananda College. ‘Bridge of Hearts 2010’ School Rehabilitation Project in Kilinochchi was one of the projects by the Prefects’ Guild which I organised. Over 300 children who were in an IDP camp were able to commence their studies in their own school premises after the final stage of the devastating terrorist era,” he explained.

Stepping into the house as the Honourable Speaker of the Sri Lanka Youth Parliament at the Inaugural Session of 4th Youth Parliament of Sri Lanka

Sachinda says that self satisfaction and an immense feeling of accomplishment drives him into giving more of himself to brighten others’ lives.

“In a world where most people just exist rather than live their lives, I prefer to live mine by doing what I always like to do. You may not get any monetary gains for making someone else’s life beautiful but I believe there is something worthwhile in it which you cannot buy with riches,” he mused.

Sachinda has a number of accolades to his name. He is the Speaker of the fourth Sri Lanka Youth Parliament. He has represented Sri Lankan youth at the 71st United Nations General Assembly as an Official Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations. He has been appointed as the Asia Regional Representative of Commonwealth Student Association. Sachinda presented the recommendations of the Asia Pacific Youth Consultation on UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security with an Iranian colleague at a globally live streamed special panel discussion after being elected by the fellow youth peace builders from 19 countries in Asia Pacific region. This event was held in 2017 at the UN Regional Headquarters in Thailand. He has been awarded the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) Award in 2015 by Junior Chamber International and had been nominated as a regional finalist from Asia for the Commonwealth Youth Worker Award in 2013.

‘Rhythm of Humanity’ program at Salvation Army Elders’ Home, Rajagiriya organized by H3 Foundation

“Being a person who loves to live in the moment I see each and every achievement in my life as something to celebrate with the same importance as it motivates me to do better in everything I do. However among all these achievements I believe that my greatest achievement was being able to become an Anandian by passing the Grade five scholarship examination. That is where the journey began!” he explained.

He considers the moment that he met former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon during the 71st UN General Assembly as an Official Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations as one of the highlights of his journey.

“It was also a proud moment to address the globe as a Sri Lankan youth since I delivered the Official Youth Statement of Sri Lanka in the Third Committee of 71st UN General Assembly,” he recalled.

On his role as the Speaker of the Youth Parliament Sachinda notes, “My main role is to ensure that Parliamentary proceedings take place accordingly as per the standing orders while maintaining good discipline at the house. I am really glad to say that we have set our standards of Sri Lanka Youth Parliament to a position where even the members of the National Parliament can learn many things about how to engage in a meaningful debate with good discipline.”

Elaborating the biggest challenge he has faced in his life Sachinda says that he had to overcome many barriers to reach the position he is in today.

“One of the main challenges was my own fears which I was able to overcome with the time. Also several times I was challenged by the system just because I was coming from a normal family background which had no political influence. English language was also a barrier for me in the initial stages but today, looking back at my journey, I am really thankful to all those challenges for making me strong and who I am today.”

Queried on what he thinks is the most crucial issue that the Sri Lankan youth are suffering from today, Sachinda says that the youth do not have a clear vision about their own future nor the future of the country.

“It increases the tension among young people. Throughout last six or seven decades we haven’t seen that any political leadership of this country sensibly addressing the issues of youth with a good understanding about the grassroots level youth issues. So it has continuously failed us in giving sustainable solutions to youth issues. Young people must actively participate in the democratic process, starting from casting their votes as responsible voters to running for elections to have the decision making power to combat this issue. As long as the decision making power remains with the incapable rulers, there is very less we can do,” he opined.

He says that he has a set of role models who influences his thinking. His father, Wijerathna Witharana – a retired police officer - and his mother, Ashoka Dissanayake, are his mentors as he has witnessed their struggle to bring him up to level he is in today.

“They have nourished me with the finest lessons of humanity which is the reason behind many of the things I voluntary do. Abraham Lincoln is also my role model since his life story gives us the lesson of patience and not giving up at any point in our lives no matter how hard the situation is,” he said.

Sachinda also has an elder brother, Thilina Madushan Witharana, who studied at Isipathana College, Colombo, and is employed in Japan.

“My one and only dream is to build a better country where everyone can live happily and peacefully.

" I may take any path which will lead to that dream in the future. I have a strong desire to end my career one day as a diplomat who was able to take the glory of my beautiful motherland to international heights,” Sachinda noted.

His advice to youth is to have unconditional faith and to love whatever tasks they take on.

“Most of the time young people do not believe in themselves due to various reasons. We must believe in our potential to get the best out of us. I think that’s where everything begins. If you can believe in your dream, you are halfway there.

"Also it is really important not to give up our dreams whenever we go through hard times. That is where we need to hold on to our dreams with patience. Finally commitment and self discipline throughout the journey is essential. If you really want to become an outstanding person, you may have to do things which ordinary people may not do!” he concluded with a smile.


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