The memories and experiences that I gained in my four years as an AIESECer are uncountable and priceless. Now when I turn back, all I could see are the confidence, strength and skill I’ve been left with; that same strength and confidence with which I was walked by senior AIESECers when I first joined AIESEC. AIESEC stood as the pillar behind me in my journey of Community development .Nearly three and a half years back, Upul, Vimukthi and I (Upul and I being former AIESECers) founded the International Movement for Community Development.( IMCD), state-registered, Voluntary Social Services/ Non Governmental Organisation with five principal projects (Needy Readers, Path to wisdom, Colour a Dream, My Dream School, Amuzed) which has risen upon today with the support of more than 350 local and foreign volunteers thus bringing the popularity that IMCD holds today. Infact, AIESEC alumni from different parts of the country have also contributed in every project we’ve initiated so far. With the large AIESEC network spread across the globe, in no time, we were able to take the projects we initiated in IMCD to an international platform. As a result of this wide network, countries like Germany, Canada and Australia have also contributed and taken part in our projects and have created their success story in community development with IMCD. The success story that I now relate to you is that of Slovakia. Before I proceed, let me tell you a few words about my country.
Sri Lanka is a tiny island in the Indian Ocean and thus is known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Its charms are alluring and many: a fascinating history at the heart of the ancient Silk Route, a breathtaking landscape, a beauty unique to the island, a diverse people, Ceylon tea as well as its extravagantly talented cricket team. Over the past three decades, the world has seen the worst of Sri Lanka. Today however, it is among the safest both in terms of personal safety and business security. Visitors recognize among everything, the unique ‘Sri Lankan smile’. My country brings together people with a diverse array of backgrounds and religious beliefs. After the bitter memories of the war, we as a nation are back on our feet, stronger, despite the poverty and the innocent smiles are proof that Sri Lankans are among the happiest people in the world.
In 2012, Julia Svandova , a Slovakian AIESECer comes to Sri Lanka as an intern for a Development Traineeship in Negambo.She goes back to Slovakia with a strong concern to help the needy community in Sri Lanka. She sees the community development projects undertaken by IMCD and those so far successfully completed through social media channels and decides to give a helping hand in uplifiting the lives of children from underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka. With the donations she receives from her friends and personally, she financially strengthens the IMCD project called ‘My Dream School’, the first phase of which was held in Mihinthale. The kids draw their dream school and we at IMCD promise them the playground, the volleyball court or sometimes that colourful mat slide they had in their little minds. Julia contributes generously in this worthy cause and she doesn’t stop there. Her passion in community development goes to the extent of founding her own organization in Slovakia to help the needy community in Sri Lanka. For this understanding to be formed IMCD was indispensable. AIESEC stood as the trust bridge between the two countries in forming this organization.
The second phase of this project in Puttlam, Sri Lanka becomes remarkable. Julia has formed the ‘Samaya’ Organization to collect donations for the My Dream School project. ‘Samaya’ blooms as a result of the mutual effort: the effort of Julia and her community in helping the needy children in Sri Lanka and the effort of us IMCD founders in helping Julia with her passion for community development with the expertise, experience and necessary vision we gained through AIESEC, and in the long run, by this phase, this vision could give birth to two community serving organizations: IMCD and Samaya.
The third phase of the project will be even more remarkable for this phase of the project will be represented by Slovakian volunteers as well as 10-15 interns from AIESEC. This has resulted in a massive progress in the number of contributions, severs and partners and even in the expansion of the scope of the project. This project as a whole wouldn’t have been and will not be as successful if it wasn’t for the base that us IMCD founders gained in committing ourselves in various AIESEC projects. It made the motto we created almost three and a half years back for IMCD, ‘From the society, To the society, With the society’ a strong reality. IMCD today has won the blessings from its thousands of beneficiaries across the country. This is the potential of AIESEC the way I see it: Peace and fulfillment of human kind’s potential. It doesn’t let us stop the journey at any cost. When I joined with AIESEC Alumni I realized that I am only stepping another beginning, a longer, perhaps a more responsible journey in guiding those who have a passion to make the world a better place.
I hope this success story influenced you in guiding you through your journey of community development. As a founder of IMCD, I wish there will be many more passionate volunteers among you like Julia who would like to join with us IMCD to begin your journey to make a change in the world.
As said by various writers and philosophers, heroes didn’t leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn’t wear boots and capes. They bled and they bruised, and their super powers were as simple as listening or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else’s. This is the change the world needs today. I was once a little boy who had dreams of making better someone else’s life but not with proper vision or guidance. But today, blessed with AIESEC years, as a proud Alumnus of AIESEC, I’m ready to guide those bearing in mind that change the world needs today, with overwhelming happiness and gratitude. I suppose this is how we live it the AIESEC way!
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