By Madubashini Jayawardane
It has been six long months since we met last as ECO-V volunteers for a monthly meeting. War and uncertainty made us postpone the Thirasi hamuwa for a long time. Now our members want to meet and take our mission forward. We met after six months at Moratuwa Sarvodaya’s Damsak Mandiraya on on Sunday 15th August. Our President Kanchana joined us from Melbourne via Skype. As our custom the meeting commenced with religious observance followed by one minute of silence in memory of who helped us in the past and to honour all those who laid down their lives for the country.
Going down the memory lane since inception, Harsha briefed the history of ECO-V and introduced our mission and goal as there were some new faces. Kanchana, who joined via Skype, expressed her happiness as she was able to be with us at the meeting, though physically she was far away. The earth becomes smaller in the cyberspace! She said. She also briefed her activities in Melbourne as many members were so keen to get her news.
One of the topics that we discussed extensively was the 10th anniversary of ECO-V which we hope to commemorate next year. Kanchana briefed us about the Kelani Nadee Yathra, a voyage along the river Kelani from its start from the hills in Peak Wilderness to Colombo where river meet the Indian Ocean.
There were some other proposals too to celebrate the event like religious programs, exhibitions and tree planting campaigns.
The other agenda was how to take our message to more people by increasing the membership. We all agreed that ECO-V should not go for an increase of the head count but to recruit members who has a real feeling for the environment and nature and who are willing to become eco friendly citizens. Strategies to attract more members of good caliber were discussed lengthily and proposed the following strategies:-
-to introduce members through personnel contacts, (each member to get one new member),
- reach out to people through exhibitions etc,
-spread the ECO-V message by forwarding the web and blog site to friends in our address books. (Using the cyberspace for a membership drive)
-organising lectures to students of Sunday schools, target groups are the students as well as their parents.
-train youth groups
We had Kavum (traditional oil cake)and Bananas for tea. As the meeting was in progress, we had unexpected visitors. Sarvodaya leader Dr. A.T. Ariyarathne and Mrs. Ariyarathne came to see our Thirasi meeting. They too were happy to have a word with Kanchana. We discussed about our next field visit to Muthurajawela before concluding the meeting. All felt happy to be back with Thirasi and discussed a lot about the past fond memories of ECO-V .