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Rotary Club of Colombo celebrates 75 years in Sri Lanka

DN Tue Dec 2 2003:

In February 1929 the Rotary Club of Colombo was inaugurated at a Dinner Meeting held at the Galle Face Hotel, introducing Rotary to Sri Lanka. The first District to which Ceylon was attached was No. 89 which covered Afghanistan, Burma, India and Ceylon. Over the years the district was re-grouped many times till July 1991 when District 3222 was bifurcated, forming District 3220, comprising only of Sri Lankan clubs.

In its 75 years of service Rotary District 3220 has been responsible for:

* Established the Ceylon National Association for the prevention of Tuberculosis

* Established the Ceylon Cancer Society

* Helped 2000 destitute children through the Sevana Sarana Foster Parents Scheme

* Upgraded and refurbished the ICU of Matale General Hospital

* Facilitated Audiology Centres in Kandy, Anuradhapura and Rajagiriya

* Donated fire engines to Kandy Municipal Council

* Renovated the District Hospital at Balangoda

* Constructed a Jaipur Foot Workshop and Transit Hospital in Kundasale

* Gifted CAT scanner to General Hospital Badulla

* Gifted mobile stomach cancer screening unit to the Ministry of Health

* Gifted mobile oral cancer screening X-ray unit to the Ministry of Health

* Donated Emergency Care Unit equipment to the General Hospitals in Kandy and Peradeniya

* Provided 200 beds and mattresses to hospitals islandwide

* Established the Sri Lanka Anti Narcotics Association (SLANA)

* Donated a mobile media unit to General Hospital Colombo

* Provided annual scholarship for a student to follow postgraduate studies in the West.

* Scholarships in Medicine, computer Science and Accountancy

* Leaderships training programmes for 150 youth

* Provided Vocational Training Centres in the island

Rtn. Dick Spittel was elected President during the most difficult year 1932-1933. In his review he states: "The outstanding feature of the year was the spate of resignations. It spread like an epidemic and at one time it almost looked like wrecking the club." This was due to the depression. However, the year ended with a membership of 78.

In the year of Bishop Carpenter Garnier's presidentship, 1934/1955, Rtn, President Hill of Rotary International visited the Club. Rtn. A. Mamujee and Rtn. P. F. P. Deraniyagala attended the first District Conference held in Bombay.

The Club Anthem was adopted and the Director with Rtn. President Ken Taylor in the chair decided that the tune should be "Will Ye No Come Back Again". The club's donations to Community Service activities besides the usual items such as support to the Deaf and Blind school, gifts to the Crippled Children's Society, Mallika Home. House of Joy, Boy Scouts Association.

Hospital Supply Depot, De Soysa Maternity Waiting Wards, Negombo Life Boat Fund and Polish Relief Fund. The Refugee Committee raised Rs. 7,000 and undertook much estimable work. 1940/41 was the year of the most spectacular results. It was the year when Rtn. H. S. Perera was President, Rtn. P. de S. Kularatne, Secretary and Rtn. R. Doresamy, Treasurer.

The most striking achievement was the London Calling Carnival organized by Rtn. A. Gardiner with Rtn. K. Vaithiananthan as Hony. Secretary when Rs. 124,000 was raised for the War effort. The Club Bulletin was issued in its present form and named "Contact" at the suggestion of Rtn. Gibbs. Every member was for the first time put into some Committee or other. The Colombo Club sponsored two new Clubs - Jaffna and Galle.

Rtn. Stewart Orr became President in 1944/45 when Colombo won the Rama Rau Rolling Shield for the best Club in the District, which was repeatedly won the next 4 years with the result that the Shield was won outright in 1947/1948.

Rtn. Dr. J. H. F. Jayasuriya, President 1947/48, was mainly responsible for the Club sponsoring the CNAPT at a great meeting at the Colombo Town Hall under the Chairmanship of His Excellency Governor Moore. Another important event was the celebration of Independence Day by a largely attended Banquet.

The strength of the Rotary spirit in the club can be judged by no less than eleven instances of fathers and sons maintaining the family tradition of membership. They are S. M. and Ruzly Hassen, Mansoor and Majid Cader, Clarence and Senaka Amarasinghe, Culam and Ejaz Chatoor, Mustan, Shiraz and Yusuf Jeevungee all three of whom were Secretaries of the club and each of whom received the Best Secretary's award for Sri Lankan Clubs, Cyril and Mike Masilamani, Emmanuel and Amrit Muttukumarana, Fairlie and Lalith Pedris, K. Selvanathan and his son Hari and Carl and Derek Wijeyeratne both of whom became President of the club.

There are also three cases of three generations of the same family being members of our club - H. Esufally, his son Nordi and grandson Abbas, R. A. Nadesan, his son Kumar and grandson Ravi who is our President Elect for 1987/88 and Sir Para, his son Park (both of whom District Governors) and grandson Mario Swaminathan all three of whom became President of the Rotary Club of Colombo.

In addition Past President Ismet Macan Marker is the nephew of a Charter Member of our club Sir Mohamed Macan Markar.

(Press release).