Gulzaar Ahmed (Sri Lanka)

Gulzaar Ahmed (Sri Lanka)

Gulzaar Ahmed – TIMUN Director/Co-Founder (Sri Lanka)

Model United Nations has always been a platform for young leaders to excel and rediscover their true potential. But the ever-rising question of how these students can be true agents of change by directly involving them in achieving the SDGs locally has never been addressed. This year at The International Model United Nations (TIMUN) we changed the outlook of contemporary Model UN in Sri Lanka by including a MUN Field Work, where students debated on a global issue addressing SDG 11 and moved out of the committee rooms to contribute to real change amidst their amazing resolutions.

Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka truly acted as the pioneers in sparking the change in more than 100 delegates this year in providing our delegates an opportunity for being an agent of change. TIMUN’s partnership with Habitat Sri Lanka changed the lives of those visually impaired families at Katana and every stakeholder here at TIMUN.

TIMUN looks forward to working with Habitat in engaging more local and foreign delegates in creating change in the lives of many in the years to come. Thank you, Habitat, for being an eye opener to our students, and being one of our pillars of success.

 

 

Mandini Gunasekara (Sri Lanka)

Mandini Gunasekara (Sri Lanka)

Mandini Gunasekara- Fulbright Commission (Sri Lanka)

I volunteered at two events hosted by Habitat Sri Lanka so far. The first being Board, Family and Friends Build 2019 on the 15th of January, and the second being the Youth Rebuild 2019 on the 11th of March, both of which took place in Nayanalokagama, Negombo.

The events were organized perfectly. It was evident how much thought and care was put into the safety and comfort of the volunteers and the Habitat representatives were incredibly kind and helpful which made working with Habitat better than I could’ve ever imagined.

At the end of each event, a representative from the community of Nayanalokagama spoke a few words expressing how grateful they were for the work Habitat does for communities like theirs, which really brought to perspective how important projects like these are to the less privileged communities. Seeing the smiles on their faces as they thanked us for our hard work was truly heartwarming and rewarding.

 

Aysha Rifam (Sri Lanka)

Aysha Rifam (Sri Lanka)

Aysha Rifam -lImah International Girls School (Sri Lanka)

“Knowledge is of no use if it’s not put into action” and Habitat for Humanity did just that. It taught us unity, equality and most importantly respect. Working with my team was a wonderful experience and memory that will never fade.

As once said by Mahatma Gandhi: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” We are never satisfied with what we have instead we crave for more. But, that day, looking at the difficulty faced by so many families made me realize how self-centered we have all been. It taught me to be grateful for what I have been blessed with, and to help others with an open heart.

I think that’s where Habitat for Humanity really stands; it brought out humanity in every one of us. I would like to thank Habitat for Humanity for giving me such a wonderful opportunity. “It was a memory that would last forever and an experience that taught better.”

Emma Tallon (Australia)

Emma Tallon (Australia)

Emma Tallon made her first trip to Sri Lanka in November 2018. She was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity through her organization – Morgans. Emma and her team of 10 were able to raise just under $50,000 to support Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka.

Although Emma was aware that she will be volunteering to help less fortunate families, the conditions in which these homeowners survive were lot harsher than she expected which Emma found to be mind-boggling.

Bonding with the homeowners was a memorable experience for Emma; she especially connected with the daughter of the first homeowner she met and couldn’t believe how the homeowners manage to overcome the communication barriers between them and get their message across.

Emma was touched by the homeowner’s hospitality and how with almost nothing, the homeowners never fail to smile and spread love and kindness

George Clarke (Canada)

George Clarke (Canada)

George Clarke has been involved with Habitat for Humanity for almost ten years now; and he made his first trip to Sri Lanka in April 2019. George led a team of 12 members; some of who had been on GV trips before and some were first time Habitat Volunteers.

Their build was located in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka – sunny Batticaloa. His volunteer experience in Sri Lanka was special for many reasons – one of them being the opportunity to work alongside one mason in particular; Ram. Ram had never worked with volunteers before and he was excited to have volunteers assisting him with the construction of his house. The language barrier between Ram and the volunteers was not a challenge as they began to work together. George loved how Ram always showed up with a smile no matter how hot or humid it was on the build site and he really let them try everything they could on the construction site, including leveling the foundation.

By the third day of their build, Ram would challenge George; and the two of them would compete to see who finishes the task first. This dynamic had a way of empowering both volunteer and mason, and they didn’t feel the day pass by in the scorching heat. They were constructing a home in good spirits, with honest hard work.

On the fifth day of the build George and his team had a cooking lesson at the guest house they were staying at, which George describes to be the “greatest highlight” of the trip. Their Global Village experience was packed with local culture, hospitality and humility as they worked together with Habitat Sri Lanka to empower communities in need through decent and safe shelter.

Jessie McDermott (Australia)

Jessie McDermott (Australia)

Jessie hopped on a 12-hour flight from Australia to Sri Lanka with uncertainty and hope about her Global Village experience. What she didn’t know at that time was the journey to Sri Lanka would shape the way she would later view the world and volunteering forever.

Given the opportunity to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Jessie was aware of the unique opportunity she had to impact people’s lives who deserve it most. In this case it was a community who survived the effects of the civil war in Batticaloa.

However what Jessie was most surprised to learn through her experience, was the magnitude of the impact they as volunteers walked away with from their week of supporting this community.

Through this journey, Jessie learned “that happiness isn’t something you experience when you have everything; it’s something you are blessed with when you have people around you who love you. They taught us strength in the face of diversity. They taught us a new level of kindness and giving as they had only minimal to spare. Most importantly, they taught us the power of laughter and how it makes difficult days of hard labour and heat much, much easier.”

Jessie looks forward to pursuing more opportunities of working closely with Habitat for Humanity so that she can continue to play an active role in creating an impact in the world.