SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala celebrated its Annual Sinhala-Hindu New Year Festival this year on April 17, 2015, at the green turfs of SOS VTC, with all glamour and grandeur. The mega event was fabulously organized by the Past Pupils’ Forum of the SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala, with an enormous series of national events, traditional games, imbued with fun and frolic to the brim, culminating with a sensational musical extravaganza, where the youth vigor was expressed in propelled ecstatic sensations with movement exaggerations to the toe tapping rhythmic waves resonated in the atmosphere.
The massive participation of past as well as present students with their colleagues, friends and some of their relatives filled the green turfs and its circumference with merrymaking perception, cheering up all competitors of prizewinning events.
The festive event began with the illumination of decorated oil lamps by the VTC Director, Mr. Rohan de Silva, and respective Instructors and also by representatives of the student body of SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala. The New Year Festival was lined up with more than forty national games in which all most all participants took part in to make the event thrilling and exciting.
Cross-country race, climbing the grease pole, smashing pots blindfolded, popularly known as ‘kana muttiya bideema’, marking elephant’s eye, finding the lost coin in troubled waters, musical chairs, gunny bag races, bun eating race, balloon dance, ‘kotta pora alleema’ which means beating each other with hard pillows, seated astride on a horizontally elevated bar up from the ground, ‘thun pa divima’ a type of race run in pairs, ankles bound, carrying limes on spoons, stringing needle eyes, feeding curd to the blindfold, known as ‘andayata kiri kavima’, and tug of war, were just some of the items out of whole cloth to mention. All these indigenous games have been a part of Sinhala Hindu New Year Festivals since ancient times in Sri Lanka. The program was eloquently compered by Anton Narangoda together with his team of announcers from the Past Pupils’ Forum whose voice tones sparked the spectators with high caliber frequency modulations.
Community aspect among past and present students was crystal-clear during the entire celebration. The Past Pupils’ Forum facilitated the entire New Year Festival with innovations and initiatives under the guidance and supervision of its Moderator, Mr. Malinda Maharage, Senior Co-worker and Chathurangani Nawanjana, and T. Chandana, the present Secretary and President of the Forum.
The staff team, Niroshan Jayawardena, Nandasiri Bandara, Rasika Manjula, Chandana Laksiri, H.G. Lakshman, Ruwan Rangana, Nishantha, Hemal Yasantha, Manjula Jayasinghe, Dinesh Kumara, Arunasiri, Kanthi Candralatha, Samantha Premarathne, Sureshan, Vije Kumar, Illangovan, Sisira Wasantha, extended their fullest cooperation, while some presented themselves as panel members, executing their impartial judgements on each competitive event. The fellowship New Year buffet was a sign of unity and solidarity of all members belonging to SOS VTC.
The prize giving was held towards the finale of the festive panorama where the winners of each item were given prizes. The Sinhala Hindu New Year Festival was held under the patronage of Mr. Rohan de Silva, Director of SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala. A comprehensive survey was also done meantime, to ascertain and review past pupils’ progress and success in their endeavors. This was a prime purpose together with the New Year Festival. SOS VTC does a follow-up of past trainees’ achievements in their occupations and their firmness in the very vocations they were trained in at SOS Vocational Training Centre. This procedure is termed as ‘Tracking Footprints’, with the motivation of assessing the quality and fruitfulness of services the SOS Vocational Training Centre has been rendering during past years. The survey is conducted once in four years and this was its second time.
The Past Pupils’ Forum of SOS Vocational Training Centre in Monaragala comprises more than 400 members at present, representing many Provinces in Sri Lanka. The members have their Annual General Meeting every year. They show their indebtedness to SOS VTC for the formation and training received especially in vocational skills that molded their propensities to establish themselves well in society. They organize different activities to uphold ongoing programs at SOS Vocational Training Centre, their Alma Mater, with a sense of gratitude.
Written by Anton Narangoda