By: Nirukshi deLanerolle
Emerge Lanka Foundation Program Coordinator
When Lion’s club 306 A came forward to sponsor the Christmas party for the girls at Salvation Army I was overjoyed. My friend Dulitha Pathmaraj who is the president of the club mentioned that they would organize the party for the 85 girls at Salvation Army. I was a little disappointed that no-one came forward to sponsor the Panadura girls party but I had this amazing idea that we could bring the girls from Panadura to the Salvation Army on that day. All plans were made and I assisted Dulitha and the others who were organizing the Christmas party for the girls at Salvation Army on the 18th. It was a grand party and the total no of girls, children and babies totaled to over 150. We had a magician and lots of music and food for everyone and the girls from both homes performed a few items at the inception of the party. The party ended well with each girl receiving a gift and a dinner packet. I was still not happy that the Panadura girls were not having a Christmas party in their own premises. I thought I would request some of the volunteers and the mentors who mentor the girls at Salvation Army to assist me to fundraise to have another small party at the Panadura shelter. I was very surprised that so many responded offering cash and kind donations for me to organize the party for the Panadura girls. I had done a rough budget which I forwarded to the all the supporters who came forward to assist me and quickly collected the donations in cash and kind. This is the 5th year I have organized Christmas parties in the shelters Emerge has worked with. I was quite a veteran now with all the experience I had gained. I shopped for gifts for the girls, staff and also prizes for games, I didn’t have a huge budget but I was able to get something nice for everyone, I was told by one of the past participants who has known me and watched me doing this holiday party for the last five years. she said “miss how do you get such lovely gifts so cheap every year” I told her that before I go shopping I pray about it and she was quite surprised at my answer. I ordered Fried rice lunch packets with fried chicken, kankung, salad and papadams and one of the mentors donated ice cream and jelly as dessert. It was the 19th our last workshop day that we had planned the party and some of the mentors who were free along with 2 volunteers who has been supporting us were present at the party. First we started with some entertainment, the girls performed some beautiful dances and songs and then we got down to the usual games. For every game we nominated 5 winners so that we gave out 5 prizes for every game and all the girls not only got a gift they also received a prize as well. We continued with musical chairs, musical hat, balloon popping team game and the grand finale was the dancing stars, even the staff at the shelter, mentors, volunteers and the Emerge staff did their performances as well and the girls enjoyed themselves. The Emerge team wanted to surprise the girls with performance and we did an item performed by the Veddahs in Sri Lanka, there is a famous band in Sri Lanka who sing this baila song. The story is about a villager who visits the veddhas and is welcomed by the Veddah’s daughter (Gomari) who then woos the villager and they get married but Gomari the daughter of the chief veddah cannot live with him and she drives him away and that ends the story. The girls were so excited to see us perform and we enjoyed dancing to the song. After lunch and dessert, the prizes and gifts were distributed and the girls performed to us a play and we enjoyed ourselves. While we had tea with chocolate and fruit cake in the evening, I had planned that the girls would judge the contest I had organized for the visitors. I formed 4 groups gave them pencils and papers and told them to nominate 5 guest who did the best dancing to the lovely music, All four groups nominated all most the same people and we distributed the prizes for the guests as well. To the end the days proceedings we had a dancing session. When we finally said our goodbyes the girls were fulfilled as they had a fun filled day and we thank our Mentors and volunteers who helped us achieve this very satisfying and memorable day.