By Mohamed Inshaf,
I always wanted to be part of a social service organization. Honestly, I had no clue where to go to find one. Nevertheless, I found a great opportunity to be a part of Future Leaders Conference 2015 organized by Sri Lanka Unites. It was my first ever involvement in their flagship event. I would like to start with Team SLU; they were filled with enthusiasm towards this program. Every single one of them are so friendly and I never felt that I was amongst a set of strangers. Insights I collected in the mentors program was a major pillar of my FLC-7 journey. I was personally motivated by seeing the SLU members’ commitment towards the success of this program.
I was told by many SLU members that this is going to be an amazing experience. In my own words I’d say it was definitely a life changing experience!
On the first day I was given 14 students who represented different districts across the country, also with an amazing group of co-mentors. Our objective was to simply make them to be good friends despite the background of their respective school or district or religion they belonged to or many other innate differences. Then, all of a sudden a question popped up in my mind “How are we gonna do this in just 5 days?”
Well, I got the answer by very next day evening. It just took 1 day to put them all towards aone common goal. We gathered to put all our differences aside and started working together. The ice breaking and team building activities were perfect. All those activities were very effective and I saw how we gained momentum and the progress was significant to witness the team bonding. The leadership building and reconciliation session were spectacular. The learning curve was massive. I personally believe it must have successfully pitched into all students mind and hearts.
So far it was all about the program and now I would like to write few words about learnings and experience. I personally learnt about how to bring a set of unknown people together. I learnt the way of I should speak, react and answering to their questions. We came together and spoke about many incidents that happened in our lives. Some students had terrible pasts when we spoke about war. Some students had wrong opinion on other ethnicities. Some students did not even like associating certain ethnicities, even to the extent of despising them.
One major point that I acknowledged to them as the reasons, were misguidance, miscommunication and lack of exposure of other ethnicities. We sat and spoke about all these matters and once we were done,we all were on the same page. Students started respecting, listening and helping each other, like children of one mother – we bonded like one family. It was an emotional sight for me. At that same moment I took to step back to imagine how beautiful it would be if the whole nation becomes like this. Driven with passion, I made some great friends across all over the country. And I firmly believe, that also is one of the greatest gifts I seized through this program.
Then we came to the last day, it was an emotional one for me and most of my peers. Our Only wish on that day was another day at the conference! We screamed and pleaded but to no avail.
It was so strange to be with a team of unknown students on the first day and how hard it was to say good bye at the end since we became such good friends-family. Due to some unavoidable circumstances we had to conclude FLC -7 one day prior and I am pretty sure everyone would not have expected that to happen. In last couple of hours I think all were in the peak of their emotional states. Students started to share their thoughts for one last time. The autographs they wrote, statements they made, a lot of unspoken words, Tears they shed and this amazing bond will always be a clear picture in my mind. Every goodbye was so hard for me because I didn’t want to let the team go as I was their big brother.
All together it was package of overwhelming knowledge, life changing experience, lot of new friends and mesmerizing moments that will last a lifetime. I am very glad that I was part of Future Leaders Conference 7, 2015. I stepped into this program to change and inspire others, and I did!also the conference itself changed me see life in a different perspective a good one I may add. I loved the way it flowed. I’ll always cherish each moment that I spent in the St. Thomas’ College, Guruthalawa.