ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 03, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 40

A link for your aspirations

By N. Dilshath Banu

Through our school years most of us have been a part of some group immersed in community development. Being a part of such a group gives you the chance of coming up with creative ideas to enhance your community and is an experience that guarantees self-development.

But how many of these ideas have gone to waste just because you didn't know whom or which organisation to contact? Or the more frustrating problem of lack of sufficient funds, which limits creativity and stunts the growth of whatever plan of development you had in mind!

To avoid such complications and to co-ordinate different kinds of youth groups, a group of talented young people have joined together to create the Youth Link Movement (YLM). Inaugurated on February 15, at the main hall of St. Paul's Milagiriya, the group will be funded by the United Nations Development Programme.

"The unique nature of our venture is that this organisation is not a mere charitable organisation, it is an organisation that will link up schools, universities, societies and other pre-existing organisations to create a network that will strengthen their potential to achieve their goals," said N. J. Randhike Cooray, the Executive Director and the Founder of the YLM.

This organisation consists of two main bodies that work in order to further the goals of YLM. One such body is the board of directors, which has the authority to develop short and long term direction of the organisation and have the power to summon any member or committee of the organisation for inquiry and/or explanations.

The executive committee consists of ten members; the president, two vice-presidents, secretary, treasurer, project chairperson and their assistants and a spokesperson. Duties of the executive committee are to work and take decisions for the betterment of the organisation. The committee will be responsible for all the deeds and decisions taken by all the members and to the board of directors.

Being the President of YLM Executive Committee, H.D. J Ashan Stanislus, who will preside over the general meetings, executive committee meetings and committee meetings, says that he acts as a link between the executive committee and the board of directors.

“Right now, we are planning a rapid expansion programme through which we hope to make people aware of our organisation. We have invited schools from Jaffna as well – although their participation is poor due to the current situation, we were able to get our ideas across," he said.

Zuleyha Markar, the assistant chairperson of YLM says, "Our projects will fall within the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which includes eradicating poverty, ensuring environmental sustainability and promoting gender equality. If we get any project which falls in line with the aims of MDGs, we will guide them to progress their projects," says Zuleyha.

As the successful pilot project YLM collaborated with a club in Uswetakeiyawa named Heart and Soul of Sri-Lanka, to organise a public awareness programme about coast conservation by conducting seminars, distributing handouts and removing garbage from the coastal belt.

One of the crucial components of any organisation is the budget and the financial plan. Pankaja Ratnayake, assistant treasurer of the YLM explains, "The treasurer and I have to work closely with the chief financial director to determine fundraising needs, all expenditures of funds, goals based on the financial plan, as well as giving our input for the financial plan.”

In order to obtain membership to the YLM, there should be a minimum of five members in a group seeking membership.

There are three types of memberships – school membership, university membership and team membership, available for those interested. Societies, clubs, unions, associations and organisations in schools, universities or a team could find a place in the YLM. "While registering with the YLM, group members should produce proof of at least one community project conducted within the past two years, which the director board will consider as a valid basis of approval for membership, given at their own discretion," added Randhike. To maintain membership, each member should submit and work out at least one valid project for each calendar year, which is done together with the YLM.

Interested in joining up and working towards a common goal to contribute towards community development? If you feel that you have the passion for community-based work, YLM has opened its door for you. For membership please contact the YLM head office on 4939100.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.