Sunday, September 12, 2010

Imalka de Silva at LPF Academy

In a few hours of delightful inspiration! Where passion for a better world takes precedence over the mundane existence of individual lives. LPF academy hosts Imalka de Silva, the first Sri lankan to set foot on Antarctica. Representing Sri Lanka, she joined the World Wide campaign to draw attention to climate change.

The Antarctic continent is one of the most remote, inhospitable environments on earth. Harsh and inaccessible, covered by over 5 million square miles of solid ice, it is the world’s highest, driest coldest and windswept continent.

This event was organized by the Peace Gang, a group of very young children devoted to promoting peace within the community as well as peace within each individual, Peace Gang has been a major part of extracurricular activities in the La Petite Fleur Schools since 199…

Bernadine Anderson, the mind behind the Peace Gang, has inculcated the Peace Curriculum into her schools to promote integral learning. Mrs Anderson believes that “the Life of children should be more than just school work and tution, but the development of a wholesome individual.”
LPF Academy, a small school with a large dream, has held onto its beautiful ideology of Integral Education, once visited by Martin Luther king Jnr. The school holds on strongly to true Montessori values of educating the child.

Peace Gang, an initiative which promotes the participation of the Colombo community reaching out to the poor children in rural Sri Lanka , has actively promoted the cause of collective effort with the participation of the very young and their parents.
On this Satuday morning, as the group of children from the Peace Gang, and parents and teachers sit to listen to the inspiring journey to Antarctica. lmalka, an energetic and delightful speaker, holds the audience spell bond with wonderful sights and anecdotes from her unique experience .

Imalka’s animated presentation to these young minds, stimulates the young to reach out to become all that they can be, thinking beyond the confines of a school curriculum, and take responsibility for changing the world.
Behind her youthful and humble demenour is a gentle spirit in tune with nature , her exuberance shines through, as Imalka de Silva, A PhD student nominated to join the 2010 Antartic expedition, tells of the sights and sounds of melting ice. Of pristine beauty and wildlife untouched.

Imalka explains that Sri Lanka was selected because it was going thru a “transition to peace”. Beginning with a glimpse of her childhood, and paying tribute to her parents for making her everything that she has become; “from my father I Iearnt strength and discipline, and from my mother kindness and humility” , all these attributes reflect in her accomplishments, which have culminated into this daring journey to Antarctica.

Imalka, who describes herself as a “war child”, had her childhood in the height of the war. Yet she chose a mind frame which was to be in harmony with Nature. “Nature protects, you when you are in tune with nature, you become nature’s child”.

Imalka, starts the presentation by telling her audience about the phone call that will change her life, and leads the enraptured audience through the experience of intense preparation at Ushuaia in Argentina , where they practiced hiking and received lectures; Training the participants to “walk like penguins”.

Sailing on a Russian ship, with food from South Africa, the journey began, Passing Drake passage into the Antarctic Peninsula. Imalka takes us along with her on the journey into the Continent dedicated to peace and science. Imaginations follow her, through the stilled images of snap shots of baby Seals and Penguin colonies.

Imalka tells of the disruptive effect of global warming she experienced first hand, she describes the disruption of the circle of life. The warm temperatures of the sea kill the Krill bills, an important food source for penguins. This reduction in food source affect the seals and other wild life in the Antarctic who in turn feed on penguins.

Despite the pristine beauty of ice formations and Antarctica blue seas, it’s sad to hear the tale of the melting ice, swept away by the rising temperature of the sea water. This is caused by the carbon dioxide emissions of the industrialized world; finally she reveals the war path of man against nature.

An hour later, the children are still spellbound, listening to the importance of each individual taking responsibility for caring for the planet. Their young minds might not fully comprehend the magnitude of the task ahead, yet the seed has been planted, and they will some day hopefully, devote themselves to ending this damage to our planet. Imalka ends her presentation with the importance of keeping track of carbon foot print, ‘if every one acted responsibly, eventually this trend will be reversed”.

On a proactive note, the Peace Gang’s Commitment to caring for the environment, has attracted the Green Army, a team of teenagers who are dedicated to encouraging recycling in Colombo . Umar, a student of LPF Academy, originally from South Africa tells another tale of an underprivileged Community in South Africa, who took a barren land, and fertilizing it with compost, worked together to create a beautiful garden, a park for the small community. This project took troubled youth of the streets, and diverted their energy into something worthwhile.
With the young working together for a cleaner and safer environment, there is hope for the future. Such events ensure that climate change and the importance of protecting the environment will always be at the fore front of life style decisions. When the Green Army joins the Peace Gang, there is no doubt that such youthful energy will lead to significant change for a better Sri Lanka.

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