The Social Consciousness and Responsibility of the Students of Gateway College, Negombo were appreciated by Pearson Edexcel by conferring the much coveted Gold Award for Community Service at their High Achievers’ Awards Ceremony that was held at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The award winning project was titled ‘OUR VOICE – To empower our community; To protect the Negombo Lagoon’.
The aim of the project was to create awareness and empower the community to preserve their habitat and to establish sustainable techniques to preserve the Negombo Lagoon for the future generation. The project greatly enabled the community to understand the value of the lagoon and the importance of protecting it.
The Negombo lagoon, which covers an area of 35.02 square kilometres or 13.52 square miles, is Negombo’s treasured heritage. It is surrounded by coconut plantations and grasslands but is also densely populated. The lagoon has extensive mangrove swamps and attracts a wide variety of water birds including herons, egrets, gulls, terns and other shorebirds. It is the source of living for most of the community in Negombo. In fact, the lagoon and the community are inseparable. However, for long years, the lagoon has been made a place to dump garbage, causing great destruction to the fauna and flora.
Gateway College Negombo is situated bordering the Negombo lagoon. The school considers it is their right and the responsibility to protect this beautiful natural setting. This led to the students of Gateway College Negombo, ably supported and guided by their Principal and the Teachers to engage in a multitude of activities to protect the lagoon. These included educating the public, visiting schools and handing over garbage bins and joining hands with other schools in planting mangrove seeds and sea grass. The project is to continue with more activities planned for the future.
Gateway Negombo’s Community Service project, “OUR VOICE – to listen, understand and love” too won the Gold Award last year. Having understood the dangerous pitfalls of internet abuse by teenagers, the students of Gateway Negombo addressed the issue of inadequate communication between parents and the teens. Last year too, the students interacted with the wider community by visiting temples, churches and schools.