The Rotary Club of Colombo South was chartered on October 07, 1978. The Club was sponsored by Rotary Club of Mount Lavinia. The Charter President and Charter Secretary were Rtn.S Sivajidorai, a prominent businessman in Colombo and Rtn. S. Yogendranathan, a banker, respectively. Rtn. S. Sivaji Dorai continued as the President during 1979 – 80 as well. There were only 13 Rotary Clubs in Sri Lanka at the time of chartering of our Club. At that time, the Club came under RI District 321, which comprised Sri Lanka, southern parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Clubs such as Thiruvananthapuram (formerly Trivandrum) and Alleppey from Kerala and Thiruchirapalli, Madurai, Nagar Kovil and Tirunelveli from Tamil Nadu were part of RI District 321.
With the increase of the number of Rotary Clubs in the District, the clubs were re-grouped and we came under RI District 322. In 1991, Sri Lanka became a separate District under the title ‘RI District 3220’. Rtn RI Director/Treasurer K R Ravindran was the first District Governor of the new District. Several worthwhile projects were carried out by the successive presidents and their boards of directors. The Club was an active club and there was camaraderie among fellow Rotarians. The Club had its weekly meetings at Brighton Hotel, Ramakrishna Road, Wellawatte and the venue was later shifted to Colombo Marriott Hotel (now known as Galadari Hotel). Read more….( The ethnic riots made most of members internally displaced. Their homes, properties and business establishments were damaged or destroyed. They lost most of their belongings and some of them left Colombo. Fortunately the Club did not die. Charter members like the late Rtn. M. Somasundaram had the Club alive. Though there were no formal weekly meetings on a regular basis, some members who were in Colombo met occasionally. The Club was resurrected in 1990 when Rtn. PP. MPHF. V. Ariyaratnam became President. He held this office for two consecutive years – 1990-91 and 1991-92. He was the President when the District was un-bifurcated (RI District 322, under D.G. Rtn.D.M. Swaminathan) and later in RI District 3220 (under DG Rtn. K.R. Ravindran). His period was the turning point in the history of the Colombo South. Hon. M.H. Mohamed, Speaker of the Parliament, was the Chief Guest at his installation in 1991. Many useful projects were implemented during this period.
The Club also has four Rotarians, who were past presidents in other clubs, as members. They are Rtn. PDG. Major Donor N. Pathmanathan (Trincomalee 1978-79 & 1979-80), Rtn. PP. MPHF. V. Ratnasothy (Trincomalee (1990-1991), Rtn. PP. PHF. S. E. Mariathas (Jaffna 1996-1997) and Rtn PP PHF N Saravanabavan(Jaffna 2006 &2007)
The Club had faced several trials and tribulations during the thirty one years of existence – especially during the mid 1980s. However, it has notched many successes. Most of the presidents had risen to the occasions and kept the flag of the club flying higher and higher. Even at times when presidents falter the membership rallied round them and made the club move forward. Our members are real assets to the club. Every member considers himself as the president of the year and works hard to make the year a success and memorable.
During the Rotary year 1990-91 and 1991-92, Rtn.PP.MPHF. V. Ariyaratnam made strenuous efforts to increase the membership as he felt that a sound membership base was sine qua non for an effective club. The Clubs membership increased from six (06) to twenty (20). He made the weekly meetings attractive and enhanced the fellowship activities. A donation of Rupees Eight Hundred Thousand (Rs.800,000/-) was made to a poor girl who suffered from a hole in the heart. These activities helped the Club immensely in turning it around.
During 1993-94, the Club adopted ten (10) deserving school children from Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim Communities and looked after their educational needs. The Interact Club of Presbyterian Girls’ School, Dehiwala, was chartered during this year. During the Rotary year 1995-96, the Club’s membership increased by 25%. The Club constructed thirteen houses for poor families at Arachchikatuwa, Chilaw as part of the Village Adoption Project. The Club donated milk food, dry rations and textile items valued at Rs.100,000/ to the Hindu Council for distribution among refugees in the North. A health camp was held at Tadella, Matara. Another health camp was also sponsored by the club at the Rama Krishna Mission, Wellawatte. The Club donated furniture to the newly opened ward at the Cancer Institute, Maharagama and dry rations were provided at the Suhada Home for Children at Kotte for a period of six (06) months.
In 1996-97 the Club under the leadership of Rtn. PHF. N. Annalingam, obtained six awards and citations, which included the Best Bulletin Award and Award for the Children’s Playground at Tadella Maha Vidyala, Matara. The monthly bulletin ‘Southern Breeze’ began its appearance in July 1996 and thirteen issues were released during that year regularly on a monthly basis. We were actively involved in all the National Immunization Days continuously for several years.
The Rotary year 1997/98 was a great year to our Club under the energetic leadership of Rtn. MPHF.S. Rajanathan. The Club was adjudged the Excellent Club. President was selected as one of the Excellent Presidents. The Club received thirteen (13)awards including Excellent Secretary Award, District Citation for Balanced Activities, Best Bulletin, Contribution to The Rotary Foundation(TRF) and Best Attendance.
District Citation for Exceptional Rotarian was awarded to Rtn. N Pathmanathan. We contributed USD 4,600.00 to the Rotary Foundation, which was the highest contribution made by the Club till 2002-03. The Club also implemented the first ever Matching Grant Project with RC/ Calcutta, India. The project helped eighty under-privileged pre-schools with educational toys.
The Club sponsored a new Rotaract Club with 32 charter members. The Club also contributed Rs.42,000/- towards the Rotary Centre Project. During this year (1997-98) the Club’s membership increased from 27 to 35- nearly 30% increase. The Club sponsored the participation of ten school – leavers from Hindu Ladies College, Wellawatte and Presbyterian Girls’ School, Dehiwala at the ‘English for Employment Course’ conducted by the Bankers’ Training Institute, Sri Lanka. The Club conducted a Career Guidance Seminar at Hindu Ladies’ College, Wellawatte. The club distributed 7,500 school time tables giving publicity to the Four – Way Test to children in four schools. The Club had two health camps at Dumbagoda and Wadduwa. We also presented linen to the Accident Service Ward, National Hospital, Colombo. Several service projects were carried out at Kukulegama, which included a peace forum, assistance to the pre school, a sanitation project, presentation of library books and exercise books to the village school and a poverty and hunger project. The Club’s nominee Rtn. PP. Uvais Ahamed – was selected as the team leader of the GSE Team that visited RI District 1200 UK and the Club hosted the in-bound team from the same District to lunch. The Club also had a youth forum to mark the New Generations Month. The Rotaract Club which was inactive was reactivated.
The Rotary year 1999-2000 saw an increase of membership by 18.75% with the induction of six (06) new members. Career guidance seminars were held in three (03) schools. Five thousand school time tables giving publicity to the Four Way Test were distributed among three schools. The Club also adopted the paediatric neuro – surgical ward at the National Hospital. One hundred books in all three languages were gifted to the Mahara Prison. A health camp was held at Agalawatte. One thousand five hundred tree saplings were plated in various parts of the island. Seven hundred and fifty safe bottle lamps were distributed in the Polonnaruwa District and at Hattton – Dickoya.
The Rotary year 2002-03 was a spectacular year under the dynamic leadership of Rtn. PP. Major Donor P. Thayaparan. The Club was declared the Best Club in the District. The Club received awards for almost all Avenues of Service and for every key positions in the Board. President Thaya received the Excellent President Award, Secretary Ratnasothy received the Excellent Secretary Award etc., President Thayaparan became a Major Donor and PDG. Pathmanathan (the then DG) became a Major Donor (Level 2) and Benefactor. Every member was made Paul Harris Fellow or a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow and the Club became the second All Paul Harris Fellow Club in the District. The contribution of over US$47,000 made to The Rotary Foundation is still the highest contribution made by any Rotary club in our District.
Most of our Presidents have led from the front. Past President Rtn. PHF.P. Kulendra’s year (2008-09) was another success story. The Club came to the top again during this year under his leadership. The Club bagged the Most Outstanding Club (Runner-up) Award and a minimum of sixteen other citations/ awards. They included District Citation, Presidential Citation, High Achiever Club Presidents Award, Top Ten Clubs in Membership Growth, Top Ten Clubs in TRF / AP Contributions, and the Best Assistant Governor Award (for Rtn AG PHF.V. Ratnasothy).
Our 31st President Rtn. PHF. M Rajenderam took office on July 05, 2009. The Club celebrated its 31st
Charter Anniversary on October 07, 2009. We have reactivated the Rotaract Club. We made a visit to the Menik Farm IDP camp at Cheddikulam Vavuniya and donated relief items to 750 IDP families, with the funding assistance of Caring Hands Centre, UK and Medical Institute of Tamils, U.K. A Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarships Programme on English Teaching Training to the U.K. was implemented with the support of RI District 1040, U.K. for two teachers from the Batticaloa District.
During the Rotary year 2010-2011 we became the first Rotary club in the District(may be the first in a world!) to submit the Three- Year Strategic Plan on the first day of the Rotary Year. The Club was complimented by the District Governor and the Zonal Rotary Co-ordinator . We took part in the Dengue eradication campaign at Wanathamulla. The Club distributed one hundred (i00) water pumps – 80 electric water pumps, 20 kerosene water pumps-to the tsunami -affected vegetable cultivators in the Batticaloa District. The Club also donated books to Dehiwela Tamil Vidiyalayam to mark the International Literacy Day on Sept 27, 2010.)