Women’s Day Celebrations and 278th Meeting

By Mohamed Athif


“If all nations of the world stopped their military expenditure just 8 for days, all the children in this world can be given free education for 12 years.”

The President Merl Chandana called the 278th Gavel Meeting – Women’s Day Meeting to order with a quote from one of the most celebrated girls of our times, the world’s youngest Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousefzai.

The house stood up for the National Anthem before commencing the proceedings of the meeting. An enthusiastic Gavelier, Yasoda Gamage, was the Toastmaster for the day.

Design Credits: Yasoda Gamage

After introducing the role players for the day, the Round Robin session was initiated. Keeping to the theme of the meeting, the Gaveliers spoke about inspirational women. How mothers, sisters, friends and even ex-girlfriends inspired our fellow Gaveliers in their lives made us feel grateful to the women who made us who we are today.

After a Round Robin session full of stories of inspiration and gratitude, the Toastmaster handed over the controls to the Table Topics Master, Samitha Dinanjale, the ever pleasant and caring lady Gavelier.

Kithmin broke the silence with an inspiring story of mothers’ love, after  which, Chamode spoke on the limitless commitments that our mothers make to strengthen and sustain our families.

The energetic speaker Piyumi recalled how she chased behind boys with a broomstick in hand and how she secretly attempted smoking paper cigarettes when she was young. She demands “Women are not just meant to be loved, but to be understood. When I look back, it was only because I was understood,  that I have become who I am”

Kanchana drove home an important point on how despite making small contributions as individuals, we can achieve big targets as a community. He gathered inspiration from Mother Theresa.

Prasadi took the stage and shared the story of how she improved her skills with the Gavel club and her determination to continue to be part of the Gavel family.

“Men are from Mars, women are from Venus and only with their union on Earth that perfect balance is achieved”. It was Praveen who pointed out that women and men are equally important for a healthy society.

Warunie had a long list of complaints against her mother, and successfully convinced all in the audience how joyful her life would have been if she had been a boy. As if in response, Shenal came up on stage only to reveal one of the most guarded secrets of men, that they are as much afraid of spiders in bathrooms as girls are. He explained how the society inaccurately attributes things solely to men or women despite them being common to both.

Sachini said “sometimes we feel annoyed when our mothers care for us always. But, only my mother can love me for nothing but being myself”

Athif pointed out that despite how strong and capable women are, sometimes they show some trepidation, a lack of confidence, perhaps induced by the societal norms. “Believe that you can, because you can!”

The final table topics speech was by the outspoken Gavelier, Chamanthi. “The fact that a woman can lift a heavy stone doesn’t reflect that she is strong and independent, it merely shows that she has well-built muscles”. She goes on to point out that sometimes women voluntarily move away from responsibilities only to complain later that they were discriminated. She insists that women should take up responsibilities if they need true empowerment.

The Timer and the Ah counter presented their reports at the end of the Table Topics session.

Piyumi Bandaranayake and Merl Chandana provided insightful evaluations  on the Table Topic speeches while sharing their valuable knowledge and experiences with the audience.

A prepared speech awaited us towards the end of the evaluation. President Merl Chandana introduced the energetic Gavelier Praveen Kumarasinghe who was about to deliver his second speech on the Competent Communicator manual titled “You are not allowed”

Praveen pointed out how various restrictions come across our goals and dreams. “It is very crucial that you pursue your target with unslacken determination”. Praveen gave the audience a very important message

The house awarded Praveen a standing ovation following the evaluation by the President. The Grammarian, Rahubadda, presented the grammar report and provided the grammar tip of the day, focusing on the usage of “some time”, “sometime” and “sometimes”. The general evaluator provided the evaluation for the overall proceedings of the meeting

The Toastmaster handed over the controls to the President. He then concluded the 278th meeting – women’s day meeting, wishing a safe journey home to all the members

Table topics

  1. You have as many hours a day as Beyoncé
  2. She believed she could, so she did
  3. There are times that I wish that I were a boy/girl
  4. Men are from mars and women are from Venus
  5. They are the great vacation-less class
  6. Most of all I love you, because you are you
  7. A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty
  8. Woman are meant to be loved, not understood
  9. I owe you, you made my world
  10. Extremists have shown what they are afraid of the most – A girl with a book

Role players

Project Chair- Rochelle Silva

Toastmaster – Yasoda Gamage

Table Topics Master – Samitha Dinanjale

General Evaluator – Shehan Avindra

Ah Counter –Navodini Wijethilake

Timer –Dilusha Jeewanthi

Grammarian- Hashan Rahubaddha

Table Topics Evaluators –Merl Chandana, Piyumi Bandaranayake

Prepared Speech Evaluator – Merl Chandana

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Photo credits: Niluxsi Puvanenthiran