How it all started
Ralph Toastmasters Club held its very first demonstration meeting on Wednesday 18th January 2006 at Global Towers hotel in Colombo 6. There were over 60 prospective members who attended the meeting and among them were few “top guns” of Sri Lanka’s Toastmasters movement. They were there not necessarily to become members of the club but to give their helping hand and give inspiration to a new Club. There was a special role called “Chairman” at this meeting and the Chairman was none other than then CTM Balraj Arunasalam and now the 1st Vice President of Toastmasters International and a member of Ralph Toastmasters Club.
The humble beginnings of the club were initiated by Mr Balraj along with the Charter President Chandana Weerasekera back in November 2015 at a private function in Colombo just before the 2005 Presidential Elections. As both of them being members of Colombo Toastmasters Club they both had the vision to expand the movement across Sri Lanka, hence the idea of forming another club was born. That was also the time that Sri Lanka and India needed more clubs to reach its ultimate goal of achieving District status. Mr Balraj suggested the need to form a club and requested Chandana Weerasekera to become the President of the new club.
That is where the planting of the root of now mighty Ralph Toastmasters Club. The demonstration meeting included t Mr Balraj as the Chairman, CTM Dharshana Welikala as the Toastmaster and DTM Ajitha Goonawadane as the Topic Master. CTM Asgi A. Noordeen was the Table topics evaluator and TM Chandana Weerasekera performed the AH counter role while waiting to accept the position of the Charter president. TM Premalal Brahmanage was the timer who later became the 2nd President of Ralph Toastmasters and DTM Yusuf Jeevunjee was the General Evaluator for the meeting. Amongst them was another key individual – Dananjaya Hettiarachchi was the very first Vice President Education who later joined Smedley Toastmasters Club and now is a Champion Speaker.
Subsequent to the very successful demo meeting there were lot of prospective members which resulted in the very first official meeting of Ralph Toastmasters Club on the 1st of February 2006 at Sirimavo Bandaranayke Institute of Tourism and hotel management in Colombo 3. The Charter presidential installation was held on the 5th of October 2006 at HNB towers with the CW Mackie Chairman Tissa Ellawala gracing the occasion as the chief guest. TM Asgi Noordeen from Colombo Toastmasters Club was the sponsor and mentor of the club and the name Ralph Toastmasters was given by Mr. Balraj in honour of the founder of Toastmasters International, Dr Ralph C. Smedley.
Today, The Ralph Toastmasters Club is one of the leading community clubs in District 82 having produced a host of leaders and speakers over the last decade and continues to grow and foster the hopes and aspirations in leadership and public speaking for members from all walks of life.