CAS Project!



One of the most pivotal components of the Diploma program is naturally the long awaited CAS Project. The CAS project requires the student takes individual initiative in order to plan and carry out a certain meaningful endeavor.

In reality, ever since DP1 I have had a very clear idea of what  I wanted to do for this project, wanting to do something that I was not only passionate about but also achieved multiple learning outcomes in one go. What was my idea? Planning, organizing and carrying out Dive Cleanups for Reef Revival (the non-profit collective I created in 2019 to clean up Sri Lanka’s oceans through diving). We have made significant progress in this area since I inadvertently began my CAS project almost a years ago, and this past weekend I just completed another renewed cycle of our cleanups but this time, on a different coast of Sri Lanka thus expanding our horizons even further!

Fish Trap Nets

Here are some of the learning outcomes my project has achieved:


Having dived since I was 11 years old and having carried out dive cleanups since the 10 grade for my personal project has given me a lot of the experience I needed to make this project a success.  Going into this, I was able to have a clear idea of my strengths and shortcomings as in my previous cleanups we have met a few obstacles with doing things like bringing in too many people, facing ethical dilemmas regarding what to and what not to retrieve from the ocean and also having struggled to bring certain items to the surface due to entanglement. This time around I was able to ensure that we had less people on board and brought the right tools to detangle certain debris. We did have a fair share of shortcomings, but it’s all a learning experience for the future (which I will elaborate on later).


Carrying out a dive cleanup has no shortage of challenges in the long run. Whenever you are carrying something of this nature out the most important thing to consider is that there are people’s lives on the line and that cannot be compromised and ensuring that people are safeguarded becomes your number one priority. Thus, during the duration of the dive and before I had to ensure that people were aware of the dangers and were qualified enough for the dives especially considering that one of them was a nitrox dive (enables for a longer stay underwater at a specific depth) which was made especially difficult by the fact that it was a new dive site that not even the instructors have carried a cleanup on before. As for new skills in my previous diving experiences I wasn’t allowed to carry any tools i.e. knives, nets etc. but this time I was able to so I had to master the use of that while also learning how to take part in nitrox dives since usually they require a specialty course.


Support from the very start of the project!

This clean up and my overall project Reef Revival in particular has been my initiative since I started out at the start of DP1. My only cleanup I had done previously was during my personal project in MYP 5, but all of this was relatively new to me. I began Reef Revival in 2019 with the intention of raising awareness and doing my part as a diver to clean up the oceans. Sri Lanka frequented in its carrying out of beach cleanups however, the undersea areas always remained neglected and it was visible. A lot has happened since the start of my CAS project which as I’m writing this, I realize has been a much longer commitment than I remembered. Throughout this process  I have kept in touch and reached out to all of these individuals in order to make things happen. I had trained divers with the help of Sri Lanka Diving Tours to carry out these dives, planned and organized timings, dates, kept up with progress and even been very hands on the with actual carrying out aspects. Reef Revival has now expanded from underwater cleanups to beach cleanups and now ensure that regular dive cleanups are carried out in not only Negombo but Trincomalee and Batticaloa with beach cleanups in Mt. Lavinia. We contribute data to organizations like PADI Aware and now even have our own social media that we use to spread awareness. We also have 2 featuring articles (interviews) on Sri Lanka’s Sunday times about this!


I don’t think there is any better way of showing my commitment to something than a 7 year hobby turned into a personal project which led to an environmental organization for change being created. Like I mentioned earlier, I have been diving since  I was 11 years old and I am now a certified Advanced Open Water Diver. My personal project was just a glimpse at the possibilities that were to come in the upcoming years as I decided to take things one step forward and expand upon this inkling of an idea that has impacted so many. This has been a long work in progress featuring change, adapting, expanding and networking and it will only continue to grow in the future.


It started out as my personal project idea and then evolved into an diverse endeavor that has since included everyone from the diving community, to friends and family to strangers, activists and even global organizations with nearly 18 dives which I have directly been involved in completed. It has been fruitful to say the least. You may have noticed how I went from the use of I to the use of “we” earlier on. Because that is exactly what this initiative is about. It went from one little 15 year old girl’s idea to a community wide project within a matter of years and that’s what it took to make this function and big thank you is owed to Sri Lanka Diving Tours, PADI, IVY Girls Lead, The Sunday Times and even the OSC community for making it possible! (That goes without saying my mom and dad also had a huge role to play in this, inspiring my love for diving and making all of the cross country trips.) Completing this project has helped me realize the importance of teamwork. People from all works of life and knowledge about dive cleanups contributed to this cause and the result has been IMMENSE. This goes without saying that there is absolutely no possible way in which this would have been completed without external help, carrying out a cleanup and raising awareness thereafter is no small feat!


Underwater pollution has immense global resonance especially as of late. With many species of marine organisms going extinct or being on the brink of extinction, the importance of sustaining this biodiversity is so very essential. Fish and other species that live within these areas of debris accumulation are largely at risk of dying due to issues like swallowing plastic, net entanglement and starvation which is why I chose to pursue this project in the first place. By no means did it feel right to allow animals to suffer due to our negligence in a way that could cause a massive chain reaction starting with impacting the food chain. In addition to this the presence of debris was also impacting local tourism as in Trincomalee for example tourists were less and less willing to visit certain dive sites due to the lack of aesthetic appeal. Nothing excites them or myself about paying hefty sums of money to dive and having to swim through schools of plastic.


In the past two years, all blogs I have uploaded and the activities that I have pursued within them have always considered the ethical implications of my actions. In this project especially that subject was centerfold. I had to ensure that all divers were safe and aware. I was ethical in making sure that no relics were removed from the Swami Rock dive site, and ensured to not harm any animals in the process. Lastly, I credited everyone responsible for the success of this project in the long run and the general ideals of Reef Revival itself are very much centered around the idea of being ethical and ensuring that animals don’t suffer because of human ignorance.

One Last Dive (For Now):

The last two dive cleanups I carried out was in Negombo the past weekend. The first dive was a nitrox dive carried out at Derana Gala, a 25 m dive site and Diyamatte Gala which was close to a commercial fishing area at around 14 meters depth. After a briefing and around a month of planning which often got pushed back due to Covid concerns, we finally set out to dive. This time around I had been given all the gear I required to release debris myself which was exciting. On our dive we had 7 people with us, my brother, myself, my diving instructor Feli, a volunteer from Germany called Johann and our boat driver Raja. This may seem like a small number of people but especially with specialized dives it is always best to keep the number of people to a minimum.

The first dive was successful and thankfully there was much less debris than we expected since the site was quite far from the shore and any civilization. But it should be alarming that there was still debris there despite how isolated the place was. The debris we primarily found on the first dive was plastic bags and bottles ( a lot of them). The second dive was completed on the following day. This time we had a slightly bigger crew, a friend of ours, Steph from Bristol, and another one of the recreational divers joined in on the fun. This dive site was  much more polluted than the last because as it turns out our dive instructor had made the mistake of telling the local fishermen that there was a thriving reef near by. And much to our horror by the time we got there there were at least 9 boats anchored right on the reef! This time around the dive conditions were a little more rocky and we had to steer well clear of the boats above us. The fishermen’s presence had created a notable change in the reef. There was lunch sheets, plastic, hooks, nets, bottles, cages almost anything you name it, they had it. We spent a good 40 minutes or so retrieving this debris before we headed back home. The data was then logged onto the Project AWARE site and also shared on Reef Revival’s social media. It was a long two days but I felt a sense of pride in completing it and Feli and his son Sashaan (who I dived with in Trinco) pledged to keep the cleanups going in all 3 locations even when  I was in university.

All that ends well, ends well

It’s over! (It’s not, not really). Although I have done my share of writing for the CAS project, Reef Revival will not be stopping anytime soon! We have so much to do, and while I can’t be around the island throughout the year I have left enough of a legacy behind for these cleanups to be continued where they are due. Now I might be heading to university in a few months but I do have a little brother who is just as keen about diving as I am, and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be able to take over my job of planning and initiating future cleanups. That being said, I will be as involved as possible given the circumstance of course 🙂



Getting Back at It

Activity Post #1 – DP1 Continued Ventures

At the start of this year, one of my main activity related goals was to continue the work I did last year with hiking, football, home workouts and diving. While this year began with quite a bit of uncertainty thanks to the prevailing lockdown conditions in the country which which limited my access to sports facilities and leaving the premises of my house in general, I adapted to the best of my ability to complete my goals in whichever capacity COVID would let me.


In my goal blog post at the start of DP2, I mentioned that I would like to go hiking at least once again in the upcoming semester and what do you know, I was actually able to go once again. We were able to revisit Hanthana where my previous hike had been but due to improved weather conditions they actually allowed us to climb up the rock where Indiana Jones the Temple of Doom was filmed!! The exact name of the mountain is unknown but its is somewhere downriver from Victoria Dam in Kandy (which Hanthana is in very close proximity to) and was relatively close to the villa that we stayed at. As for the hike itself I would say that it was rather uneventful as this time around only a smaller handful of us went because the hike is more dangerous and is also at a much higher altitude and as expected not having a five year old with us on the trip eased so much of the pressure on the remaining hikers. That being said, although the terrain got a little bit slippery on the way up we managed to get up without much of a hitch and climb down safely and I felt that this time around I felt safer and more sure because  I knew what to and what not to do i.e.. step on loose rocks on the way down…😂 OH AND THIS TIME GUESS WHO ACTUALLY PACKED THEIR LEECH SOCKS?! Yes, that’s right,  yours truly finally remembered how much she did not want to get eaten by the little bloodsuckers and made sure to bring a pair along. Moving on, now naturally the iconic bridge from the movie was sadly no longer there but it still felt insane and surreal to be standing where this legendary series was filmed in 1984  almost 40 years ago!! And last but not least even though it got a bit too foggy up top to see the entire vista it’s easy to say that this was one of the most physically strenuous yet absolutely rewarding hikes I had done :))

^ Hike #3 since the start of my CAS journey

^ A still from the actual movie featuring the bridge (Den of Geek, 2014)


Yet another thing that I have been wanting to accomplish recently is to go diving which I had been meaning to do since around 3 months ago but couldn’t do so initially because of island wide travel restrictions and other COVID related concerns. However this time, I did get to actually go do a couple dives albeit they were merely recreational because it was a rather spontaneous decision to go visit the dive centers on our holiday. Unfortunately for me I couldn’t go on more than 1 dive because I couldn’t equalize and any diver would know that the last thing someone should do is continue when they can’t equalize because it could potentially puncture your eardrum so for while my brother went on his dives, I decided to head back to the shore with my friend Nehla (who came on the trip but wasn’t a certified diver) and her family to do some snorkeling closer to the beach. Weirdly enough my equalizing problem didn’t last very long but by that time I discovered that I could. the others were long gone on their dives so I had to sit the second one out which was a bit of a bummer since I was really looking forward to my second dive but snorkeling was fun nonetheless! There were less fish than we expected though most likely because of the state of the corals in the reef which weren’t looking too healthy :/

^ Myself (left) and my friend Nehela (right) snorkeling in Pasikudah

Working Out + Football

The third set of endeavors in the activity section of my blog I am continuing in DP2 is my commitment to football and completing home workouts to remain fit. While football was limited to mostly doing challenging drills at home, taking note from videos such as which guided me through getting back in form every day after school for 30 minutes to maintain my skillset, I also used another 30 minutes every other day (depending on the intensity of the workout) and my IB Wellness Days to complete certain Cirque du Soleil workouts.  Initially, I felt as though I had just signed myself up to a year of torture because the Cirque du Soleil workouts are extremely rigorous and are mostly used by professionally trained athletes and in the first week I had to take many breaks to complete my session and it left me sore for days but after a few sessions of just building up stamina I was able to circulate through about 3 workout videos and taking less breaks. This goes without saying that the workout sessions are still a work in progress and that it’s a matter of getting back in shape before actually straining myself, so looking forward I have decided to maybe alternate my workouts from non Cirque du Soleil ones and the harder ones. In the upcoming months I aim to focus more specifically on cardio, abs, arms and legs and maybe also do some yoga every odd week to relieve some tension that gets built up following my workouts.

Practicing shots on a mini goal for improved accuracy

Here are the videos that I used:

Home Workouts –




In my last blog post, I introduced everyone to the IVY GIRLS Lead project which I became a member of in late December 2020. However, although in my earlier post, my focus was on the guest speaker element of the project,  another major part of the program that  I want to talk about is the service task which we were asked to complete after our first 2 weeks as a trial to see how well we were able to apply what we were taught to real life.

We were each asked to pick out a topic on which we wanted to work on and then assigned groups with random members based off of our interests. We were then asked to brainstorm a project outline, create an effective plan and then present it to a panel of judges on our final day of week 2. Once approved we were expected to complete our tasks over the span of 3 months (or more) to hopefully end up accomplishing the intended end goal.

I had a difficult time choosing between two topics, gender inequality and ocean pollution. The deciding factor in the end ended up being the fact that I had to choose something that was doable during the COVID situation, and while I was passionate about sport I had doubts that others would think the same way. This is why I decided to continue my efforts which I started out in the 10th Grade with my MYP 5 Personal Project, only this time, with added elements and it being more of a group effort. This would also ultimately help me in fulfilling my CAS goals.

Our progress check in was actually due yesterday, here is an excerpt from what I submitted on behalf of my group members…

Towards the start of  the of Ivy Girls Lead action project, the Reef Revival group consisting of Thimanya and Ayesha and I took on a very venturesome initiative to raise awareness on to raise awareness regarding the issue of ocean pollution amongst social media users; while, taking a personal course of order to do our part in combating the issue in question within Sri Lanka’s oceans. 

Over the course of the past few months we have done our level best to stay true to our goal despite many major challenges we were met with.

Here are few of the biggest obstacles we have faced:

  • Although I reached out to 5 dive centers in order to initiate underwater cleanups and only one responded, we were able to carry out two dives but they shut down too due to the lack of business and risk of COVID (i.e.. having to re-use equipment). 
  • We could not have as much physical engagement as we liked considering the pandemic situation so we were forced to do this within our families and close friend circles in a much less official way. 
  • Thimanya could not get a lot of beach cleanup participants considering the COVID-19 situation as well.
  • School work and distance interfered more with our project than we anticipated, while Thimanya and I kept continuous correspondence via WhatsApp and G-Mail our third group member who was supposed to take on the role of the researcher did not interact with us at all despite how many times we emailed her or used slack, which meant that Thimanya and I had to carry out her share of the tasks ourselves.

Overall, the obstacles that we were faced with, to a degree reduced our productivity and narrowed down the limits of how much we could achieve with our goal during this period of time, however, I am very proud of how we decided to stay true to our initial plan and took up our goals to the best of our ability. 

Here are a few of our greatest accomplishments:

  • We officially launched our social media campaign, Reef Revival which gained the desired amount of traction and so much more than we anticipated we hit 50 followers in 3 days!
  • Our first post, which was a trailer / awareness edit that I made as an introduction to our initiative, reached many activists around the world who congratulated us on our efforts, our friends and family were also very supportive and reposted and shared our content etc. We were pleasantly overwhelmed by the support.
  • Thimanya who was in charge of the beach cleanups carried two out successfully at Pinawatta  within her family and with the help of the municipal council in her district. 
  • I was able to carry out two successful dive cleanups at Swami Rock, collecting over 30kg’s worth of debris, most of our haul consisting of plastic bags and bottles with additional surprising collections of a massive cement block, fish cage wiring, a few corroded poles, lots of rope and ceramics. 
  • We came into contact with a major ocean pollution advocate and social media influencer named Arlian Ecker on Instagram. He’s only 16 and is already an ambassador for Project AWARE with over 2k followers! The Ocean Purpose Project panelist has been a great mentor and has actively encouraged us to follow through with our project. We even discussed the prospects of doing a Q and A or collaborative project with him in the near future! (which we are very excited for! )
  • Our project was kickstarted with the help of many other popular awareness blogs such as SEAFOAM , Bali Dive Time and Aqua5 who loved our content and helped spread the word about our initiative.
  • Our first post had a 36 person share rate which is pretty major for an Instagram post!
  • I was also able to carry out my own beach cleanup with the help of my family and friends at a beach in Hiriketiya which was very polluted to the begin with; the content we recovered ranged from bottles of poison to fishing lines and an overwhelmingly large collection of washed up shoes. 
  • We were able to engage with our followers via the IG story feature, regularly quizzing and educating them on our action; we decided that stories would be more efficient than releasing posts because they get a bigger reach due to notifications that followers get, but we also release a few posts designed by Thimanya.
  • I was also able to log my Data successfully onto Project AWARE’s diver profile which is available to the general diving community and scientists who analyze the data that divers collect. 

What the future holds for Reef Revival:

Hopefully we are able to continue our efforts in the following months especially with the COVID situation easing around the island, we are hoping that for the sake of the project and the local community that Dive Centers are allowed to go back into business so that we can have greater engagement with the community, have more cleanups and make it a more engaging experience. As for the near future, we are currently looking forward to doing the Q and A with Arlian Ecker (plastic free boy)  and hopefully get many more activists involved in the project, maybe even at local capacity. We also plan on  carrying out the installation of the bins in the beaches close by with the money that Thimanya has raised for that purpose and more generally, expanding our following and engagement.

Creativity – Designing Posts + Stories

Activity – Diving 

Service – Raising Awareness + The Removal of Rubbish


Detailed Action Plan:

Progress Check- In ( click link for more images & details ):

^ hiriketiya beach pre-cleanup


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