After completing a decade of dedicated service to the motherland, Mother Sri Lanka celebrated their 10th anniversary by holding a Youth Leadership and Harmony Ambassador Camp and opened their first ever authentic Sri Lankan products gallery at Battaramulla on November 28th, 2018.
The series of events started with the Project RUN 2017/18 final award ceremony held at the NSBM Green University auditorium which was the culmination of Mother Sri Lanka’s community development projects. The events were attended by over 700 students and teachers representing all 9 provinces of the country, who were the winners of Mother Sri Lanka’s largest school program Project RUN held over a 2 year period for the 6th time around. At the conclusion of the opening ceremony, 250 of the youth leaders and their teachers moved to the South Asian Teacher Development Centre at Meepe for the 3 day camp to train on Youth Leadership and Harmony Ambassadorship.
Expanding their scope of work from children to adults, Mother Sri Lanka has also implemented a livelihood development project over the last 2 years, where they help over 30 self-employed craftsmen in designing, packaging and marketing their products. These products are truly Sri Lankan, designed to represent our art, culture, motifs, symbols and tastes. Most of these items are made 100% in Sri Lanka using local raw materials and are hand made with love and care. The range of items include, handloom products, clothing, wood, ceramic, paper and clay artwork, hand-made jewelry and 100% natural food products for a healthy lifestyle. While the full range of products are available at their gallery in Battaramulla, a limited range is available at selected outlets of Arpico, Laksala, Odel and Cotton Collection. All proceeds of these sales go into the charity work conducted by Mother Sri Lanka with school children and with entrepreneurs.
“When I embarked on this journey of ‘Mother Sri Lanka’ on November 19th, 2008, I never imagined that we will be at this stage ten years later. What made me start the movement was the sheer negativity that was prevalent in the country at that time. All of our work is done by volunteers, including myself, and the funding is from generous donors from the private sector along with the endorsement of the Ministry of Education. We have faced a lot of hurdles and we almost gave up in 2015, however, we managed to overcome the hurdles and here we are going from strength to strength. The saying that ‘if we do something honest and right, you cannot go wrong’ has been really true for Mother Sri Lanka, it is the passion and commitment of my team that has made this possible” were the words of Founder/ Chairperson of the Mother Sri Lanka movement, Dr Janaki Kuruppu.
“When we listen to children from all parts of the country, some from very rural, so called ‘backward areas’ taking the stage and talking about how they are going to change our country, how they have learnt their responsibility as citizens of this beautiful country, it gives us goose bumps. Further, through our livelihood development project, we are genuinely trying to uplift the lives of our suppliers. All of them have a lot of skill and are hard working, however, they are unable to reach the markets, due to lack of understanding of the consumer trends or their inability to design, package and market their products. So that’s where we come in. However, we find that this takes a lot of time and if we want to really make their enterprises sustainable, we have to get involved in their accounting, book keeping and overall financial management as well. But I find it is still fully worth since you get the joy of seeing our own people improving the quality of their lives”, further elaborated Dr Kuruppu.
The participants of the Youth Leadership and Harmony Ambassador Camp held from September 30th to October 02nd were youth leaders representing all nine provinces of the country. The participants enjoyed this unique and rare opportunity of spending 3 days together and enjoying the company of youth from different geographies, different cultures, different socio economic and ethnic backgrounds. They were privileged to listen to over 10 prominent national level speakers on the topics of unity and leadership and responsibility to your motherland.
“As I leave to go home today, I leave being a different person. The guest speakers were all capable of inspiring and strengthening my Sri Lankan spirit. Unlike other events, every single speaker added value and I am so privileged to get a chance to listen to such prominent speakers. The second day activities brought out the leader in me. I loved the fact that I got to work with different people of different races
and religions” said Andrew Bernard, one of the participants. “I will never forget the Children’s Day 2018. I can’t forget the friendships that we made with Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil friends, we learnt the value of living in harmony” was the reaction of R J Imasha of Maputugala Maha Vidyalaya.
Referring to the impact of the success of the event, Mother Sri Lanka Director Mr Riyaz Saban said “To our much delight, our efforts had seen fruitful results in terms of inculcating the leadership attitude in the mindsets of those children who are to be adults tomorrow and play their role for the motherland. The beaming smiles on the faces of the little ones, was itself an ample testimony of how they wish to live happily together. It was a great achievement to all of us dedicated to the cause of prosperous Sri Lanka, as we see the success of our collective endeavours in creating a strong impact and laying a firm foundation in the minds of our future generation to become responsible citizens and live in peace and harmony as one nation in this beautiful paradise. Salute to Mother Sri Lanka”.
The Youth Leadership and Harmony Ambassador Camp were partnered by the Ministry of Education and the State Ministry for Unity & Co-existence, the Office for National Unity & Co-existence, Brandix Lanka and YouLead (which is a Youth leadership program funded by AMCHAM).