Latest initiative from Soma Edirisinghe:
A golden mission for healing hearts
Life is full of challenges which can either make you or break you.
This proverb takes on a whole new meaning when encountering EAP Group
Chairperson Soma Edirisinghe. The warm-hearted businesswoman had
launched yet another campaign to serve the needy and those who are
desperately in need of help.
Edirisinghe. Pictures by Saman Sri Wedage
Her latest project connected with social welfare activities is aimed
at lending a soothing hand to heart patients. Named 'Punarjeewa Soma
Edirisinghe Fund' the project is affiliated to the Janasarana Foundation
to mark its fifth anniversary. She is also the founder and president of
the Janasarana Foundation which had breathed new life to the poor.
"I received lots of letters from those who are urgently seeking help.
They all are heart patients and they need to undergo special operations
to carry on with their lives. I was moved by their woeful tales and put
forward the concept to the committee. They too agreed to team up
together and work towards funding the operations," she related how the
heart-warming project took shape.
Launched in September 2008, the Punarjeewa Fund is funded by both the
rich and poor in providing monetary support to heart, kidney and liver
patients who are unable to undergo surgery due to financial
difficulties. It also had a project which had received Parliamentary
approval through the Soma Edirisinghe Fund (Incorporation) Act, No 34 of
They have organized the 'Walk for New Life' a campaign to raise funds
for the Punarjeewa Fund. Participants are requested to meet at Roxy
Cinema, Wellawatta, on October 31 at 8 a.m. Then the group hopes to make
their way to Conimara Reception Hall, Dehiwala.
The event is organized together with the Social Services and Social
Welfare Ministry and the International Lions Clubs District 306 C-2.
Edirisinghe's daughter, Deepa Edirisinghe, the Directress of Edirisinghe
Trust Investments Ltd will be organizing the event with Nawaloka
Hospitals Plc Marketing Head Ravi Masakorala.
She says: "After the campaign took off and was popularized through
the media many contacted me and expressed their support. The Bank of
Ceylon even donated a bank account. We ventured to various areas of the
island and collected money from the urban as well as the rural areas.
The Nawaloka group approached us and said they will perform the
operations and take care of the patient's living conditions after the
operation had been performed free of charge. We only need the expenses
to perform the operations," she explained adding that the project serves
as a pillar of support to the President's Fund.
The team had previously joined some of the events conducted for World
Heart Day which falls on September 27. They took part in the first
'Heart Walk' organized by the Health Ministry and the Private Health
Regulatory Council with the Nawaloka Hospital last year. Later they
conducted their first fund raisers at Meegoda and Ratnapura.
As the founder and president of the Janasarana Foundation she had
spearheaded projects like donating wheel chairs, artificial limbs and
crutches, walking aids and tricycles to the physically handicapped,
sewing machines, bicycles, three wheelers, exercise books, shoes, school
uniforms, sports gear, computers, buses and many more equipment to
schools as well as those who were seeking a means of self employment.
She even built computer training centers, vocational training centers
and tube wells for the destitute and donated medical equipment to war
"The poor people have a good heart because they do not forget that
you have been with them at their moment of need. They have thanked me
endlessly and showered their blessings," she spoke through experience.
Their next step is to initiate an eye hospital in Gothatuwa. The idea
flowed out through encountering many cataract patients during their
mobile eye clinic programs.
She hails from Meegoda and comes from a family of ten: nine girls and
one boy. Her father, Charles Perera, was a landed proprietor and
businessman while her mother, Alyssa Perera, was a housewife. The young
lass schooled at Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, and St. John's
Recalling her childhood experiences she said that she had been a
bundle of mischief at school. However it was her religious upbringing
which shaped her character and urged her to help the less fortunate.
"Those days many of the leading film stars were based in Nugegoda. I
used to pick fruits from our garden and make my way to their homes. I
was star struck by Hubert M. Seneviratne, Rukmani Devi, Lina de Silva,
Pushpa Janet, Ananda Jayaratne and others," she added, recalling how
ecstatic she had become when she saw all the actors on her wedding day!
She had married renowned film producer Premalal Edirisinghe and had
led a very carefree life for a few years. After his death her life took
a completely different turn as she had to mould herself to take up the
reins of the family business.
"I was not at all familiar with the ropes of the business world and
many tried to lead me astray. Step by step I learned from my mistakes.
Time management is a crucial point. It is because I took wise decisions
that I can celebrate my victory," she added with a note of triumph.
Today she is one of the leading business women in the island, a
leader and the former District Governor of Lions Clubs International
District 306C. She had produced some of the most success Sinhala films
and attributes her success to the fact that she discusses the projects
in advance with the director and never interferes in-between.
She is the mother of four: Jeewaka, Deepa, Nalaka and Asanka and the
grandmother of 11. She says that her children had been the foundation of
"We have a very good working relationship with our mother and she has
many words of wisdom to offer. I would like to invite people to come
forward and join us in making a better life for the needy and the
helpless," her daughter, Deepa who had wanted to venture to the finance
sector but had ended up taking the helm as one of directors of the EAP
Group, she added.