Seenigama's Foundation of Goodness uplifts rural community | Daily News

Seenigama's Foundation of Goodness uplifts rural community

Beauty Culture treatment, [Right] Some of the activates of the FoG
Beauty Culture treatment, [Right] Some of the activates of the FoG

One of the top US based health service companies, Synergen Health Care has set up their back office operations with Foundation of Goodness (FoG) in Seenigama (FoG).

The company has already taken space from the Foundation premises and has hired six youth from the area to man this operation. Under the program, all medical records of US citizens who patronize Synergen Health Care are being processed and sent back to USA.

Foundation of Goodness Chairman Kushil Gunasekera said that due to the success of this project, three other US firms are talking to them to them. “In addition, US based Rimas Foundation, involved in investment banking, lending and providing business solutions is looking to set up operations in Sri Lanka and would be opening one of their regional branches with them.”

President and CEO, Rimas Foundation, Oriando, USA, Khawar Ali Khan who visited the Foundation said that they were also happy with the manner in which Foundation of Goodness is operating and plans to open one of their regional offices with the Foundation.

The global supermarket chain TESCO has also contracted the Foundation to supply spices to their supermarket and this project is now expanding to other areas of merchandise.

In addition, the back office operations of John Keells which involves supermarket and hotel invoicing, are being done at a special area at Foundation of Goodness. Several other local companies too are using the skills of the Foundation for their back office operations.

“All the youth who work in these operations were educated in ICT by the Foundation free and today due to their ‘high returns’ they are looking for any other employment.”

Gunasekera, a former cricketer and board member of Sri Lanka Cricket, said that the FoG started in early 1999 in his ancestral home in Seenigama to mainly assist youth in sports.

The aim was to give holistic support to the rural community to bridge the gap between the rural and urban sectors. In the early days, it provided English and computer classes, sports training to village children, upgrades to villagers’ dwellings (including water, sanitation and electricity supply) and a simple medical clinic.

When the tsunami struck in 2004, he gifted what was left of his ancestral home and garden to the village, setting up firstly an emergency centre and then, with sponsorship from the Marylebone Cricket Club, developing the MCC Centre of Excellence, which is now the hub of the Foundation of Goodness' work.

“After the devastation of the tsunami, many international cricketers like Ian Botham, Mike Brearley, Steve Waugh, Michael Clark and local cricketers like Murali, Mahela and Sanga also provided funds.”

The post-tsunami international funding has provided facilities and opportunities which have been open to all free of charge and has benefitted around 20,000 villagers in about 25 villages.

“Since then, I expanded the FoG to other areas like Montessori education, health and dental care, vocational, IT, English and photography training, women’s entrepreneurships programs, beauty culture and other activities.

Gunasekera said that several foreign donors visited the centre after the tsunami and provided assistance to people in the area. Brian Adams Foundation provided 150,000 British pounds and with this a cricket ground, pavilion, sports centre, hostel and a swimming pool were built and the complex is named MCC Centre of Excellence.

Before visiting the Foundation of Goodness, the group from Harrow School led by Alderton raised funds to construct a brand new library building at the MCC Centre of Excellence to benefit rural villagers, especially the children and youth attending classes at FoG.

“Several youth in the area who trained here are now representing Sri Lanka in several sports like cricket, volleyball, netball.”

The diving centre which was also opened by Foundation of Goodness at Seenigama too is a major success as its gaining popularity among foreign diving enthusiastic.

The medical centre and the dental care unit which was donated by a UK based insurance company along with the mental care treatment unit has provided employment for over 50 youth.

Since 2011, the Foundation of Goodness has expanded its development activities to the post-war North. The FoG plans to emulate the holistic development model of the Seenigama MCC Centre, in the North, through establishing the North Learning and Empowerment Institute.

While work is underway in establishing the Centre, the FoG carries out development and humanitarian activities in the North including the Neethipuram Water and Sanitation Project, sports camps, development of school grounds and libraries, micro-finance, developing a pre-school, distribution of solar power bulbs and livelihood projects.

To date, over 32,931 beneficiaries representing over 100 villages benefited under the North development program.

The total cost for this was over Rs. 225 million for 72 months.

He said that the unique feature of the Foundation of Goodness in Seenigama is that they don’t charge any money from the people who follow their programs and patronize their services.

On average, the Foundation invests around US$ 70 to US$ 650 to train an individual. “But we don’t charge them and in return for their education they have to do voluntary work for the Foundation.

We operate on donor funding and money generated from projects within Foundation of Goodness. We also have many international volunteers and their expertise too has helped the Foundation to be a major success.”

“Our aim is to bridge the gap between the urban and rural sectors in Sri Lanka and to date we have empowered over 35,000 lives in over 200 villages annually in the South and North via 30 sectors, free of cost.”

He said that a Managing Director of a one of the leading local cement companies provided Rs. 10 million to install solar energy to the their centre and this is helping to reduce their energy cost by 70%.

According to Trustee, Ashan Malalsekera, Foundation of Goodness in Seenigama is now almost 65% self-funded and would be self-sufficient by 2020.” 




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