Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera, a Sri Lankan Bhikkhu who functions as Viharadhipati of the Naritasan Josoji Viharaya in Japan is rendering an indefatigable service towards building a disciplined child generation with a strong mentality in Sri Lanka through his “Daham Sevane Singiththo national child development programme.”
|Paying a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees with a Japanese delegation. Ministers Prof. G L Peiris, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mervin de Silva, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga were also present.|
|Speaking at a religious function in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.|
|Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera at a function graced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa is also in the picture.|
Children of war heroes families living with their mothers at the Kendalanda residential quarters of the Panagoda Camp struck with a war mentality eternally fearing for the lives of their fathers’ fighting a bitter enemy to safeguard the unity and territorial integrity of the nation at the height of the war formed the nucleus of this great humanitarian programme. It was horror stories these children eternally heard over radio, discussions of elders’ and gruesome scenes shown on TV. Their mental agony increased about the absence of their fathers’ love and affection when they attended school as they saw their more fortunate colleagues being chaperoned by their fathers carrying their school bags for them and leaving them at the school gate with an affectionate hug or a kiss.
Lt. Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Brig. Kasthuriarachchi who realized the plight of these innocent children formulated a programme to offer moral strength and encouragement to these children to pursue their studies in school with devotion without fretting about their fathers.
They created a children's society themed “Daham Sevane Singiththo” in a small tent erected at Panagoda. Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera who was only 20 years old at the time took charge of this society to discipline and strengthen the children by teaching them methods of good behaviour, pleasant talk through story telling and other means. As the membership of the society rapidly increased there was lack of spare to accommodate the children.
|Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera who functions as Viharadhipati of the Naritasan Josoji Viharaya in Japan|
|Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera involved in his humanitarian programme.|
|Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera with Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga|
|The Ven. Thera in conversation with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Public Relations and Public Affairs Minister Mervin Silva|
|The website of the Daham Sevane Singiththo programme was launched in 2011 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.|
|Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera having a discussion with foreign students.|
|With Japanese students|
The Army's Bauddha Mandalaya intervened and built a spacious and colourful building for the society centred on the Panagoda temple. The membership rapidly increased to 3,200 with children of families in adjoining villages too joined in. Ven. Suduhumpola Wimalasara Thera laid down a condition that children belonging to the society should observe sil on every full moon (Pasaloswaka) Poya Day. The children who observed his instructions to the letter attended sil campaigns every Poya Day dressed in milky white garments. The programme extended to art, sports, music and cultural fields and those who excelled in them were given further incentives to improve their skills before parents and public audiences. As the message of this successful programme spread to immediate suburbs and outstations similar children sometimes cropped up in Moratuwa, Meegoda, Delthera and other areas.
Since this was a movement of great natural significance a programme named ‘Daham Sevane Singiththo’ was telecast over Rupavahini on Pasaloswaka Poya days under the sponsorship of the then Chairman and staff of the Rupavahini Corporation. As the political authorities led by the President assisted this programme through their patronage this programme proliferated into far corners of the island covering cities and villages. The programme then came to be broadcast over the SLBC too.
An exhibition of children's creations was held at Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa in 1994 and the President too sent a message of greetings for the exhibition in his capacity as a member of Parliament.
At this stage Ven. Wimalasara Thera left to India for higher studies and a Japanese Bhikkhu who was impressed by the programme volunteered to provide assistance towards it.
Ven. Wimalasara was able to cater to the educational needs of the membership by obtaining educational equipment for them through the assistance of Japanese Bhikkhus and philanthropists. Children’s societies on the lines of “Daham Sevane Singiththo” were set up in foreign countries - Japan, UK and USA too.
The website of the Daham Sevane Singiththo programme was launched in 2011 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The programme in Sri Lanka is now being handled by Ven. Kalugamuwe Narada Thera under the advice and guidance offered by Ven. Wimalasara Thera statured in Japan. There are three websites from which you can log into the Daham Sevane Singiththo programme. They are:- http://www.dahamsevanesingiththo.lkhttp://www.dahamsevanesingiththo.com, http://www.dahamsevanesingiththo.org.lk
- Translated by D.P. Wickramasinghe