The GNRC Secretary General, Dr. Mustafa Y. Ali, and the Director, Interfaith Initiative to End Child Poverty, Rev. Fred Nyabera, led other GNRC members from South and South East Asia region in commemorating Sarvodaya’s 60th Anniversary on 7th December 2018 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. One thousand three hundred (1,300) guests attended the event to celebrate the achievements of Sarvodaya towards elevating the lives of the Sri Lankan people.
Speaking during the celebration, the founder of the movement, Dr. A.T Ariyaratne stressed Sarvodaya’s commitment in securing the rights and dignity of Sri Lankans specifically in promoting the wellbeing of youth and children. He noted that the success of the Movement for over half a century now would not have been possible without sacrifice, commitment, resilience, the will and passion to help the community. He pointed out that Sarvodaya does not take political, racial or religious sides in its work. It instead guides by inclusion for all. “For the last 60 years, we have had the principle of inclusion for all,” he said.
“A society that promotes peace, a society that respects every religion, a society that respects the dignity of every human being is what the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement stands for, as borrowed from the Gandhian Philosophy.” – Dr. A.T Ariyaratne, Founder, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.
During the ceremony, the partnership between Sarvodaya and Arigatou International was commended as one of the most successful interfaith partnerships in promoting peace and sustainable development for the last 18 years. Sarvodaya has worked closely with the Arigatou International – End Child Poverty, Knowledge Centre to implement grassroots programs aimed at ending child poverty and violence against children. An example of such programs has been the cyber safety program for parents and children. Ethics Education for Children works with Sarvodaya Movement and GNRC members in Sri Lanka to nurture values and spirituality in children and youth, so they learn to live together in diverse societies.
The President, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, noted that Sarvodaya’s philosophy is based on the teachings of Buddhism and celebrates the involvement of Sri Lanka’s bikkus (local monks), who play an active role in village life. He added that the institution takes pride in sharing her mission with all who find value in her work. He continued that the organization puts great effort in interfaith coexistence in Sri Lanka. “Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims are next to one another due to the values of love and peaceful coexistence nurtured in them,” he shared.
During the event, Sarvodaya members at the grassroots level who have been instrumental in their work were awarded. Participants to the event congratulated the movement for the strides they have made and encouraged them to pursue more actions on child well-being and peace in the country.
Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is the largest and most broadly embedded community-based organization in Sri Lanka. Founded in 1958, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is a unique people’s self-help organization inspired by the Gandhian Philosophy which includes values of peace, nonviolence and respect. The same values which were affirmed in the celebrations; “In all our work, we have been guided by the Gandhian Philosophy and we will not stop doing that,” Dr. A.T Ariyaratne, the founder of the movement stated.
Sarvodaya has a proven history of exceptional accomplishments, a strong organizational structure with 26 District Centres, and a formidable outreach, which encompasses more than 15,000 villages across all of Sri Lanka’s regions and ethnic groups.