25,000 Beneficiaries Touched Over Five Years in the North/ East 

The Foundation of Goodness first started working in the North in January 2011, when for the first time, we expanded our yearly Essential School Supplies Programme to children struggling to regain normalcy and return to school in the aftermath of a 30 year civil conflict. During this visit, we were approached regarding transportation for many young children who had to walk great distances to and from school.

After decades of devastation, infrastructure and transport was at an all-time low, and due to the lack of transport and even electricity, the struggle to find an equilibrium after the war was made even more difficult for these children and their families. Deeply moved by all that they had witnessed, Kushil and the FoG team threw their heart and soul into extending our humanitarian services to the North and East and in this endeavor we were joined by many donors, supporters and even sporting legends who were willing to dedicate their time and resources towards helping us reach this goal.

This journey was strengthened even further when the Sri Lankan President gifted 50 acres of land in Panikkankulam to our founding trustee and cricketing legend, Muthiah Muralidaran, upon his achievement of 800 international test wickets, to be used towards his charitable endeavours. This being the first gift of its kind to be made from the government to an NGO, the Foundation had to dedicate many years towards navigating the red tape and initiating the North Learning and Empowerment Centre, replicating the holistic approach to development displayed by the MCC Centre of Excellence and Sports Academy in the South- an endeavor we are enthusiastically working towards even today.

Regardless of the delays in establishing this Centre, Kushil vowed to continue his work in the North, and the Foundation has made uninterrupted monthly visits to the North since 2011. At the end of the first year, we were proud to look back and realized that we had touched over 5,000 lives through our programmes. Today, we celebrate the opportunity to have touched over 25,000 lives from January 2011 to December 2015, over the span of a mere 5 years and have had the privilege of working all across the North and East, from the more populace towns and cities such as setting up women’s empowerment courses in the heart of Kilinochchi to the most remote villages such as providing water and sanitation facilities to the village of Neethipuram and establishing a reverse osmosis water purification plant in Unchilakaddy.

To go back to the start, following the delivery of the ESSP packs, our first targeted project in the North was to present bikes to struggling young students who had to walk great distances from their remote villages to come to school in the towns, without any reliable form of public transport. In February 2011, we presented 125 bikes to the villagers from Akkarayankulam, Ambalanagar and Aiyankankulam and the dream was to donate 1,000 bikes to kids in the North and East so that they could go to school with ease.

By April, we had also donated some sports equipment to schools in Akkarayankulam, Mankulam, Thiru-murukkandy and Olumadu and donated a laptop to the Good Shepherds Girls’ Home in Mankulam with the plans to develop sports and IT education in the North in a big way.

All three of these projects grew into giants over the next few years. The Foundation of Goodness has now established IT Centres in Oddusuddan, Kilinochchi & Monaragala and established computer rooms at a number of schools including Mankulam Maha Vidyalayam in the North and Aligambay Tamil Government Mixed School and Bakmitiyawa Vidyalaya in the East.

Taking the schools development programme further, we were also able to establish two libraries in the North in partnership with KPMG Sri Lanka, at Vattappalai Maha Vidiyalayam in Mullaitivu and Ramanathapuram GTMS in Kilinochchi. In addition, the Foundation also had the opportunity to develop a pre-school in the interior village of Neethipuram. The children were gathering in a half built hut, with no educational resources and we were able to develop that building, provide a blackboard, toys, stationery and other necessities as well as a play park for the kids.

In addition to schools and education, we also realized that there was a great demand for vocational training so in addition to the IT Centre in Oddusuddan we also established an IT Centre at the Kilinochchi Harmony Centre and introduced courses in Dress Making and Beauty Culture to help ladies and youth in the region to develop new skills and start their own businesses in order to gain an income.

The North bikes programme soon merged with a special initiative by trustee Kumar Sangakkara who introduced the ‘Sanga’s Bikes for Lives Campaign’. His impassioned appeals helped us in taking the bicycle count up to 3,800 bikes donated to students and families that had no other form of transport to help them travel to paddy fields, school, the market or the hospital.

The sports programme also grew by leaps and bounds, including sports camps in cricket, netball and volleyball in Vavuniya, Mankulam, Pandiankulam, Oddusuddan and Kilinochchi as well as special cricket coaching camps by Mahela Jayawardena in 2011 and Kumar Sangakkara in 2012, both of whom are FoG Trustees and legendary Sri Lankan cricketers who have captained the national team.

In addition to providing training, the Foundation of Goodness also took steps to incorporate sports as a regular part of life, which would have recreational, therapeutic and reconciliatory effects on the Northerners who had never had a chance to enjoy playing sports due to years of conflict.

This is why FoG introduced the Murali Harmony Cup tournament in 2012. The Murali Cup first took place in 2011, initiated by the great Muthiah Muralidaran whom the tournament is named after. In 2011, the matches took place in the South, at the Seenigama Sports Academy and was attended by four teams from UK, a team from Malaysia, St. Patrick’s College Team from Jaffna, Hindu College from Matale and the FoG Sports Academy Team. Following their coaching camps in the North, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, also trustees of FoG and Sri Lankan cricketing greats, suggested that we move the tournament to the North and open it up to locals teams from all around the island to firmly establish this event as a tournament for reconciliation.

Five grounds in war affected areas were especially developed for this tournament; St. Patrick’s College Grounds in Jaffna, Mankulam Maha Vidiyalayam grounds and Oddusuddan Maha Vidiyalayam grounds in Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi Central College Grounds in Kilinochchi and Vavuniya Central College Grounds in Vavuniya. In 2014, the Vavuniya grounds were dropped in preference of the Jaffna Central College grounds.

The tournament was initially open to 12 schoolboy teams and 8 ladies club teams, and was expanded in 2013 to 16 boys’ teams and 8 ladies teams. These teams were handpicked to represent the strongest cricket teams representing the North South East and West of Sri Lanka, with a special upcountry team introduced in 2015 to represent the central highlands. The more rural and war torn areas that did not have strong teams were represented by combined teams made up of the best players found in the region.

Here, the players are encouraged to interact and make friends with each other in addition to testing their skills against players from all across the islands. The tournament also challenges popular beliefs that great players are only the product of more urban areas, showcasing that rural villages hide strong players who need to be brought out to the spotlight. There are always upsets where teams leading the school circuit find themselves seriously challenged or even defeated on occasion by outstation teams.

Edwardedin Ratnam and Rishanth Tuder were two outstanding players to emerge from these tournaments. Their exceptional skills were spotted during the 2012 Murali Harmony Cup and soon relocated to Colombo where they began to play for the Tamil Union cricket team, where Murali himself once played. Later they became part of the very first group of players representing the Under 23 North / East team whilst also playing for the Cricket Seenigama team in the South, in a glaring example of sports concurring all barriers. Edin and Tuder also joined the FoG ranks as North Project Coordinators, helping us in developing and expanding our programmes in the North.

In giving the Northern teams experience in playing with foreign teams, we were joined by David Cruse and Keith Thompson from Australia who organised special cricket tours for Australian teams to play in Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Mankulam, which were ground breaking games as this was the first time that foreign teams played in the North since the war began.

The Foundation of Goodness also had the opportunity to develop 30 practice wickets to school in the North and East in partnership with Tokyo Cement to introduce and encourage cricket in rural areas where it was still not as popular as it is in the South and in the cities.

An essential need for the more rural recently re-settled areas were water and sanitation. There were no toilets in the villages, and the people had to wander into the forest at all hours of the day to answer nature’s call, which was fairly dangerous in the evenings due to increased risk of diseases, snakes and other harmful animals that would dwell in the woods and thickets. Due to the harsh climate and weather conditions the small number of wells in the area were mostly dry, or in very bad disrepair after years of conflict and there was a serious need to refurbish and rebuild these wells so that the villagers could have easy access to clean water without walking great distances to obtain drinking water as there was still no running water or electricity in the area. The Foundation of Goodness renovated 12 wells and built 58 toilets in the villages of Neethipuram, Panikkankulam and Nedunkerny to provide these essential needs to the villagers so that they could resume normalcy speedily after years of violence and displacement.

Along with the end of the civil conflict and the rush of developmental activity also came a great curiosity on the part of overseas donors and visitors to travel to the North and carry out projects there. Two of the biggest events of 2012 and 2014 were Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk where Sir Ian Botham walked across Sri Lanka for the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation to raise funds for FoG and the PMTT Charity Tuk tuk Ride where 40 expats from across Asia rode tuk tuks around Sri Lanka, also to raise funds for FoG. Both these projects commenced from the North, and made their way across the island to the South.

As part of the PMTT ride, a reverse osmosis water purification plant was opened in Mihintale, Anuradhapura in the North Central province. This was the third RO plant established by FoG, with the first one opening in Unchilakaddy, Vavuniya and the second in Alapathgama and the fourth one in Dehiaththakandiya in the Ampara District in the East of Sri Lanka. These water purification plants provide clean drinking water to populations that live in areas where the ground water has been contaminated by chemical pollutants which has been causing a severe outbreak of Chronic Kidney Disease in the afflicted areas.

In addition to these large scale projects, the foundation has also carried out numerous small projects in the North including providing solar powered lamps, agricultural material, house hold material, micro-financing and many other services to help the Northern communities get back on their feet, learn new skills and pursue their dreams for a brighter future.

We look forward to expanding and developing our programmes even more in the coming years.


11th February 2016



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