The Foundation of Goodness is a holistic rural development model that seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide in Sri Lanka via 10 empowerment divisions across 900+ villages island-wide, and reached over 307,000+ beneficiaries in 2022 alone by way of 15 Empowerment Centres, free of cost.
In a country where cricket is more than just a sport, a new facility is opening doors for the next generation of Sri Lankan cricket stars from rural disadvantaged communities. The ‘Kingsgrove Sports Bat Repair Unit’, located at the Foundation of Goodness’s Sports Academy in Seenigama, is a one-of-a-kind facility designed to help disadvantaged up-and-coming cricketers repair their cricket bats at affordable rates.
“In today’s context, I think that this Bat Repair Unit is a very important feature, especially given the circumstances that kids are finding it very difficult to even attend school. In that background, buying a bat is out of the question because it could vary from Rs. 75,000 onwards, going up to even Rs. 150,000 depending on the size and quality of that bat. Thus, repairing their bats would be a great way to help them out in these times of desperation,” Kushil Gunasekara, Founder and Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness elaborated following the opening ceremony of the unit on Saturday (Feb. 25), while he appeared on a special feature segment on the last episode of Good News Radio.
As Sri Lanka faces an economic crisis, many young cricket players cannot afford to buy new equipment. This new facility, made possible by the generosity of principal donors Harry and Rohini Solomons from Australia, Phil and Lisa Ball from England, and an anonymous donor from Australia, provides a lifeline to these young cricketers.
“The person who developed this is none other than Mr. Harry Solomons from Kingsgrove in Australia, and then there were two others, a donor from Australia who wished to remain anonymous and Philip and Lisa Ball whom I cannot forget for having come forward to support the unit. More importantly, Harry is the one who actually came up with this idea of a bat repair unit because he had something similar in New South Wales, Sydney. He was very interested in us having this facility to support rural kids. There is no better time than right now to help,” Kushil Gunasekara further noted.
Equipped with state-of-the-art machinery, the Kingsgrove Sports Bat Repair Unit offers top-of-the-line equipment and resources for repairing cricket bats. Former cricketing legends Michael Tissera and Sidath Wettimuny declared the facility open at a special ceremony on the 25th of February 2023.
Expressing his thoughts on the newly declared open Bat Repair Unit, legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Michael Tissera said, “I think it is a fantastic idea and I thank Harry Solomons again for having given you the material to do this. I haven’t bought a bat in ages. When we played, a bat was Rs. 75 to Rs. 100. I’m told now it is between Rs. 100,000 to 150,000. I’m staggered. How can young people afford that sort of money to play cricket? I think you are doing a great service by repairing bats, and I hope that this goes from strength to strength and that people will be able to repair bats instead of having to buy new ones. Well done, Kushil, and well done FoG.”
“This latest venture you have started of bat repairing, I think it’s going to be more than just a bat repairing operation. They say in every crisis there is an opportunity, and I think you should take the opportunity of maybe trying to manufacture bats with rubberwood or something and earnestly look at that. This is a golden opportunity for our children, especially in rural areas, to be able to get a bat made in Sri Lanka. You have been very lucky and fortunate that your friend Harry Solomons gifted the equipment, and I think it’s a great gesture on his part because many people don’t like to give away their skills and know-how, but he has been very generous. We should all be grateful to him. I think you should try to take this a step further and see whether there is an opportunity to actually manufacture bats,” former Sri Lankan legend Sidath Wettimuny also commented.
With access to this new facility, young cricketers will be able to continue honing their skills and compete at the highest level, regardless of their financial situation. The Foundation of Goodness is deeply grateful to our sponsors for making this dream a reality and empowering the next generation of Sri Lankan cricket stars.