Give2Lanka Executive Chairman Dulan de Silva, former Berendina Group Executive Chairman and CEO SEEDS founder, was nominated an Honorary Fellow of the United National Friendship Organisation at a function held at the BMICH recently.
The award was presented by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Among the service-oriented work Dulan has pioneered in meriting this honour was the establishment of the first best practices microfinance institute in Sri Lanka (SEEDS) in 1986, which then went on to become the biggest Sri Lankan non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the 1990s.
He also established and headed the Berendina group for 23 years. Berendina is currently the largest Sri Lankan NGO group and Berendina Microfinance, by itself, is the largest Sri Lankan NGO. He has further undertaken over 100 consultancies in 15 countries for number of multilateral and bilateral agencies including the World Bank, ADB, UNDP, New York, IFAD, FAO, DFID and UNOPS.
He was also a Programme Director of IUCN in Pakistan and Head of Programme in Cambodia. In Sri Lanka too, he has provided consultancy services to CIDA, Dutch Embassy, UNOPS, IFAD, etc., and worked to strengthen the government’s work in rural and community development in collaboration with Plan Implementation Ministry, Forestry Department, Wildlife Department, Labour and Samurdhi Ministry, etc.
The most rewarding aspect of the award however is the recognition of the personal sacrifices he has made in the pursuit of his dream of poverty alleviation, firstly by joining Sarvodaya, spurning a lucrative offer by a multinational bank in 1986, when he returned to the island with an MBA from Florida State University; secondly by joining the two Directors of Berendina in providing their homes as collateral for loans taken from commercial banks such as NDB, Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka Savings Bank, etc.
In order to enable Berendina to assist 40,000 more families than would have been possible with the funds provided as grants. Finally, he was recognized for leaving his position as Consultant to Berendina Stichting and Chairman of Berendina Group, to start Give2Lanka (www.give2lanka.org) getting a small allowance for self to in furtherance of his vision to at least minimize, if not eradicate poverty in Sri Lanka. People of Sri Lanka can join his journey by contributing to a deserving cause supported by Give2Lanka.