Pathfinder Foundation Founder Milinda Moragoda met with Nippon/Sasakawa Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa at their Tokyo headquarters to discuss collaboration opportunities between the two organisations. The Nippon Foundation is the largest private foundation in Japan. Japan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Nobuhito Hobo was also present at the discussion.
Sasakawa joined the Nippon Foundation as a trustee in 1981, served as the President from 1989 and became the Chairman on July 1, 2005. The foundation’s overall objectives include assistance for humanitarian activities, both in Japan and overseas, and global maritime development. Its philanthropic ideals embrace social development and self-sufficiency and it pursues these principles by working to improve public health and education, alleviate poverty, eliminate hunger and help the disabled.
In the field of public health, Yohei Sasakawa has for over 30 years been dedicated to a global campaign to eliminate leprosy (the oldest disease known to humankind), working in close co-operation with the World Health Organisation, governments, international organisations and NGOs. One prime example of his work is the decision to fund between 1995 and 1999 free multi-drug therapy (MDT) for every leprosy-affected person in the world. Sixteen million people have been cured of the disease since MDT first became available in the 1980s.
Sasakawa has described the elimination of leprosy as his life’s work and spends one-third of every year travelling around the world as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, a position he has held since 2001.
The Pathfinder Foundation in Sri Lanka to play a catalytic role in changing attitudes of legislators, government officials, civil society groups and the public, towards the role of government in the economy and society, markets, the globalization process and private initiatives through research, information dissemination, action and dialogue.