Physicians and a Philanthropist Dr. Neville Fernando recently donated over 1600 books in his private collection to the National Library in Colombo.
According to National Library officials Dr. Neville Fernando’s book collection is second largest private book collection that was donated to National Libraries after Sri Lanka’s ‘Greatest Author’ Martin Wickramasinghe’s private book collection that had over 5000 books.
According to Dr. Fernando most of the books in his private collection are on ‘Old Ceylon’ from times of British Colonial Era to date. He said he has the passion to share the knowledge he has accumulated from books over years and they are the primary source that build up his ideology and the vision. Now he believes it is high time that he shares the books that nourished him ‘with the wealth of knowledge’, with the future generations of Sri Lanka.
Bringing back his memories of books Dr. Fernando said that over 5 decades ago most of his books in the collection were purchased from a bookseller named ‘Appuhamy’ by the pavement of Bristol Street in Colombo, just opposite the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) building.
His practice flourished as time went by and became a popular medical practitioner in the area. He practiced for more than 20 years before giving that up and entered active politics to serve the public.
Back in time Dr. Fernando was also elected by popular vote as the Member of Parliament for Panadura and was an equally active patriot in Politics during the 1980’s. He gave up politics in 1994, and ventured into business and became a successful businessman.
He owned the major shares of Asha Central Hospital, a flagship hospital in Colombo and renown healthcare brand to date. Later he sold his shares at the Asha Central hospital at a huge capital gain reaching top ‘Billionaires List’ in Sri Lanka. With the passion and great intention of doing something for Sri Lanka and the country’s future generation; at the last years of 21st century’s first decade he has set up the institute of higher education - South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) to help Sri Lankan students who have been left out by State University System as the system absorb only less than 10% of the Advanced Level passed out students. Further in order to facilitate affordable private healthcare in Sri Lanka he has also established Sri Lanka’s largest private sector hospital with over 1000 beds named ‘Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) in Malabe.