Henry Ford once said “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress; working together is success.” This was highlighted at a celebration of John Keells Group’s CSR partners held on 28th March at Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo.
The date also coincided with the 11th anniversary of registration of John Keells Foundation, the Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) entity.
The event was graced by John Keells Group Chairman Susantha Ratnayake, Deputy Chairman, Ajit Gunewardene, Group Finance Director, Ronnie Peiris and senior management of John Keells Holdings PLC and John Keells Foundation.
The distinguished invitees consisted of partners and collaborators from the public sector, private sector and the development/ NGO sector that have been working with the Foundation in its various CSR initiatives over the years.
The Foundation espouses a wide array of project s reflecting the diversity of businesses within the Group with its current portfolio comprising over 30 mid –to-long term projects in six focus areas, all aimed at achieving the Group’s CSR Vision Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow.
Underlining the invaluable contribution of its CSR partners,John Keells Group’s Chairman, Susantha Ratnayake, said, “We are most grateful for the support, assistance and advice offered by each and every one of you here. Our achievement s and successes are thanks to all of you. Without you, our initiatives could never have reached the impact and significance they have.”
The most poignant moment of the night came when Inoka Prabashini of Positive Women’s Network spoke about her experience of living with HIV in Sri Lanka. Her experience highlighted the rampant ignorance, stigma and discrimination faced by her and many others living with the virus, and the significant contribution awareness makes towards the improvement of their quality of life as well as prevention “Sri Lankan society regards people living with HIV as uncultured and indecent persons”, she said.
“People have misconceptions such as one can get infected by HIV through the air. An example is the incident involving the child in Kuliyapitya.
In such a social context, John Keells Foundation stepped in to create awareness, not just on their own, but with us. This has given us the opportunity to share our story with large audiences together with their trainers.”
Jonathan Johnso n, Interim National Director of World Vision Lanka, said “I am grateful not because we are partners but because of the way in which you improve the lives and livelihoods of communities. Ihave seen your staff striving to achieve your vision of ‘Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow’ and it is very clear in your initiatives. Your organization is truly transformational, not only towards improving income,but accountability and combining these efforts towards the greater benefit of the community.”
The event also saw John Keells Foundation’s new website
being launched by Chairman Susantha Ratnayake.