From left: Sarvodaya Movement Founder and President Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne and Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Managing Director Leon Clement officially opening the ECD centre in Katugoda
Earlier this month, Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka and the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, the country’s largest and oldest community organisation, formed a landmark partnership, which will see them work together on initiatives that uplift local dairy farming communities.
Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka Managing Director Leon Clement said the dairy co-operative was delighted to be partnering with such a respected organisation, which is renowned for the service rendered to Sri Lankan communities.
“We are committed to helping Sri Lanka build a stronger dairy industry. We firmly believe that our efforts should extend beyond the dairy farms and that we need to support the local dairy communities where we operate as well. We have set up the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund to work towards uplifting the quality of life in these communities and the partnership with Sarvodaya is one of several such initiatives.”
In the first six months of this partnership, Fonterra and Sarvodaya will be working together on eight separate projects to enhance the local dairy communities, with the first two projects already completed with the recent handing over of two newly renovated Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres back to communities in the Hanwella area.
“Our long-term collaboration with the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, an organisation that has left an immense footprint in Sri Lanka through its activities, will enable us to support more and more dairy communities,” he added.
Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement Founder and President Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne said, “We are happy to partner with Fonterra Brands Lanka to identify and renovate some of the most crucial establishments in our communities.”
“Fonterra is made up of a group of people who come from a cooperative set up, owned by farmers. The company takes an interest in helping people. Sarvodaya too is an institute which works to help the people in need in our society. It is a movement by the people, for the people. Therefore, the significance of this partnership is that our visions and objectives are aligned and that there is a similarity in the work we do. This partnership is to serve the people and I believe it will be very effective,” he said.
Working together in recognising the needs of the Hanwella dairy communities, Fonterra and Sarvodaya employees identified two ECD centres that needed major renovations. This included improvements to the exterior such as significant roof repairs and upgrades to the building interior, which consisted of substantial electrical work, replacing unusable furniture and equipping the ECD centres with essentials such as first-aid kits and storage cupboards.
Further, improvements were made to the surroundings such as new fencing, cleaning and levelling the play area and installing new play equipment and the ECD centres were provided with educational materials and workbooks, toys and other children’s supplies.
Water and sanitation facilities were also installed, fulfilling a much-needed requirement for the centres.