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Caring for the underprivileged: 100 years and counting

29 April 2023 06:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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One of the oldest voluntary humanitarian organizations in the country, celebrates their centenary milestone.

The Sri Lankadhara Society is a well-known charitable organization that has been providing essential services to the underprivileged for a century. The organization was established in 1922 with the aim of alleviating the suffering of the destitute and needy in society. Caring for the underprivileged or elderly comes from the heart, and Sri Lankadhara Society does just that. The home is a haven for underprivileged women and girl’s aged five years and older.


Most of the women at the home, including young children, have experienced numerous tragedies throughout their short lifetimes. Among them are those who have been exploited, abandoned by their own parents or are orphans. Some have been handed over by their parents as they are unable to care for their children. There are those who are also referred to the home by the Department of Probation and Child Care and the Juvenile Courts. At present the society cares for over fifty young girls and elderly women.


The Sri Lankadhara Society Ltd. was established in 1922 by the late Dr. W.A. de Silva and his wife Mrs. Catherine de Silva who donated their spacious home in Wellawatte, which is located on three acres of land, as a shelter for less fortunate girls and women. Apart from being a safe house the society also provides education and training to the residents of the home to equip them with the necessary skills to earn a livelihood. Their programs include courses in sewing, handicrafts, and computer skills, among others. 

Over time the home expanded into being a women’s home for girls between the ages of 5 and 18, a senior citizens home for females over 60, a day care center for both males and females, an infant’s home for boys and girls up to 5 years, and a pre-school/day care center for kids.

Dr. de Silva was a multifaceted personality, a member of the legislative council, a government Minister, and a well-known philanthropist, he was also an Editor, Publisher and the owner of several newspapers. His wife, Muthuthanthrige Catherine de Silva, was a remarkable lady. She inherited a great fortune which was disbursed generously on her husband’s crusade of serving the nation, religion, and downtrodden masses. 

Dr. de Silva left a newly constructed mansion on several acres of prime land, with modern amenities, located at No. 95, W.A. Silva Mawatha, Wellawatta, to continue his vision of uplifting the nation's oppressed and neglected women. The Sri Lankadhara Society Ltd., an authorized charity and the first social service group founded by the kindhearted couple Dr. and Mrs. W.A. de Silva is still standing strong, 100 years later. 

 

 

The Sri Lankadhara Society Ltd, being ever so generous with nurturing and nourishment, has also enrolled the girls at a government run school in the vicinity of the Home – St. Clare’s Girls School. These girls attend school up to the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level. Perhaps for the first time in their lives, these girls feel safe and secure inside the Home. They receive wholesome meals, clothing, and medical care. Additionally, their school provides extra assistance in topics like spoken English, computing, and practical skills like sewing, cooking, as well as in aesthetic subjects like music, dance, and singing.

Sri Lankadhara Society is an organization that has made a significant impact on the lives of many underprivileged people in Sri Lanka. The organization's commitment to compassion and service has made it a beacon of hope for those who are in need. The Sri Lankadhara Society’s work in community development has helped to improve the lives of countless individuals in the country.

In this era of rising consumer goods prices, it is challenging to provide even the most fundamental necessities for infants and girls, despite the government's meager funding for their care. The Society has continuously sought out and received gifts in cash and kind from kindhearted people, institutions, businesses, and social service-focused organizations to help it overcome this crisis. The Society expressed its gratitude to all the kind donors who have supported their humanitarian endeavor since its inception. The committee's sole request is that more and more young volunteers join them to assist these disadvantaged and deserving women.

For more information visit: www.srilankadhara.org or contact: 011 258 8838 or Email: lankadharal@gmail.com


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