Unconditional Compassion towards the Less Privileged
By Daya Dissanayake
War has always meant suffering. Those who suffer the most are the poor and the helpless and the innocent, during the war and often even after the war. Among such people, those who died during the war are more fortunate, in a way, because their suffering had come to an end.
Since the war is over now, it is the responsibility of the more fortunate to reach out to the surviving victims of war, to ensure that they would not be compelled to think that they would have been better off dead.
It is this responsibility that the Sri Lanka government has undertaken, but it is not a task that a government with its official bureaucratic machinery could handle successfully and expeditiously. However the Government has initiated the infrastructure development as its priority for re-settlement of families to commence re-building their lives and the education and upbringing of the children.
Donation of push bicycles to resettled families in kilinochchi
During the 30 years when an ethnic conflict grew into a civil war, there were allegations and accusations on both sides. Unfortunately the world is still concentrating all their efforts on what has happened, and trying to find who is guilty. But looking after the living should take priority over holding post-mortems. The war is over. The country is at peace. It is time the world and the Sri Lankan diaspora opened their eyes for the urgent need to take care of the needs of the survivors. There were many organizations and groups who supported the war, financially, with publicity and media support and encouragement. All such contributions were for destruction, for causing pain and suffering among our own people. These organizations and individuals can now show the world that their concern for the poor and the helpless people have always been genuine. If all that money and effort could be now turned into helping the people in the North and East of Sri Lanka, it could help to make the victims happy that they survived the war.
During the war era and after, the Sri Lankan diaspora have been the most fortunate, because they were able to escape all the suffering and hardships, and they were able to save their children from killing each other. They escaped because they had the power, or the money or the right connections. There were those who could not get out of the country, but were able to get out of the war zone, to lead normal lives in the South. It is only the people who did not have the money, or the power or the right contacts who were left behind. They are the people who really suffered from the war, lost their parents, their husbands, their children, remained as unwed mothers. They are the people who still suffer, because they have no funds and no resources to rebuild their lives. They are the people who probably never wanted the war, but have been made to suffer.
The time has now come for construction, to rebuild what was destroyed, not just the physical destruction, but the rebuilding of the shattered lives. It is time for building bridges of ethnic harmony, to provide equal opportunities for the children of the war ravaged areas. The opportunity is here now, for the diaspora who were crying about the suffering of their people, the destruction of the country, those who were protesting against the separation of the country. They have the opportunity to end the suffering of the people and to help to maintain the unity of the country.
Packges of School essential items gifted to children in mankulam
We have to give a book to the hands of the young boy, who would otherwise have been forced to hold a gun. But before the child could read the book, he needs to feed his hunger. He needs a place to sleep. His parents need our support so they could earn a living to support their children. That is the only way we can prevent the young girl from wearing a cyanide capsule around her neck, instead of looking forward to wearing a thali someday.
The money thrown away by our diaspora for a gala dinner in Colombo, Melbourne, London or Toronto is their preference, but at the same time they could also spare a small donation on account of the celebrations in bringing relief to a family desperately in need to support them, so they could improve their quality of life. In the end “Beauty of life does not depend on how happy we are but how happy others are because of us”, and celebrating an occasion sparing a thought for others is most noble, considerate, caring and ideal. The cost of an expensive dress could clothe an entire family for one year at grass root levels, and it would not be much of a sacrifice for a person with a huge and overflowing wardrobe.
What causes suffering, despair, jealousy and anger is not someone’s race or creed or their skin colour. It is inequality that causes all the pain and results in all the conflicts. In our society it is inequality that causes the great divide, which is then exploited by the politicians. It is the barrier between the haves and have-nots. We can never eliminate inequality, as long as man is controlled by his greed. But we could do our best to reduce the gap. We do not have to grab from the haves to give to the have-nots. We can contribute in many different ways to make these people a little more equal, without making drastic sacrifices on our part, without humiliating or insulting the families who deserve our support to stand on their own feet.
In this context several organizations and individuals are making things happen to ease the pain of mind of the unfortunate victims and from the beginning of this year it is heartening to note that the Foundation of Goodness has stepped into make their own contribution on a monthly basis to assist hundreds of families to help themselves.
Gift of computers to the Good Shepherd Girls Home in Mulaitivu road Mankulam
What the Foundation of Goodness is seeking is not money to buy rocket launchers, land mines or claymore bombs; their campaign is to gift simple things such as a bicycle for a family, essential school supplies including shoes for children in pursuit of their education, home essential supplies like kerosene lamps, water containers, flasks, torches and mosquito nets.
Sir Ian Botham donating essential home items
Foundation of Goodness in the last four months have supplied such essential items for nearly a thousand families to establish the platform for them to rebuild their lives. In the ensuing months the Foundation is working on doing similar projects and productive programs as encouraging home gardens, a sports development activity program to create confidence, team building and an active life style for elevating their living standards.
Among the Trustees of the Foundation of Goodness are Kushil Gunasekara (Founder), the cricketing legends Mutthiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas, and Rohan Iriyagolla and Ashan Malalasekara. During the recent World Cup, Sir Ian Botham and Michael Vaughan had visited the Mankulam Project and there is assurance from the Laureus World Sports Academy for their support. Already there are sponsors from Australia, United States, United Kingdom and Canada. They need more sponsors, greater support and further encouragement to keep on with their good work.
Kushil presenting school packs
It is truly a Foundation of Goodness, with "Unconditional Compassion" and a mission "to empower the less privileged rural communities, whilst inculcating the spirit of goodness". They have already shown the right way in creating a rural community model in the tsunami ravaged southern village of Seenigama which now caters to 20,000 beneficiaries via 30 empowerment sectors to benefit 38 villages in the region free of cost.
Cricket bats & balls gifted to children in Mankulam
The details of the Foundation of Goodness, their activities especially the North Empowerment initiative in the long term, a modern school with sporting facilities second to none are available at the web site (www.unconditionalcompassion.org).
“In This Life We Cannot Always Do Great Things but We Can Do Small Things with Great Love"
- Mother Teresa