By Rashika Fazali
- Commemorates 110th birth anniversary of Founder Chairman Alfred Leo Thambiayah with vision care clinics in Jaffna on 16 July
Hotel Renuka and Renuka City Hotel commemorated the 110th birth anniversary of Founder Chairman Alfred Leo Thambiayah with a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative with So Others May See Inc. (SOMS), which will assist hundreds of vision impaired patients with proper vision care.
In collaboration with the Jaffna Regional Directorate of Health Services (RDHS) and the Vision 2020 Secretariat, the vision care program will begin on 16 July at the Kayts Base Hospital, the hometown of the late Thambiayah as a full-day clinic and later on be held at around six Jaffna islands as half-day clinics. The program has been organised based on a request received from Dr. Ketheswaran of RDHS.
Hotel Renuka and Renuka City Hotel Chairman Ravi Thambiayah said that this vision care program is arranged in memory of his late father, Alfred Leo Thambiayah who served the people of the Kayts electorate for ten years including the areas of Karampan, Velanai, Pungudutivu, Narantanai, Suruvil, Mandathivu, Saravanai, Nainativu, Analaitivu, Karainagar and Delft. “He was an entity by himself who provided employment, assistance and remedy to thousands of people in his long successful career as a businessman, social worker, politician and philanthropist. His sweeping victory in the 1947 elections at Kayts was an indication of his personal popularity and the gratitude of the people of Kayts for all the unconditional support they received from him.
Hotel Renuka and the Renuka City Hotel Joint Managing Director S. R. Thambiayah said: “We feel it is timely to carry out this year’s CSR project in his memory by caring for the people he cared about so much.”
Also speaking at the celebration, SOMS Founder and President Ashanthi M. Mathai stated: “This is a comprehensive program for anyone in need of glasses.” She added that there are approximately 500 to 1,000 patients in these islands who are in need of spectacles. However, these patients are unable to afford them and due to this SOMS have decided to help these patients receive customised eyeglasses. She also stated that another 200 to 300 patients are in need of cataract surgeries. These surgeries will be conducted at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital.
She told the Daily FT that a survey on blindness and eye aliments is currently being undertaken in the country. The results are expected in November.
She also thanked the hotel, stating: “This is only possible because of Ravi Thambiayah and the Board of Directors of the Renuka City Hotel who have extended their support.” Last year, SOMS held around 50 vision care programs assisting to over 17,000 patients. They also screened a vision care program to around 230 school children which took place in collaboration with the Health and Education Ministries.
Speaking on the late Thambiayah, Hotel Renuka Director G.U. Nanayakkara said, “Some referred to him as ALT or Thambi. I referred to him as Uncle Thambi. My association with my uncle leads back to when I was 15 years of age.”
“A great man he was. He was my second father. I am glad that we are doing thing in his memory and I think the hotel will continue to do such things in his memory,” added Nanayakkara.
The late Thambiayah became a Member of Parliament in 1947 and served the Kayts electorate for 10 years including the areas of Karampan, Velani, Pungudutivu, Narantanai, Suruvil, Mandathivu, Saravanai, Nainativu, Analaitivu, Karainagar and Delft. He was responsible for connecting Kayts to Jaffna Penninsular with a 14 mile causeway, building roads and schools and providing ample employment opportunities to the people of Kayts in his Colombo businesses and also in the port where Cargo Boat Despatch Company was doing the stevedoring.