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He well deserved it

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 17 February 2018 00:00

While glancing through the internet a couple of days back, quite by accident I came across a press release issued by the British PM’s Office on the prestigious ‘Points of Light’ award presented to Sri Lankan entrepreneur Kushil Gunasekera. The prestigious award is presented by the Head of the Commonwealth Her Majesty the Queen, recognising an inspirational volunteer across the 53 Commonwealth nations for “the difference they are making in their communities and beyond”. Kushil is one of them.

I wasn’t sure whether the news was carried by the local media in which case I had missed it. Anyway, both as a friend and one who has watched Kushil progressing in community development activities among the youth, I thought of sharing the news with FT readers.

The silent worker Kushil is best known as the founder of ‘Foundation of Goodness’ when, seeing the poverty in his birthplace Seenigama, a village in the South, hr thought something should be done. He started in a small way in 1999 as a grassroots charity providing livelihood support from his ancestral home, providing basic facilities for sports and holding English and computer classes for needy students. The devastation of the village by the tsunami in 2004 made Kushil start from scratch to build up the village.

Over the years, the foundation expanded its activities with the assistance from numerous organisations like the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), primarily to provide education and training to over 20,000 villagers living in impoverished rural communities. The focus is on giving the youth the skills they need to gain sustainable employment.

The Points of Light award was presented at Westminster House in Colombo during a Commonwealth-themed dinner by the Earl of Wessex Prince Edward who was in Sri Lanka for the 70th anniversary of independence.

Accepting the award, Kushil said his philosophy has always been not to expect anything in return when he is committed to serve humanity with purity of intentions. “I’m absolutely honoured and delighted to be the recipient of this very unique recognition as a Sri Lankan; to be identified as the Commonwealth Point of Light which is humbling and fuels my passion to do more good for the betterment of those in desperate circumstances, with the goal of bridging the gap between the urban and rural sectors.”

He added that he was most appreciative of the unexpected accolade which he considers as not only for himself but for the ‘Foundation of Goodness Board of Trustees’ and ‘Team Goodness’, generous donors worldwide, and deserving beneficiaries alike “without whom this achievement would never have been possible”.

“I’m aware of the nature of this prestigious title from Her Majesty the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth which makes me understand the magnitude of my duties on this journey of life; serving the disadvantaged and benchmarking the work that is undertaken going forward,” he said, stressing that goodness is the one investment that never fails.

Referring to Kushil as a most deserving recipient of a Commonwealth Points of Light Award, UK High Commissioner in Sri Lanka James Dauris said that Kushil’s selfless work over many years to help thousands of people in need in communities across Sri Lanka has been an inspiration to many people here and abroad.

“The Foundation of Goodness has made a real difference in the lives of countless young people, providing them with skills to equip them for adulthood and helping to make Sri Lanka more prosperous and inclusive for everyone,” he added.

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