Sri Lanka Cricket has announced that it is to relaunch its charity arm Cricket Aid, an initiative first founded by SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala in order to help those devastated by the 2004 tsunami, this time in support of those suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease.
Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD has reached pandemic proportions in Sri Lanka, with statistics indicating that 2,000 people die of this disease annually, while around 20,000 people are admitted and re-admitted to hospitals for CKD each year.
It is believed to be caused by the lack of or limited access to clean drinking water, use of low quality fertiliser which seeps into water sources and the lack of medical facilities such as dialysis machines to treat those afflicted.
“We’re going to provide patients with treatment. We will take care of a certain amount of patients and look after them. We’re also looking at sponsors to help us provide areas at high risk of CKD with clean drinking water facilities,” explained Sumathipala, when asked how donations would be spent, adding that further details will be furnished in the coming weeks.
“What we’re looking at over the course of our 10-year business plan, is to eradicate CKD in the country. Like we did with malaria, and like we did with cholera.”
The resurrected Cricket Aid program will hold its first fundraising event on 4 June, a Charity dinner to be held at the prestigious Long Room at Lord’s amongst a gathering of distinguished guests.
Tickets priced at £200 will entitle the holder to a tour of Lord’s, cocktails followed by dinner at the Long Room and a silent auction. A specially signed memento will also be presented to all guests.
Seating is in high demand, and inquiries may be made on the following numbers: +44 11 62599840; +44 79 80211939; +44 77 40877322. Tickets may be pre-booked by sending an email to [email protected].
Moreover, Cricket Aid has also begun immediate relief efforts in the aftermath of the recent floods in the country, and to date have collected several millions of rupees in aid.
Sumathipala explained that once Cricket Aid, which will fall under the purview of Crishantha Kapuwatte, is officially launched, donors will be able to have a say on which cause their donations go towards, be it CKD or flood victims.
“We were not ready to deal with flood victims when we initiated this, but now we have shifted our focus drastically,” stated Sumathipala. “We have now put around 85% of a proceeds towards the flood victims.”
It is estimated that over 500,000 people have been displaced due to the floods, with over a 100 lives lost and as many as 100 still missing. Many of the displaced are from the Greater Colombo area, where the un-paralleled flooding caused by the Kelani River spilling its banks, has led to close to 200,000 persons being severely affected.
As a primary phase, over 300 volunteers of Cricket Aid comprised of staff, coaches, cricketers and well-wishers spent the day on Saturday 28 May, at a Shramadhana organised to assist the flood affected with resettlement.
Cricket Aid distributed over 3,000 aid packages that contained dry rations, bedding, clothing and toiletries and 10,000 litres of potable water whilst volunteers cleaned and helped in resettlement of over 500 houses.
The campaign is set to continue in the coming week with school books and uniforms being distributed as a second phase.
Following the launch event in London, Cricket Aid will also launch its website where the general public will be able to donate. Going forward Sumathipala hopes this will help them provide assistance to a variety of good causes.
“This is going to be our CSR arm, our official charity arm. As it is the national team have given Rs. 1 million to the victims. We hope that as more donations go towards those in need, people will see that this is a program that they would like to contribute towards.”