Volunteer Trip to Sri Lanka
The CREO Institute has been supporting the work of the Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka since 1997. During the summer of 2010, we had the honor of spending two weeks in Sri Lanka learning first hand about the work of FOG and experiencing the beauty of the Sri Lankan people and country. During our time in Sri Lanka, we worked with Kushil Gunasekera, the founder of the Foundation of Goodness providing strategic planning guidance for Kushil's next project.
What follows is Kushil's incredible story:
Kushil grew up in the remote Seenigama region of Sri Lanka. Unlike most who live in this area, Kushil had the opportunity to obtain an education and vowed that he would work hard to become a successful businessperson and return to his village to bring opportunities and a better future to all who lived there.
After completing his studies and growing a successful business in the cinnamon and sugar cane industry, Kushil Gunasekera returned to Seenigama and started the Foundation of Goodness in 1999 in Sri Lanka. His vision for the FOG is to create a sustainable rural community model designed to inspire other regions and empower disadvantaged communities throughout the globe. Kushil has dedicated the past eleven years of his life to improving the lives of thousands who live in remote villages in Sri Lanka by building homes, medical facilities, sporting facilities, and educational centers in which villagers can take English, computer, business, and a variety of classes to learn the skills that they need to improve their lives and create a better future for their families.
Kushil Gunasekera has developed the "Village Heartbeat Project", centers where people who live in remote villages can come to take advantage of all of the benefits listed above free of charge. The Village Heartbeat Project centers that the Foundation of Goodness has built annually treat 19,360 patients from 25 villages free of charge; have graduated 732 women from a six course program offering to teach them skills with which they can earn a livelihood and support their families (e.g. weaving, dressmaking, bakery) and 226 men and women who have completed a program in business; have taught 938 children and youth English classes; and 662 children have completed computer classes.
Kushil also played an integral leadership role after the tsunami destroyed his village and many of the surrounding 25 villages. Much of the work and progress that the Foundation of Goodness had made was destroyed in the tsunami. However, Kushil once again took the leadership role and worked with the people in the villages to start anew, and as he says "turn the waves of destruction into waves of compassion". In just a short year and a half after the tsunami, the Foundation of Goodness, under Kushil's leadership, successfully rebuilt 625 new homes in communities across the Seenigama region of Sri Lanka and repaired 401 damaged homes. And they were able to accomplish this all through donations and with volunteers from around the world.... truly inspirational. We recommend that you view some of the pictures they have posted on their website under "Our Story in Pictures" on their home page.
Many generous people in Australia, the U.K., and U.S. have helped Kushil over the years to continue to change the world for the people in his communities. A few years ago, for example, the singer Bryan Adams funded the building of an Olympic sized swimming pool for the community. The CREO Insitute has been helping Kushil and the Foundation of Goodness by obtaining computer donations and by educating the community on the amazing work that Kushil and his team have done and continue to do. We obtained a donation of 115 computers from Disney (where we previously worked), our college, and a few local businesses to send to Sri Lanka. Many of the children who are currently using the computers that were donated had never even seen a computer before so we have been very happy to help in any way that we can to support their continued growth.
Kushil's goal is to open several more Village Heartbeat Centers in Sri Lanka. His next center will be built in the North of Sri Lanka, where the civil war has just recently ended, to provide opportunities for individuals who have lived under such harsh circumstances for over thirty years. Kushil's future goal is to partner with other philanthropists in other developing countries to build more Village Heartbeat Centers and thus fight poverty through education and the provision of essential services to communities in need. Our CREO Community will continue to help Kushil in his mission because we too believe that education, compassion, and creativity are the keys to solving some of the world's most critical problems.
Watch our Conversation With Kushil Gunasekera, Founder/Trustee, Foundation of Goodness
Read more about our CREO Community Volunteer Trips:
- Summer 2011 - Nepal
- Summer 2012 - Republic of Georgia