A rainbow of hope for Kanugahawewa | Daily News
SLAF engages in major CSR project

A rainbow of hope for Kanugahawewa

New houses built under this project

Sri Lanka is a nation embellished with culture and religion. For centuries we have been endorsed as a caring people, and our willingness to help our fellow citizens is something that powerfully unites us.

We have found immense satisfaction in assisting and uplifting others. The influence of all four major religions in this island has left a deep impression inside our hearts to be able to relate to the problems of others, and find lasting answers. In this backdrop, the guardians of our nation’s skies, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has successfully embarked on its largest CSR initiative by delivering a payload of hope and care to the needy residents of Kanugahawewa. This project was taken over by Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana in line with the 70th anniversary of the SLAF which was celebrated in March this year.

First Lady Ioma Rajapaksa presenting a deed of a new house built under this project to a woman. The President looks on.

The Kanugahawewa Renovation Project came to life as a result of the “Gama Samaga Pilisandara” programme which was envisaged by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Kanugahawewa village in Kebithigollewa, Anuradhapura on December 30, 2020. The Kanugahawewa village is home to 314 families and approximately 942 civilians. It is a serene village where life is lived in blissful harmony alongside nature. The Chief Incumbent of the Kanugahawewa Abhinawarama Viharaya, the Kanugahawewa Grama Niladhari Officer and residents of Kanugahawewa discussed their needs with the Divisional Secretary and made a proposal on what was needed by the people of Kanugahawewa. Based on the proposal made by the Divisional Secretary, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) had planned to develop the Kanugahawewa village as a Model Village together with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Air Force. Signifying the commencement of this important Model Village, Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Pathirana placed the cornerstone on January 28, 2021, for the Teachers Quarters of the Kanugahawewa Primary School. The event was attended by many. The former Base Commander of the SLAF Base Vavuniya, Air Commodore Deshapriya Silva and his team played a significant role in project planning and supervision during the entire Phase I of this project.

Based on the needs of those in Kanugahawewa, renovation of the Kanugahawewa Abhinawarama Viharaya, Kanugahawewa Primary School, Halmillawetiya Vidyalaya, houses for those who cannot afford to build a house on their own and many other development projects were undertaken by the SLAF. To these humble rural folk, this helping hand came at the right moment, and their lives would be transformed where they could live with dignity. The American essayist Ralph Emerson once said “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be lead by your dreams”. The dreams of the Kanugahawewa people began to blossom with the aid of the Air Force.

This project which came to life as a result of the “Gama Samaga Pilisandara” being vested in the public by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the presence of Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana.
 

A project of this magnitude needs planning and implementation. The Sri Lanka Air Force assigned this task to its civil engineering officers. They were duly supported by hundreds of robust airmen who put in a great effort to build and renovate many buildings. Under the first phase, the New Bell Tower of the Abinawarama Viharaya, and renovation of the “Bodhi Prakaraya”, the Sanghawasa Building and the washroom complex of the temple were assigned to the SLAF team. The challenge was accepted with goodwill. In our village system of life, places of religious worship are the vital hubs that connect the entire village.

For centuries, the village temple has been a place of solace and also a point where the community gathers. The renovations done at the temple will serve to uplift the spiritual wellbeing of all villagers. In February 2021, the SLAF Seva Vanitha Unit with the Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine, conducted a medical camp for the residents of Kanugahawewa. An eye testing clinic was also part of this initiative and 500 spectacles were given free of charge. Director of Health Service (SLAF) Air Vice Marshal Dr. L.R. Jayaweera attended this event. The overall event was coordinated by Group Captain Dr. P.A.V. Padmaperuma, Commanding Officer of SLAF Hospital, Colombo.

Additionally, a new Teachers Quarters building, school playground, home gardening project, main hall for the Kanugahawewa Primary School, renovation work of the IT Lab and the washroom complex of the Halmilla Wetiya Vidyalaya were completed. This was deeply appreciated by these deserving residents of Kanugahawewa. In addition, 13 houses were completed and vested in the public.

New Bell Tower of the Abinawarama Viharaya

Under the second phase which was completed in July 2021, an office building for the Kanugahawewa Primary School, a Sunday Dhamma school building for the Abhinawarama Viharaya and 12 completed houses for residents of the village were vested in the public by Youth and Sports Minister, Development Coordination and Supervision Minister, Digital Technology and Enterprise Development State Minister Namal Rajapaksa who attended this event on the invitation of the Air Force Commander.

The SLAF is dedicatedly continuing with this development project and plans to complete many development projects which include the construction of the Kanugahawewa Seva Piyasa, the Halmilla Wetiya Seva Piyasa and a volleyball arena, and renovation of the office of the Halmilla Wetiya Medical Officer of Health (MOH). Sports is a key factor in developing young people and this venture will give these youth a chance to have some fellowship. This entire development project has been handled by the Directorate of Civil Engineering under the leadership of the Acting Director Civil Engineering, Air Commodore Udula Wijesinghe. Based on the location of the Kanugahawewa village, the SLAF Base Vavuniya is entrusted with coordinating all matters related to this worthy cause. The SLAF Base in Vavuniya under the leadership of the Base Commander, Group Captain Amal Perera has coordinated this ongoing development project and will continue to do so.

The renovated “Bodhi Prakaraya”

During Phase I of this CSR initiative, the Air Force Commander also symbolically commenced the construction of a 13Km-long electric fence. The SLAF engineers subsequently took time to plan and finalise this electric fence to protect the village, from intruding wild elephants. This construction was subsequently undertaken by the SLAF Station Morawewa under the leadership of the Commanding Officer, Group Captain Hiyumal Dharmadasa. The SLAF utilised a considerable amount of funds for these projects, the UDA funded their segment of the project, Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs Ministry funded the temple renovation work and the Bank of Ceylon donated one million rupees for the project. The Education Ministry funded the repairs for the school segment of this project. The Dalai Lama opined “Love and compassion are necessities, without them humanity cannot survive”. By reaching out kindly to the remote village of Kanugahawewa, the Sri Lanka Air Force has lavished their love and compassion to empower their fellow Sri Lankans.

Schoolchildren receiving stationery items.
Marking the completion of Phase II of the project.
 An eye testing clinic was part of this initiative.

 


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