The University of Sri Jayewardenepura ‘walk the talk’, to plan, coordinate, contribute and execute their own Social Responsibility project
–Community Social Responsibility Project by Academia of University of Sri Jayewardenepura–
The University of Sri Jayewardenepura occupies the highest echelon of prestigious higher educational institutions in Sri Lanka and in the World. Established as Vidyodaya Pirivena in 1873 and gazetted as Vidyodaya University in 1959, the institution is a highly acclaimed University operating trueto the motto ‘among all that arise, knowledge is the greatest’.
As the world experienced a global pandemic and our island nation came to a complete standstill socially and economically, the worst effected were the underprivileged and those who depended on the goodwill of a functional society.Fully comprehensive of this void, under the patronage of Snr. Professor Kennedy Gunawardana and Snr. Professor Y.K. Weerakoon Banda, the Management Faculty’s Doctoral degree holders and the students perusing their Doctorates decided to step out from their ‘comfort zone’ of pursuit of knowledge and ‘walk the talk’ to plan, coordinate, contribute and execute their own Social Responsibility project.
The Bolawalana Good Shepherd Convent is nestled between a lush coconut plantation and the Convent Road. The convent not only provides and cares for the children but also equips them to be productive citizens by providing vocational training. The occupants of the convent are children to whom Sister Selinta Fernando and her dedicated team are the only mother and father known since the day they were entrusted to the care of the convent. These children who were to benefit from the CSR campaign had no idea that they were being thought about with love and care miles away by a group of dedicated academics working out of their home offices and studies and received their essential supplies with heart warming smiles, silently mouthed prayers and expressions of gratitude.
The most remarkable aspects of the whole project according to Snr. Professor Gunawardana is the speed of response, remote planning using high tech online platforms, eager contributions and final delivery of the project within a period of 48 hours from the inception of the concept.“This is not a one-off project, we helped to define what social responsibility is, expanded the knowledge base, and this is the moment of truth” commented Professor Gunawardana, who is confident that his team of academics are capable of sustaining such social responsibilityeffortsthrough ensuring participation and commitment from other stakeholders as well. A spokesperson from the project team, who maintained anonymity commented ‘it definitely was a rewarding experience to see the tears of gratitude and innocent smiles of children at the Good Shepherd Convent, Bolawalana, and now we know the true meaning of the saying that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”’.