Marking another far-reaching milestone in the company’s ongoing quest to enrich our
country and its people, Tokyo Cement Group recently joined hands with The Foundation
of Goodness to establish The A.Y.S. Gnanam Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre
in Dambulla. The facility, which became the 12th Village Heartbeat project of the
Foundation of Goodness, was declared open by Dr. Harsha Cabral PC – Chairman,
together with Mr. S.R. Gnanam – Managing Director of the Tokyo Cement Group and
Mr. Kushil Gunasekera, Founder/Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness. Three
main Distributors of Tokyo Cement Group in the region, Mr. Dharmasiri Rajapaksha,
Proprietor – Kandegedera Hardware, Wilgamuwa, Mr. Wijesiri Perera, Proprietor –
Perera Distributors, Dambulla and Mr. W.S. Fernando, Proprietor – Sampath Traders,
Bakamuna were among the distinguished guests at the event.
The A.Y.S. Gnanam Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre situated in Sisirawatte,
Dambulla, will provide free educational support on subjects such as, Science,
Mathematics, IT, English, Tamil, and Traditional Dancing, for Primary to Grade 5
students from low-income families. In addition to educational support for school
children, other programs carried out at the Centre will include life skills & values,
vocational training, and sports, to empower the youth in the area for better employment opportunities. As it progresses, the Centre will offer training programs on widely
sought-after vocational courses for youth, such as hospitality, agriculture, bakery,
electrical wiring, CCTV installation, and mobile repairing. Women empowerment is a
key focus of the Village Heartbeat concept, and as such the Centre also conducts
professional courses on dressmaking, cookery, and beauty culture.
At the inauguration event, Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, Chairman of the Tokyo Cement Group
said that this Centre promises to be a fitting tribute to Late Mr. Gnanam, who had
selflessly initiated many charitable causes, that continue to open many doors even
today for thousands of people, to realise their dreams. He stated that the beneficiaries
of the institute should take pride in acquiring valuable skills that are in high demand and
make use of this opportunity to make a positive contribution to the society.
The A.Y.S. Gnanam Centre in Dambulla is a fully equipped training facility built by the
Tokyo Cement Group in memory of its Founder Chairman and pioneering self-made
industrialist, late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam. By upgrading the facility, in partnership
with the Foundation of Goodness to conduct multiple empowerment programs for
deserving rural communities, help keep the legacy of late A.Y.S. Gnanam alive and
The A.Y.S. Gnanam Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre addresses much-needed
social upliftment requirements of the rural communities in Dambulla – Kandalama areas.
People living in the remote villages of Rathmalgahaela, Athuparayaya, Pahalawewa,
Yakuragala North, Yakuragala South, Wilhatha and Kandalama Grama Niladhari
Divisions will benefit from the initiative. Over 750 families, who’s main livelihood is
farming and agriculture related industries, can now utilize the facility to improve their
learning opportunities and expand the horizons of their children. So far, more than 800
beneficiaries from various age categories are participating in the multiple skills
development courses at the Centre, which stands proof of the value it creates for the
people over time.
The visionary behind the Village Heartbeat Empowerment (VHE) concept, Mr. Kushil
Gunasekera, Founder/Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness, speaking at the
opening reiterated the importance of creating holistic individuals who are not only
educated, but more importantly, kind and compassionate. He further requested all
beneficiaries of the 12th VHE Centre in Dambulla to pay forward the kindness they
receive in the form of better opportunities, to other, even lesser fortunate individuals in
their respective communities, with the aim of uplifting the lives of everyone and
ultimately our nation.
The Village Heartbeat Centres empower disadvantaged rural communities, by offering
free training courses aimed at improving the standard of living. It is a unique holistic
rural development concept to eradicate poverty by bridging the urban-rural divide, using
skills development and training as the means to enhance knowledge and attitudes of
youth and communities who otherwise do not have access to the required resources.
The Foundation of Goodness currently reaches out and touches the lives of over 35,000
beneficiaries annually, from over 500 villages island-wide, through its 10 empowerment
divisions conducted free of cost via its Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centres and the
Project Headquarters; which is also its flagship venue, the OYOB Centre of Excellence
and Sports Academy in Seenigama.
Tokyo Cement Group has successfully integrated social welfare and environmental
conservation into its corporate DNA, and this latest initiative is one great example of
their commitment to social responsibility. What fuels the company to take this path, is
the very life of late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, whose many business achievements
are outshined by his kindness and generosity. The late A.Y.S. Gnanam’s legacy as a
compassionate leader and the values he embodied continue to be the driving forces
behind the Tokyo Cement Group.