SLYO is Raising Funds to Provide Free Medical Care in Sri Lanka

Donate Now: SLYO GoFundMe


SLYO writing to you today to appeal for your support for a cause that is close to our hearts – providing free medical care to the struggling communities in Sri Lanka.


The rising costs of medication, severe fuel shortages, and food insecurity have made it impossible for many citizens to access healthcare services and maintain their health. This has particularly impacted rural, low-income communities such as tea estate workers, paddy-field workers, and fishermen, who often lack adequate healthcare access.


As a result, the Sri Lankan Youth Organization (SLYO) is organizing a one-day medical camp in Nelawa, Kurunegala, to serve approximately 600 locals. This community is facing significant financial hardships and severely limited healthcare access, and our goal is to make a tangible difference in their lives.


Your generous donation will support the purchase of essential medications and medical equipment that we will distribute free of cost to patients. We will also be providing prescription glasses for school children that require them following an ophthalmological evaluation at the camp. Additionally, any excess funds will be used to purchase milk powder packets for malnourished children as a nutritional aid.


With the aid of local healthcare professionals and excellent supporting staff, we will offer free services, including blood pressure and vision checks, diabetes screening, hypertension screening, general medical clinic (consultations for other medical complaints), and prescription glasses for school children requiring them.


We believe that SLYO’s medical camp will be a crucial step toward addressing health inequity in this disadvantaged population by connecting them with clinicians, resources, and free medications to augment their healthcare experience.


As a 501(c)(3) global nonprofit headquartered in the US, SLYO aims to harness the power of community to inspire youth to lead by giving back to the world around them. We have funded many community development projects in the most rural areas of Sri Lanka, focusing on underprivileged schools. Instead of sending random donations or supplies, we create relationships with local educational leaders to determine the specific needs and then build a fundraiser around that need. We see each project from conception to delivery by having boots on the ground to ensure that funds are spent on their intended purpose, and no vendor takes advantage of the kindness of our patrons.


We ask you to join us in supporting this critical initiative. Your donation, no matter how big or small, can make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most.


Sri Lanka: From ‘Troubled Nation to Start-up Nation’ – A Hatch Initiative.

Award-winning startup ecosystem builder Hatch is on a mission to change the narrative that currently clouds the media by highlighting stories of hope and resilience. Hatch is home to over 120 startups, showcasing home-grown entrepreneurs with a global mindset who will transform Sri Lanka.


Having commenced with just 28 startups, the Hatch community has seen tremendous growth since its inception just four years ago. 37% of the startups incubated by Hatch have been accelerated through startup programs, and 33% are female founder-led startups. In the coming years, Hatch envisions an economy fueled by purpose-driven innovators supported by its thriving startup ecosystem to establish Sri Lanka as a startup nation.


The unique geographical and commercial potential of Sri Lanka has been a point of emphasis for Sri Lanka’s startup ecosystem, and Hatch has been successful in propelling the value proposition to global stakeholder groups. Hatch’s recent partnership with Draper Startup House is an example of this. Draper Startup House is a global network of spaces connected to resources for entrepreneurs, founded as “Tribe Theory” by Vikram Bharati in Singapore back in March of 2018. This partnership has seen the opening of Colombo’s first co-living space, developed with the objective of supporting the startup ecosystem infrastructure in Sri Lanka. Through this initiative, alongside other past ventures, Hatch aims to position Sri Lanka as not just an idyllic tropical island location for digital nomads. Still, a country with a strategic geographic vantage point to connect, inspire, and build successful businesses: “This co-living space is intended to attract a new type of digital nomad to Sri Lanka – the digital nomad entrepreneur,” said Co-founder Jeevan Gnanam.


The emphasis on the importance of startups as the backbone of a resilient economy is becoming more apparent as Sri Lanka navigates its worst economic climate in history, and Hatch is well-aligned to support the mission of nurturing local startups to reach their global potential. Hatch represents hope as they forge forward in their mission to create meaningful value for local startups and drive Sri Lanka’s journey towards establishing itself as a startup nation.


Listen to Hatch Co-Founder Jeevan Gnanam as he elaborated on the initiative: Hatch | Colombo | Jaffna ( • Instagram photos and videos



Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA, donated to the V2U Organization founded in Canada to support the fifth Project in Dehiaththakandiya, to prepare land for raising crops to cultivate a field which Ulhitiye Homalokha Thero spearheaded in five different areas in the Ampara District. 

The main objective of the V2U Community Organization is to educate Sri Lankans on food cultivation to create self-generating employment opportunities in agriculture and other related fields.

Agriculture is essential to the Sri Lankan economy, engaging one-third of the working population. However, most farm households need more knowledge of production methods and face a financial struggle to access land for cultivation. These obstacles constrain their ability to compete in the market and increase their incomes. In response to these challenges, Sri Lanka Foundation International and V2U Community Organization are partnering on the Supporting Opportunities in Livelihoods Development projects, which train farm households in the country’s eastern regions on improved agricultural practices. 

To avert a further deterioration of food security conditions and to support the restoration of agricultural production, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe’s vision for this Project is a multi-faceted initiative to rebuild villages struggling educationally and economically. The ambition is a replicable model to create sustainable and holistic transformation through land cultivation. He believes a thriving economy is a system of production, distribution, and consumption that efficiently uses all available resources to benefit all stakeholders of that economy.  

With the support of SLF, the V2U Community Organization is reaching out to farming areas that often need more resources, skilled people, and economic development. They encourage volunteers to gain experience in community development while helping with various tasks that contribute to the local people’s long-term goals. They have already identified the next project in Aranagamwila in the Polonnaruwa District. 

This Project will continue to empower poor rural women and men to connect to markets by scaling up value chain development, developing public-private-producer partnerships, and mobilizing innovative financial products tailored to meet the needs of the rural poor in the country.

Professor Mohan Munasinghe, the 2021 Blue Planet Laureate, Receives Honors from Japanese Royalty

Professor Mohan Munasinghe, a Sri Lankan engineer, physicist, and economist specializing in energy, water resources, sustainable development, and climate change, was awarded the 2021 Blue Planet Prize, the top global environmental sustainability award “the Environmental Nobel Prize.”

Professor Munasinghe and Mrs. Sria Munasinghe attended the ceremonies for the Blue Planet Prize hosted by the Asahi Glass Foundation in Tokyo, where they were felicitated by Royalty and other grandees of Japan. The ceremony had been postponed to October 2022 due to the Covid Pandemic restrictions in 2021. The Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan granted Prof. Munasinghe and his wife an exclusive audience. In addition, they exchanged mutual felicitations with HRH Sonam Dechen Wangchuck, who attended the ceremony on behalf of her father, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan, the 2022 Blue Planet Prize laureate.

The award recognizes Prof. Munasinghe’s extensive environmental and sustainability research through his ground-breaking concepts, including the Sustainomics framework, sustainable development triangle, Millennium Consumption Goals (MCG), and balanced, inclusive green growth path (BIGG).

His work has influenced significant global accords like the 1992 Agenda 21 and UNFCCC, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the 2005 Copenhagen Accord, the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and UN 203the 0 Agenda & Sustainable development Goals. Prof. Munasinghe served as vice chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He has received the highest national accolades from the heads of five countries. Additionally, he serves as the President of the Presidential Expert Commission on the Sustainable Sri Lanka 2030 Vision, an Honorary Senior Advisor to the Sri Lankan Government, and a Distinguished Guest Professor at Peking University I,n China.

Acquiring post-graduate degrees in engineering, physics, and development economics from Cambridge University (UK), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), McGill University, and Concordia University (Canada), Prof. Munasinghe has also won numerous honorary doctorates (honoris causa). In addition, his forty years of exemplary public service are embellished with eminent designations such as Senior Energy Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, Advisor to the United States President’s Council on Environmental Quality (PCEQ), and Senior Advisor/Manager to the World Bank.

Launch of New U.S. Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka 

In a celebration of more than 70 years of U.S.-Sri Lankan friendship partnership and bilateral ties, the Honorable President Ranil Wickramasinghe, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung, and the U.S Department of State’s Under Secretary for Management John Bass opened the new U.S. Embassy on Galle Road in a festive event that included officials and private citizens from both countries. 

“It was a great honor to celebrate our new Embassy in the presence of the President of Sri Lanka, honored guests, and colleagues, said U.S. Ambassador Chung. “We have had an embassy in Colombo since Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, and the new campus symbolizes our enduring partnership with Sri Lanka. Americans and Sri Lankans worked together to build this state-of-the-art facility that epitomizes respect for the environment and appreciation of Sri Lankan architectural, cultural, and artistic themes. We are pleased to open our new doors to our Sri Lankan friends”. 

Under Secretary Bass stated: “The new Embassy highlights the important diplomatic relationship between the United States and Sri Lanka and provides the first impression of the United States for many Sri Lankans. It also demonstrates the sustainable design, construction, and operations that represent the best of U.S. architecture, engineering, and building standards.”

  The new Embassy is situated on the existing, expanded embassy site along the seafront in central Colombo. It provides a secure, modern, sustainable, and resilient platform for U.S. diplomacy in Sri Lanka. The architecture and landscape of the new Embassy were designed to embrace Sri Lanka’s ecology, history, and culture and are heavily informed by Colombo’s tropical climate. Domestically sourced natural stone and wood reference the region’s rich selection of materials in a neutral palette that draws attention to the lushness of the landscape. The Embassy’s interior incorporates textures and patterns inspired by local culture, art, and the surrounding gardens.

  A model of environmental stewardship, the new Embassy was designed to reduce energy costs and greenhouse-gas emissions while increasing security and augmenting renewable energy usage. To mitigate the effects of intense sun and heavy rainfall, the new Embassy integrates regionally available weather-resistant materials, an advanced stormwater management system, and photovoltaic arrays that will soon offset roughly eleven percent of the building’s annual energy use. The project is registered with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) — a global green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices — and is on track to achieve Silver certification.

The new Embassy also contains a permanent art collection, curated by the Office of Art in Embassies, that includes art in various media, including painting, photography, textiles, and sculpture by both U.S. and Sri Lankan artists. Highlights include site-specific commissions of Birds for Sri Lanka and a wall sculpture representing the atolls and coral life in the oceans. These works reflect an understanding of the diversity and richness of U.S. and Sri Lankan ecology and cultural heritage.

Ceylon Coffee- Will the New Hype Usurp the Good Old Ceylon Tea?

Sri Lankan plantations are planning to brand Ceylon coffee as a globally sought-after brand of coffee. The growing preference for coffee over tea renders an excellent opportunity for this venture. In the last decade, Sri Lankan coffee has shown remarkable growth in production volumes. Due to the industry’s expansion, exports of coffee brought in USD 0.32 million in 2019.

According to the Lanka Coffee Association (LCA), the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) entering this market segment are using this opportunity to be the key movers in this sector. The already established brand value of Ceylon Tea and the excellent terrain in Sri Lanka will surely benefit this endeavor.

More smallholder farmers are now progressing into coffee farming. In areas like Nuwara Eliya and Welimada, smallholders commonly cultivate coffee as a secondary tea crop. Plantation firms are highly considering growing coffee as an alternate crop as the output of tea declines. After being harvested, the coffee berries are transported to the factories for processing. However, this network also has certain drawbacks because the farmers care less about the quality and would pick the berry before the proper harvesting stage. However, RPCs can set stringent standards to mitigate this issue.

Currently, the two processing factories at Kotmale and Welimada are supported by the Market Development Facility (MDF), funded by the Australian Government. In favor of this venture, MDF recently pitched at an international coffee event in Australia and held the inaugural Sri Lankan coffee festival this year. They are now focusing on specialty coffee for export because of its growing popularity.

Several businesses are now growing coffee on at least 25 to 30 hectares. Growing coffee is an excellent option for using marginal lands unsuitable for tea. It is also less labor intensive than tea; coffee only requires less than 50 labor days, with picking carried out twice annually.

Ceylon Coffee will initially be launched on a smaller scale to test the waters. Ten companies have already diversified into coffee, dedicating about five percent (5%) of their total land cultivation. However, according to LCA, it is less likely that the popularity of Sri Lankan Tea will be replaced by Ceylon coffee.

SLF Int, USA Outstanding Performance By a Young Professional Award Winner Rukshan Henry De Silva for his excellence as a Principal Planner, Building Communities and the Environment.

Rukshan De Silva, The Waterloo alumnus, was named Australian Young Planner of the Year, recognising emerging leaders for outstanding contributions to their field. Among Rukshan’s many achievements, Planning Institute Australia lauded his commitment to innovation in the workplace, his collaboration with communities and government planners, and his volunteer contributions, including strategic land use planning in Peru and involvement with PIA’s National Settlement Strategy Team. 

Rukshan currently works as a principal planner at the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, where he’s leading the design of Australia’s most extensive ski town.

Rukshan has always been a community man — volunteering his time to give back to his community in any way he can — something that’s continued since his elementary school days. Growing up, he was also very creative and interested in design. Put design and community together, and that’s the sweet spot, so designing communities for a living was the perfect fit for him.

The University of Waterloo’s co-op program was a standout and a strong influencer on his decision to choose Waterloo. Of course, it helped that his elder brother was also studying at Waterloo at the time, but co-op was why he decided on Waterloo too.

He had four co-op terms and cherished each of them very much – a mix of public sector and private sector, and one that he went on to work at full-time as soon as he finished his degree at Waterloo. That said, my first co-op was particularly special – he interned at a design firm called Hassell in Sydney, Australia, which was an exciting overseas experience for a second-year planning student. He wrote all my final exams early, allowing him to spend a month travelling across the country and four months of exciting urban design work. He loved Sydney so much that I decided to move back in 2017. It’s been two years (and counting…), and he loves each day even more than the last.

Rukshan was fortunate to have had the exciting opportunity of volunteering as an urban planner in rural Peru on two missions over the past two years with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities through their Sustainable and Inclusive Communities in Latin America program. The program aimed to empower and strengthen the capacity of four rural regions of Peru and Colombia that were influenced by mining activity. While mining had resulted in much foreign investment in these areas over time, economic benefits were unevenly distributed, and communities near the mines experienced a range of social, environmental and political consequences. His role was to provide peer-to-peer technical assistance to municipal politicians and planners in these communities to assist with capacity building, knowledge sharing and experiential learning. The experience was nothing short of rewarding for him and something he will always cherish. 

He doesn’t think there’s a single answer to this question, and that’s because every community is different — they have different values, needs, and aspirations for how they want to grow in the future. So, as planners, we need to understand what makes each community unique instead of applying a cookie-cutter approach — the local character of a community and the story of its past are absolutely part of its future.

That said, planning provides people with choices — choices for where they live, work, play and shop; options for what types of homes they live in; choices for how they move. And by providing these choices as urban planners, we’re really in a position to impact people’s lives positively. We want the communities we plan to be livable, accessible and socially inclusive places for everyone, regardless of age or ability. We also want our communities to be healthy, environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change and economic downturns. And we want our communities to be adaptable to a future that we’re not always able to predict. 

But with that growth comes a demand for planners. It’s our job to manage that growth — not only how much we grow, but how we grow. We must consider how growth is sustainably distributed across our communities and how that growth is supported by investment in infrastructure, public transport, affordable housing, parklands, social infrastructure, and the like. We must ensure that our communities remain livable as they grow. I know I’m biased, but it’s an exciting future ahead of us, and planners are leading the way into a new frontier.

SLF Int, USA Exceptional Achievement Award Winner Prof. Sharika Thiranagama For her Excellence in Anthropology

Prof. Sharika Thiranagama is the Assistant Professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research and Visiting Assistant Professor of anthropology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on various aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Primarily, she has researched two ethnic groups: Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims. Her research explores changing forms of ethnicization, the effects of protracted civil war on ideas of home amid profound displacement and the transformations in and relationships between the political and the familial amid political repression and militarization.

Since 2014, Sharika Thiranagama has also carried out new work in Kerala, South India centering on Dalit agricultural communities in Kerala, South India. She examines how communist-led political mobilization transformed everyday and political mobilization and reconfigured older caste identities, re-entrenching caste inequities into new kinds of private neighborhood life.

Prof. Sharika Thiranagama, In My Mother’s House: Civil War in Sri Lanka, deals, in detail, with the contrasting meanings of ‘home’ among the Northern Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims. Thiranagama portrays the images of the Northern Tamils, who determine a person’s character by learning about their home.

They consider their relationship with the soil the most important of all. This aspect is well researched in the book, which contributes significantly to political anthropology and the ethnography of violence, particularly concerning the concepts of home and displacement. The author investigates a number of issues, prominently the effects of the protracted war on the meanings amidst profound displacement, transformations of familial and generational experiences and the impact of the political violence on civilians executed by both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan state.

In a wider context, the book focuses on the controversial and dramatic ending of the long civil war fought since 1983 between the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE and concluded in 2009 with the military defeat of the LTE. This conflict produced massive internal and external displacement of Tamils and Muslims from the north and the east. It also led to a significant number of academic studies on political violence, conflict, forced relocation, trauma, nationalism and ethnoreligious identity formation.

Prof. Thiranagamas book is a significant complement to these works as she deals with a completely new approach to the concept of home in Sri Lanka. Her main aim is to examine the position of the victims of the war and their historical and political trajectories’, which shape their ideas of home. She studies home as an everyday language of love, affection, sentiment and memory. To this reviewer, the most significant contribution of this book lies in elucidating the various ways in which the numerous internally displaced persons (IDPs) explore the meanings of home in times of crisis.

Prof.Thiranagama applies an innovative perspective on generations and generational divergences, focusing on the difference between young and old generations on experiences of war. The focus of this review is mainly on the two issues mentioned above.

Prof.Thiranagama also co-edited with Tobias Kelly the book, Traitors: Suspicion, Intimacy, and the Ethics of State-Building, first published on January 1st, 2009, by the University of Pennsylvania Press. The figure of the traitor plays an intriguing role in modern politics. Traitors are a source of transgression from within, creating their own kinds of aversion and suspicion. They destabilize the rigid moral binaries of victim and persecutor, friend and enemy. Recent history is stained by collaborators, informers, traitors, bloody purges and other acts of retribution against them. In the emergent nation-state of Bhutan, the spectre of the “antinational” traitor helped to transform the traditional view of loyalty based on social relations. In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers’ fear of traitors is tangled with the Tamil civilians’ fear of being betrayed by the Tigers as traitors.

Here are some of her recent publications.
*In 2019, “Rural Civilities: Caste, Gender and Public Life in Kerala. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies and “Respect Your Neighbor as Yourself: Neighborliness, Caste, and Community in South India” Comparative Studies for Society and History.

*In 2018, “Introduction: Whose Civility?” in Special Issue Civility: Global Perspectives, Anthropological Theory and “The Civility of Strangers? Caste, Ethnicity and Living Together in Postwar Jaffna, Sri Lanka” in Special Issue Civility: Global Perspectives, Anthropological Theory Volume.

*In 2014 “Making Tigers from Tamils: Sri Lankan Tamils and Long Distance Nationalism in Toronto, Canada” American Anthropologist and “Female Militancy: Reflections from Sri Lanka” in Routledge Handbook of Gender in South Asia, Leela Fernandes, London: Routledge.

Prof. Thiranagama received the following Honors & Awards:

*Grant for the project, The Local Level Social Life of Global Ideologies (Kerala), The National Science Foundation. Cultural Anthropology Program (2015-2017).

*Post PhD Research Grant, Wenner Gren Foundation (2015-2016). Received President American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (2017 – Present).

*Elected Director, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2013 – Present). Elected Director, Board of Directors, American Institute of Sri Lankan Studies (2010 – 2013).

US Ambassador to UN Food & agriculture agencies in Rome to visit SL

United States Permanent Representative to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome Ambassador Cindy McCain will visit Sri Lanka from September 25-28 to highlight U.S. food assistance programs in Sri Lanka and reinforce the U.S. commitment and lasting partnership with the island nation.

The US embassy in Colombo said that in addition to meeting with senior government officials and aid organizations in Colombo, Ambassador McCain will join U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung to travel to Central Province to visit schools, agricultural research facilities, and community organizations and meet with recipients and implementers of relief provided through U.S. government-funded humanitarian assistance programs.

The United States is the single largest country donor to the three United Nations food and agriculture agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the World Food Program (WFP).

U.S.-funded UN projects showcase how the U.S. government, the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies, and the government of Sri Lanka collaborate to reduce food insecurity and advance humanitarian relief, livelihood protection, and agriculture-led economic growth, especially at this critical time of increased global hunger.

The United States has provided partnership and assistance to the people and government of Sri Lanka for more than 70 years.

Since June, Ambassador Chung has overseen the announcement of nearly $240 million in new U.S. government assistance to Sri Lanka, including U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Samantha Power’s September 2022 announcements of an additional $40 million to provide Sri Lankan farmers with fertilizer and $20 million to meet immediate humanitarian needs in the country.


The V2U Community nonprofit organization was established in November 2021 in Toronto, Canada, by Thiwi Gama and Sanjeewa Pushpa Kumara in the USA. The organization’s vision is to rebuild Sri Lanka with “no boundaries or bias” while empowering Sri Lankans in the fight against hunger by promoting the cultivation of privately owned land for food production. The main objective of the V2U Community Organization is to educate Sri Lankans on food cultivation to create self-generating employment opportunities in agriculture and other related fields. 

Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA, donated to the V2U Organization to support a project in Morawaka, Matara district, to prepare land for raising crops to cultivate a field which Puwakbadaowita Saranda Thero spearheaded. 

The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA, Dr Walter Jayasinghe’s vision for this Project is a multi-faceted initiative to rebuild villages struggling educationally and economically. The ambition is a replicable model to create sustainable and holistic transformation through land cultivation. He believes a thriving economy is a system of production, distribution and consumption that efficiently uses all available resources to benefit all stakeholders of that economy. 

The V2U Community Organization has put in place monitoring efforts to ensure progress in a few months and better understand the occurrence, distribution and status of plant populations and there growth. Also, providing education to motivate farmers to become active players in agricultural production, processing and marketing will lead them to adopt environment-friendly farming practices. 

SLF has partnered with the V2U Community Organization to identify other locations to promote similar projects throughout Sri Lanka. 

This initiative is unique as, in addition to helping the farmers obtain a fair price for their products and creating employment for youth in the village (through processed food product manufacture and sales), we focus on: Helping the farmers improve through crop diversification through the introduction of better agricultural practices as well as,
*educating the children and youth, 
*mobilizing the community results in community development,
*creating a holistic transformation model. 

Click on the link below to know more details about the project: