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 Foundation Intl’ Recognizes Excellence Among the Sri Lankan Expatriates Around the World at its Prestigious Awards Show

The Sri Lanka Foundation (SLF) Awards Ceremony 2022 celebrated 25 exceptional Sri Lankans from over four continents. This one-of-a-kind event was streamed online live and hosted over 450 guests attending the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 13th, 2022.

For the Sri Lankan community worldwide, this event continues to be the most prestigious awards ceremony, which recognizes those in the Sri Lankan community whose work has had an essential impact on the lives of others.

In putting on the SLF Awards Ceremony, Sri Lanka Foundation hopes to show the community’s gratitude for the awardees’ creativity and outstanding achievements, increase awareness of their accomplishments, and, most importantly, inspire the younger generation to achieve excellence in their chosen fields. With this purpose at heart, it has been growing since its inception in 2003, boasting the most significant number of awardees celebrated, and with a tremendous demand for attendance that its live-streaming offer this year was essentially long overdue.

The opening remarks given by the SLF Chairman of the Board, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, and the President/CEO, Dr. Dishan Jayasinha, instilled in the audience their deep commitment to the event’s purpose and set the stage for the outstanding awardees, which were to follow.

While the event centered on the awardees, the entertainment was as sensational as ever. The event began with a spectacular traditional welcome dance featuring Umendra Kahandawarachchi, Nirosha Wijegunasekare, and Akila Palipana from the SLF Academy of Performing Arts. Then, the elegant fashion show (produced and choreographed by Achala Weerasinghe, SLF Director of Cultural Affairs) featured stunning outfits created by the famous Sri Lankan designers Shanith Fernando and Hiran Wijesekara and beauty pageant title holders from the USA.

The entertainment continued with a stand-out performance from Talin Silva, an opera performance by the world-renowned soprano singer Tharanga Goonetilleke, and fabulous music by Tony Samara.

Most importantly, the event celebrated the following awardees in seven distinct categories:

For a lifetime of outstanding excellence and recognition at an international level Prof. Nimal Rajapakse, Prof. Ajit Yoganathan, Prof. Asgerally Fazleabas, Prof. Patrick Mendis, Prof. Osmund Bopearachchi, Prof. Tissa Illangasekare, Dr. Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, Venerable Henepola Gunaratna, late Desmond De Silva, and late Donald Karunaratna received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Hasini Jayatilaka and Prof Sharika Thiranagama received the Exceptional Achievement Award for their exemplary achievements in their field.

For their outstanding performances, Amith Boteju, Talin Silva, Rukshan De Silva, and Hiruni Wijerathna received the Outstanding Performance by a Young Professional Award.

For their ongoing exceptional growth and achievements in their profession Dr. Sumudu Herath Mudiyanselage, Dr. Zainab Ifthikar, and Mathew Abeysinghe received the Rising Star Award.

For his excellence in community service and role model Ashley Ashan Palipana was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Junior Award.

The Srimerican of the Year Award was presented to Keith Ranga for his contribution to the betterment of the Sri Lankan community.

The President’s Award was presented to Priyalal Kurera for his exceptional philanthropic services to the Sri Lankan American community and his motherland, Sri Lanka.

The Outstanding Community Service Award was presented to Prof. Deepthi Jayasekare and Prof. Dushyantha Jayaweera for their life-saving support extended to our communities worldwide, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As you know, the winners were nominated by individuals just like you. You can visit our website for more information on how to nominate a well-deserved Sri Lankan expatriate who has made a difference to humanity.

SLF Int, USA President’s Award Winner 
Priyalal Kurera For his Excellence in Exceptional Philanthropic Services 
to the betterment of the Sri Lankan community

Emperor Marcus Azuelius of Rome honored his Greatest General of Rome, the “Spaniard” – Maximus Decimus Meridus with “Coat of Arms” for his great victories for Rome. Roman Gladiator Maximus was born on 4th August 152 AD. The name Maximus and “Coat of Arms” has been carried on continuously by his descendents after his death, for 256 generations. The present direct descendent Maximus Priyalal Kurera was also born on 4th August in Portuguese named Capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo in 1952. Maximus Priyalal always does the “Maximum” in whichever project he handles. Married to Lasanthi of the “Fernando” Brigade, He sired two great warriors Devinda and Thivantha who are doing great, in their respective field of professions. Maximus Priyalal and family conquered the American Spirit at the age of 28 when they set foot on this land of Opportunity in 1980. Priyalal, albeit did not lose the Sri Lankan “Touch” and “Sense” as he was, closely involved with all heritage “Islanders” and their activities like a duck to water. He obtained a degree from Cal poly Pomona and was an IRS agent for the next 30 years and started two Montessori schools with Lasanthi. He is blessed with 5 grandchildren.

The Sri Lankan Community in the early 90’s was yearning for cultural entertainment to be called their own. Priyalal with his close associates and cultural maestro Ananda Markalanda brought in the first batch of Lankan Singers and Dancers in collaboration with Sri Lanka America Association to plant the seed of Lankan culture in So Cal. Many moons after, Sri Lanka Foundation started its own “Sri Lanka Day” in bringing in beautiful Sri Lankan talent in So Cal to the fore. The Serendib style culture was showcased at real time with some outstanding Choreography as seen, in the domain of classical arts in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Foundation brainstormed and wanted a different dimension to the “Sri Lanka Day Pageant Parade” at the World Famous Rose Parade route in Pasadena with decorated floats depicting the culture of island paradise. The only gladiator, who could conquer the enormous task with pin point logistics, was none other than Maximus Priyalal Kurera. He marshaled his troops, visited Temples, motivated other organizations to give that spectacular value addition with some riot of color, decorative floats depicting the culture and the beauty of Sri Lanka to the great amazement of the spectators who’s spontaneous reaction was “Wow”.!

Another project which he gave his full commitment was to the “Ranaviru Housing for Soldiers” spearheaded by Dr Mohan Kumararatne. Priyalal was the Chief Tax Collector, meeting and convincing the community, to dig deep into their pockets in helping the deserved soldiers who were, at that time fighting for Lanka’s Sovereignty in the jungles of Wanni. A thumping US$ 256,000 was collected. The Housing Project was later opened in Anuradhapura. When it came to a stalwart of the Community in dire straits, suffering from Cancer and his family helplessly looking for some consolation, Maximus Priyalal took up the challenge and organized a fund raising dinner at his palatial home in Walnut and was instrumental, in handing over $25,000 collection to the then President of Thomian Alumni of Los Angeles, to be handed over to the recipient. Priyalal is a unique personality who always tries to help individuals in distress and is considered to be a true Son of Sri Lanka even living thousands of miles away from the Indian Ocean.

A Christian by birth, Priyalal Kurera was one of the leading donors in designing, obtaining all approvals from the city council, getting the license of a General Contractor, using his workforce in constructing the La Puente Buddhist temple. He is very much involved in Buddhists activities and is a friend of almost all the Venerable Buddhist priests of Southern California. His latest project is to get the “System Change” in the land of birth and lead a “Committee of Seven” in trying to bring some sanity to the highly corrupt political set up by bringing in educated and honest politicians to Sri Lankan Parliament. General Colin Powel once said quote “A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; It takes Sweat, Determination and Hard Work” unquote. It’s that Gladiator Maximus Priyalal Kurera who is rewarded with the “Presidential Award “from the prestigious Sri Lanka Foundation.

SLF Int, USA 2022 Rising Star Award Winner Dr Zainab Ifthikar For her Excellence in Philanthropic Endeavors anD Academic Achievement

Zainab Ifthikar is passionate about medicine, and through her ongoing efforts, she wants to serve many underprivileged communities across the world. Moving to Saudi Arabia (where Zainab was born), she and her family have not forgotten their Sri Lankan roots. They constantly support the country at any time of need, through their organization, the MEI Foundation. She was only 16 year’s old when she launched an awareness program on acute kidney diseases prevailing in the North Central Province of her native country, Sri Lanka.

Ifthikar fell in love with the magnificence of human biology. She says, “the adrenaline rush of understanding the mind-boggling intricacy of how we function is just inexplicable; like finally, everything made sense in the world.” She is also a people’s person, and enjoys interacting with others, expanding her network, and helping those around her. Hence, she wanted to choose a career that would both fuel her knowledge whilst also merging her people skills and interest in community service.

Even after joining medicine, she continued to be an active person by partaking in all college activities. This was possible because of her medical school- Alfaisal University, and its unique structure. They provide medical students with an unmatchable range of extracurricular activities through the Alfaisal Medical Student’s Association (MSA). Zainab has participated in several MSA activities over the years; most recently serving as the director of Med Times (2021-2022), the esteemed Alfaisal College of Medicine magazine, which is made from cover to cover by their medical students.

In 2015, Ifthikar published her first book about poverty, titled “Poverty Is Not Passivity,” intended to bring out the emotions that lie behind the turmoil of poverty. Her second book was published in 2019 titled “Panacea Is Possible” and was directed towards water contamination in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka.

She founded the MEI Foundation in 2016, an NGO based in Kandy, with the vision to motivate, encourage, and inspire individuals to join hands in uplifting the underprivileged. Ever since, she has been doing small projects solely supported by her parents, family, and friends. She wishes to continue doing her philanthropic endeavors alongside her profession. 
In July 2021, Ifthikar was selected as the winner of the “Women’s Achievement Award 2021” by McKinsey & Company (a world-renowned consulting firm based in the US and operates in over 65 countries). She was selected for the award based on her two published books as well as her community services through the NGO she founded in Sri Lanka.

Ifthikar was also one of the master of ceremonies for her medical school graduation, carrying forth the honor of representing the batch at the ceremony held at Alfaisal University College of Medicine, Riyadh in May 2022 under the distinguished patronage of HRH Prince Turky Alfaisal.

Zainab intends to pursue a a career in Internal Medicine, whilst continuing her passion for writing and community service.

Med Times at Alfaisal University is headed by a Sri Lanka intern – Colombo Times

Buddhist Ceremony conducted at the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy on Dr Walter Jayasinghe’s Birthday

On the occasion of the SriLanka Foundation International USA, Chairman of the Board, Dr. Walter Jayasinghe’s birthday on 17th of August 2022 Gilanpasa Pooja and Medicine Pooja were conducted according to ancient rituals with the participation of the Maha Sangha and 250 children at 7 pm at Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy.

In addition, nutritious food parcels were distributed to the children of Unuvinna primary school and medicinal plants were distributed to 300 farmers in the villages of Delthota area of ​​Kandy district initiated by the Vice President of the Sri Lanka Foundation, Mrs Aeshea Jayasinghe.

The Ceremony was organized by Udawaththe Wimala Buddhi, Thero, (MA,BA) Pandit, Director of the International Center, Kandy and Buddhist Studies, Hanthana.

About the “Philanthropist Dr Walter Jayasinghe” Read Below:

“If you mean philanthropy like giving money – it started only after I made money. If you mean helping humanity and doing things for man and living things – it was from birth,” he describes.

Crediting his father in leading by example, Dr. Jay describes even as a very young child, seeing his father offer free medical care to their community and understanding the importance of philanthropy in the form of time and willingness to help. Dr. Jay is also a proud Sri Lankan and avidly engaged philanthropist. He became a Founder of the first ever Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple in Hollywood, Los Angeles and has provided the means to restore and grow many temples and centers of Sri Lankan community throughout Los Angeles and elsewhere.

This led to Dr. Jay’s establishment of The Sri Lanka Foundation. The primary purpose of The Sri Lanka Foundation is to help rebuild the community and lives of Sri Lankans and inspire hope worldwide by promoting Sri Lankan culture and heritage. From this point, Dr. Jay also created the Sri Lanka Foundation Awards Ceremony, which is an event with the sole purpose of acknowledging and celebrating exceptional individuals in the Sri Lankan community worldwide.

Dr. Jay also founded a secondary non-profit organization – The Los Angeles Medical Center Foundation to provide healthcare services to the low income residents in and around Downtown Los Angeles. He operated a free clinic every Saturday for many years to the homeless population of Downtown Los Angeles, providing free outpatient medical services and medications to all patients.

Since his early years of success, his philanthropic sphere has only increased. Dr. Jay was awarded the “Philanthropist Award” by Sri Lanka Medical Association of North America, Western Region Inc. and now additionally helms the positions of Founder-President of the Institute of Buddha Dhamma Studies (A non-profit organization in the State of California) and Founder/Trustee of the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara of Pasadena and Sri Rathana Buddhist Center in Anaheim.

Described by many as a humanitarian, to the very breadth of its meaning, Dr. Jay only continues to discover and form alliance with new institutions, cultures and people across all walks of life.

Click on the link below to watch the video created by Venerable Udawatthe Wimalabuddhi Thero, BA.MA Pandit, Director of International Center for Buddhist Studies, Hanthana Kandy.

Click on the link to read more about Dr Walter Jayasinghe:

The City of Los Angeles, USA Celebrates the 3rd Annual Sri Lanka Day in Honor of Dr Walter Jayasinghe

On December 4th, 2019 history was created within the walls of the magnificent Los Angeles City council chambers on a rainy morning amidst a gathering of distinguished leaders, where a community came together to celebrate Dr. Walter Jayasinghe and his invaluable philanthropic services rendered to this beautiful city of Los Angeles and the Sri Lankan community declare Sri Lanka Day to be celebrated every year on August 17th.

Today, August 17th, 2022 around 11.00am, the Sri Lanka Foundation International, USA Chairman of the board, Dr Walter Jayasinghe, Vice President, Aeshea Jayasinghe and staff, and the City of Los Angeles celebrated the 3rd annual Sri Lanka Day, in honor of Sri Lankan culture and the remarkable contributions of Sri Lankan Americans in the City and beyond.

This year’s celebration was held outdoors and was marked by flags of USA, Sri Lanka, State of California and cultural exposition at the city of Los Angeles City Hall.

Click on the link below to watch the video of the Ceremony in 2019 when the City of Los Angeles declared to celebrate Sri Lanka Day on August 17th every year on Dr Walter Jayasinghe’s Birthday!!!

Her Excellency, Julie Chung, Met With Sri Lanka Foundation In Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Foundation International (SLF) USA is expanding by including new projects in Sri Lanka to serve the community!

Director of Cultural Affairs, Achala Weerasinghe represented SLF with its future projects to the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Her Excellency, Julie Chung in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Her Excellency said on Twitter:

“The American people are supporting SL in this time of need. Today I met @SlfNews, a California org raising funds to supply critical medical equipment to SL hospitals. This builds on previous donations of medical supplies, including items delivered to a Colombo hospital this week.”


Vote for Prof. Janaka Ruwanpura to win Top 25 Canadian Immigration Award

We are so proud to share that Sri Lankan Foundation’s Life Time Achievement Winner of 2016, Professor Janaka Ruwanpura, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (international) – equivalent to Pro-Chancellor of International and Research, has been nominated and selected as one of 75 finalists for this year’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards.

Canadian Immigrant magazine has opened the online voting portal and is inviting all to vote for your favorites among the shortlist of 75 finalists at:

Presented by Western Union, this coveted award recognizes and celebrates the untold stories of Canadian immigrants who have made a significant contribution to Canada, in a variety of professions and from coast to coast. The past winners have been examples of true nation builders, from entrepreneurs to artists, academics, community volunteers, sports heroes, philanthropists, inventors and visionaries, from across Canada. Their motivations, circumstances and timing for coming to Canada are as varied as their backgrounds. Nonetheless, each of the winners’ stories shares a common theme: rising to a challenge and using that opportunity to make Canada a better place for all.

The public can now vote for Prof. Ruwanpura online up to June 10, 2022.

Here are the instructions on how to vote:
2.Click the small box “Vote Now” below Janaka’s picture (to easily find his picture, hit CTRL+F on your keyboard and search for “Janaka”)
3. Scroll down to the bottom of the page
4. Enter the email address inside the grey box and click “VOTE NOW” (red button)
5. You will then receive a confirmation message indicating your vote has been submitted

About Prof Janaka Ruwanpura:

An outstanding educator, prolific scholar, impactful, award-winning academic leader and administrator, Janaka Ruwanpura, Ph.D., P.Eng, PQS, MRICS, FCSCE, NAC, is the vice-provost and associate vice-president research (international) and a tenured professor at the University of Calgary. Ruwanpura has been an influential educator and scholar in construction engineering and project management, and an innovator in global engagement. He has published over 180 referred technical papers, supervised 100+ graduate students, and produced 30+ best practices and tools, including commercialized products. He has been a prominent keynote speaker and panelist for both engineering and internationalization organizations around the world. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Ruwanpura holds degrees from the University of Moratuwa (Sri Lanka), Arizona State University and the University of Alberta.

Previously, Ruwanpura served as the Canada Research Chair in Project Management Systems, director of University of Calgary’s Centre for Project Management Excellence, and was the fourth Canadian inducted into the National Academy of Construction in the United States. He is a professional engineer and professional quantity surveyor in Canada. Ruwanpura has generously shared his expertise with numerous professional and community organizations. He served as the convener and co-leader for the International Institute for Infrastructure Resilience and Reconstruction, a 20+ multi-university global consortium. He was elected as the chair of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) Commission on International Initiatives (2019), the first Canadian to chair any commissions or councils of APLU. Ruwanpura is a board member of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and also volunteers his time with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta, the Immigrants Society of Calgary and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, among others.

Ruwanpura has won international, national, provincial and municipal awards for his academic accomplishments and leadership for teaching, research, innovation, service, leadership and internationalization. A few recent awards include the Distinguished Alumni Award (Arizona State University), City of Calgary’s International Achievement Award and CBIE’s Board of Directors Leadership Award for Internationalization.

LinkedIn Profile: University of Calgary Profile: provost-and-associate-vice-president-research-international

Breaking the Silence – Empowering our Women

On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, we had the privilege of meeting a team of women who have committed themselves to protecting and empowering women and girls victimized by sexual and gender-based violence in Sri Lanka. Women In Need –since its inception in 1988, has saved hundreds of thousands of women and girls from life-threatening abuse, mostly those faced with domestic violence.

Violence against women is a violation of human rights, which has stifled the development of women and girls in Sri Lanka.

Today, WIN as they are fondly called is a nationally recognized non-governmental organization located in 6 Districts, providing key crisis intervention support for women and girls through psychological counseling, legal advice, court representation, and emergency shelter facilities absolutely free of charge for some of the most vulnerable people of Sri Lanka. 

They have a professional team of dedicated psychological counselors, lawyers, and social workers working and engaging with multiple stakeholders and pushing boundaries to ensure the safety and security of women and girls victimized by sexual and gender-based violence, while also advocating for the recognition and exercise of their rights as human rights to prevent this grave violation of human rights.

From Left to Right: Shyama Perera (WIN Board Member), Diloka Kamalgoda (HR Manager WIN). Kavindi Wijesekera (WIN for Her Manager), Savithri Wijesekera (Executive Director WIN), Dishan Jayasinha M.D. (President SLF USA), Mrs. Zuigly Jayasinha (Creative Director DG Studio USA), Ms. Achala Weerasinghe (Director, SLF USA)

On our visit to WIN; SLF’s President Dishan Jayasinha M.D., Mrs. Zuigly Jayasinha, and Ms. Achala Weerasinghe – Director of Cultural Affairs; were able to hear real-life stories of survivors, and learn of the inequality and discrimination women from multiple ethnicities faced, given the many genders, social, cultural and religious norms which encouraged and reinforced patriarchy and violence against women in Sri Lanka. 

This grim reality for thousands of women in Sri Lanka is changing – with the support and leadership of Women In Need. They carry out multiple programs, focusing on a multi-pronged approach to address the issue of gender-based violence, ensuring principles of inclusivity, fairness, and non-discrimination, working with multiple ethnic communities and women from varied backgrounds; to better their lives, ending the traumatic emotional, physical and economic abuse they are forced to endure.

WIN also firmly believes that financial independence of women is essential to put an end to the cycle of violence. WINFORHER is a business with a cause – a social enterprise that empowers women survivors of violence through the production and sale of beautiful, hand-made recycled paper and products, giving survivors of violence new hope, confidence, and self-worth.

It was heartwarming to see the dedication of WIN’s team – taking up the many challenges they face as a non-governmental organization and non-profit organization in Sri Lanka, working day in and day out on a very challenging issue to create an inclusive society free of violence against women and girls where all have mutual respect for one another, creating a respectful society which will contribute to the development of our country and its values.

Sri Lanka Foundation proudly supports the WIN organization in Sri Lanka and we ask that you donate to this important cause that is changing the lives of embattled women and children in Sri Lanka.

Please visit our Causes page to learn more


Queen Elizabeth recognises Lankan charity founder with Commonwealth Points of Light award

Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has recognised Deborah Edirisinghe, representing Sri Lanka, as the 211th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service

Deborah Edirisinghe
supporting and caring for disadvantaged children.

Debbie, aged 38, is the founder of ‘Child Action Lanka’, a network of children’s shelters based in the city of Kandy which cares for over 1,500 children. Deborah leads a team of 110 volunteers to deliver a holistic approach to care which targets the underlying causes of inequality and provides development that is sustainable and community-based.

‘Child Action Lanka’ offers housing and food, schooling and education resources, as well as counselling to ensure lower school dropout rates.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognizing one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week.

Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why the Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.