Binara Dharmawardena

In recognition of establishing the first and only non-emergency ambulance program in Sri Lanka for terminally ill patients

We are awarding Binara Dharmawardana because of his charitable contributions to patients suffering from terminal illnesses. He founded and spearheads the Cyril Dharmawardana Foundation, which provides a vital ambulance service for patients in Sri Lanka.

Binara Dharmawardana was born in Sri Lanka, the only child of the renowned actor and public personality Cyril Dharmawardana and his mother, Swarnakanthi Rajapakse, an award-winning writer. He studied at St. Sebastian’s College in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, and completed his education in Melbourne, Australia. He holds an IT degree from Swinburne University and has worked at several multinational corporations, including General Electric and IBM.

When Binara’s father, Cyril, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, he was grateful to receive the best care in Australia. Having witnessed the disparity of medical facilities in Australia compared to Sri Lanka, Cyril imagined a service that gave dignity and comfort to terminally ill patients. Within a year of Cyril’s passing in November 2013, his vision became a reality.

Binara created the Cyril Dharmawardana Foundation (CDF) to honor his father’s legacy. The CDF is an Australian-based non-profit charity organization, founded in Sri Lanka with a primary focus on assisting terminally ill patients with transportation requirements between the hospital and their home during treatment. He created Sri Lanka’s first and only non-emergency ambulance platform, which may be the only state-of-the-art ambulance service dedicated to cancer in the developing world.

Thanks to Binara, Sri Lankans suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses, can have access to medical transport for much-needed treatments. The relief this provides to patients and their families is immeasurable. His organization provides and maintains a fleet of ambulances that offers medical transportation, free of charge, regardless of distance and time. The CDF operates in the Southern and Northern Central regions of Sri Lanka and in the primary cancer hospital in the Western Province of Colombo. With ongoing donor support, the CDF plans to implement and extend its services to other cancer hospitals. The CDF also contributes to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center in Australia to help find a cure for cancer.

Binara works closely with medical professionals, hospitals, and administrators to serve the island’s grassroots, all while confronting rising fuel costs, increasing wages, maintenance of the CDF fleet, and other challenges, even during the recent pandemic.

In addition to his work with the CDF, Binara hosts exceptional fundraising events across the United States to raise funds from expatriate communities and he actively promotes Sri Lankan tourism and other industries to create and sustain employment for Sri Lankans.

The Sri Lanka Foundation thanks Binara Dharmawardana for leading the Cyril Dharmawardana Foundation. He has certainly brought his father’s dreams to life by providing relief to Sri Lankans in need. It’s hard to imagine a more practical application of his father’s legacy.