Avemarians to support auditorium project

Ave Maria Convent, Negombo, recently launched ‘One Breath…One Step…’ an ambitious project aimed at raising Rs. 30 million needed to build an auditorium, which would benefit not only Ave Marians, but schools without adequate facilities.
At the launch of the project on Feb. 10 at the convent premises, Rev. Sister Francine Muthugala, Principal of the AMC, said that it was a long felt need, which couldn’t be delayed further. The Rev. Sister urged past and present pupils alike to throw their weight behind the venture launched in 2009.

Chairman of the organising committee, Hiranth Fernando said that the committee expected the support of those involved in the inaugural project, which facilitated the building project. Fernando said that the 2009 project raised Rs. 18 million, at a time when the country was at war. Now with the dawn of peace and stability, the organising committee had set a higher target, while expressing confidence it could be achieved.
The fully-equipped auditorium with a seating capacity of 1,500 persons will cover an area of 65 perches. M/S Sanken Lanka Limited is in charge of the project.

With a view to attracting a bigger crowd, the organising committee has planned a two day fun filled events (Sept 17 and 18, 2011) at the convent premises. The programme will commence on Sept. 17 with Holy Mass at 7 a.m at the AMC followed by a three km walk around the Negombo town.
Fernando said that at the end of the walk, the crowd would gather at the school ground. On both days, DJs would provide music beginning at 11 a.m and musical shows start at 7 p.m. Among the bands and musicians scheduled to play are Nalin and Marians, Sunil Perera of the Gypsies, Doctor, Bathiya and Santush, Lahiru and Shehan. Fernando said that there would be a range of stalls and other activities. The event will conclude with raffle draw on Sept. 18.
Over 90,000 pupils had studied at AMC, founded by the Sisters of Good Shepherd 73 years ago. Rev. Sister Muthugala said that over 2,700 students studying at the convent currently and the past pupils should take the lead in the project.

Pancha Thurya by Jananath

Panch Thurya the sounds of drums and vocals by popular hewisi and geta bera drummer Jananath Warakagoda go on boards on February 26 2011, at Dharmaraja College auditorium.
This show is organised by Old Dharmaraja College Scout Association. Rivira is the Print Media sponsor for the show.


A ray of hope for a forgotten community

ADT empowers former Leprosy patients

World Leprosy Day which fell on January 30, last Sunday was celebrated world over.
Alliance Development Trust (ADT) of Sri Lanka has become a beacon of light to former leprosy patients who unfortunately are still a forgotten community in our ‘modern’ society.
“ADT visited the Hendala Leprosy Hospital in 2008 and altogether there were 50 patients. Although they are ‘forgotten’ by the society, we understood that they too were very much a part and parcel of our society. If they are given the right opportunity they too can work and contribute to the betterment of our country,” recollects ADT Project Officer.

“We conducted training for them through our Micro Finance Programme and made loan and material grants available to them. With that assistance beneficiaries thus 19 in Hendala, four in Batticaloa, and five in the Southern Province started small-scale enterprises. Altogether 35 beneficiaries have started small businesses in carpentry, bicycle/electrical appliances repairing, weaving table cloths/coir ropes, and manufacturing Vesak lanterns and envelopes,” he added cheerfully.
In 2009, ADT commenced a very innovative project under its livelihood arm by introducing goat-rearing to beneficiaries in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, and Hamabanthota.
“The society must know that they too can work. All this time the beneficiaries were mentally depressed as they didn’t have any mode of income and were depended on others”.
He cited a success story of Ananda Bandara whose fingers were deformed by leprosy but was still an able carpenter. Even with such deformities the intricate designs and carvings he could produce in furniture was amazing.

“The world must know that there are people like this. We hope to create awareness not only in the society but also among patients that they don’t need to hide their sickness but can be free from it for normal life after proper medical treatment,”
However stigmatizing of leprosy patients and discriminating them still happens in our society where some are still ‘afraid’ of buying goods manufactured by the beneficiaries, who have now been permanently cured from leprosy.

The Leprosy Hospital in Hendala, Wattala was set up in 1708 by the Dutch and the 302 year-old hospital itself is a historical site to see.
Medical Officer in Charge Dr Dharshan Mohotti, said that although the disease was eliminated in 1995, social stigma associated with it still remained in the minds of our citizens.
“Although leprosy was eliminated long ago, deformity rate is still high as patients do not seek medical assistance due to social stigma, which are known as ‘hidden cases’. Anyone with unaesthetic patches or feels no sensation or pain should consult a dermatologist and if found to be a leprosy patient can be fully cured,” Dr Mohotti added.


KOICA donates push-bikes

The Members of the Association of KOICA recently donated ten push-bikes to students at Gomarankadawala School in Trincomalee. The lack of transport is severely affects the school children. They have to walk miles and miles. The children who received the bikes would greatly benefited by it.
Students said they had to walk ten kilometres daily to reach the school and added that they would use the bikes to take their colleagues as well. The Korean Government Cooperation Agency has provided the necessary funds to purchase the bikes. AKOPE President Senaka Kumarasinghe along with the Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame, Saman Weerasinghe and Roshan Serasinghe are seen with the smiling student with their bikes.


Distinguished gathering of diplomats and business leaders in Paris

On the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence, a reception organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris was hosted by Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO and Madam Sanja Jayatilleka. A large and distinguished gathering of Ambassadors from the bilateral arena as well as Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates accredited to UNESCO and senior officials of the UNESCO Secretariat were present at the reception. Several prominent business leaders who engage very closely with Sri Lanka were also present.
Addressing the annual diplomatic reception Ambassador Jayatilleka said that Sri Lanka was proud that it had prevailed over the long standing challenge of armed secessionism that sought to dismember the country, but it was also mindful that the errors, gaps and contradiction of the past led to that thirty-year war. He said that Sri Lanka was in the complex and difficult transition from the termination of an armed threat and large scale violence, to a sustainable peace. Such a peace can only be built, as the wise saying goes, in the minds of men and women; and must be based on justice, equality and democracy. Ambassador Jayatilleka informed the gathering that on the very eve of this year’s Independence celebrations, the second round of discussions between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance, the most prominent of the parties representing the Tamil people of the former war zone, had been conducted, concluding with agreement on approximate dates for the third round. Thanking the international community for standing by Sri Lanka in its difficult struggle for the restoration of territorial integrity, Ambassador Jayatilleka said that his mandate both in France and with UNESCO was to broaden space and expand dialogue, discussion, contacts and interconnectivity.
Ambassadors of India, Cuba, Venezuela, Japan, Nepal, Philippines, Germany, the Vatican, Slovakia as well as Chargés d’affaires of several Embassies and Permanent Delegations including Pakistan, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cameroon, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, and Kuwait among others were present.


Wins Best Play at National Theatre Festival 2010

‘Colombo Colombo’ at Elphinstone on Feb 24

Indika Ferdinando’s ‘Colombo Colombo’ which received seven awards including Best Play of the Year at the National Theatre Festival 2010, will be staged on the February 24 at the Elphinstone Theatre in Maradana at 3.30 p.m. and 6.45 p.m.
Ferdinando won Best Playwright and Best Director, while Anasuya Subasinghe received the award for Best Performance - Female. The play also clinched Best Music Composition, Best Choreography and Best Stage Management.
‘Colombo Colombo’ was the representative of Sri Lanka at the South Asian Women’s Theatre Festival 2010 and the Kathmandu International Theatre Festival 2010.
This tragi-comic musical play is fast-paced, theatrical, and bursting with energy, and constantly attempts to tap into the imagination of the audience to create an exciting theatre experience. Tickets are available at Sarasavi Book shop Nugegoda, Sadeepa Book shop Borella, Elphinstone Theatre.


A Good Samaritan

Opening bank accounts for the children in low income families in Kottankumbura, Kirulapona area initiated by Sunanda Liyanapathirana, the founder of Sunanda Liyanapathirana Foundation was held recently.
Picture shows donor presents the donations to the needy children. Every three months donation would be credited to their accounts


‘Gabbara Minisa’ by Sriyantha

‘Gabbara Minisa’, the latest comic stage drama of well versed film, television and stage drama actor Sriyantha Mendis, had its ‘Muhurath’ recently. It will be staged island wide from March 30 onwards with a host of popular actors such as, Sriyantha Mendis, Kusum Renu, Sarath Kothalawela, Wasantha Vittachchi, Malkanthi Jayasinghe, Sujeewa Priyalal along with many more other artistes performing in it. Music creation by professional music director Anthony Surendra while popular Derana dream star Upeka Nirmani will brighten up the drama with her singing. “Gabbara Minisa” is an adoption of Ajith Mendis from the book by W. S. Wijesinghe. With the sizzling makeup of Wasantha Vittachchi, this drama will be presented and organised by Jude Srimal.



An exhibition of paintings by Ravindra Dissanayake
Venue: Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo 7
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekends)

February 25 - 28
An exhibition of paintings by Mahinda Sagara
Venue: Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo 7
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekends)


Clear Waters, a recital by Eshantha Peiris on piano and Celina Charlier on flute
Venue: Lionel Wendt Theatre, Colombo 7
Time: Call 2695794


February 22
An Evening of Jazz with Yolande Bavan and Dinul Wijeratna
Venue: Lionel Wendt Theatre, Colombo 7
Time: Call 2695794

Public talk

February 20
What Is The Nature Of Our Consciousness, organised by the Krishnamurti Centre, Sri Lanka
Venue: Public Library, Colombo 7
Time: 10:30 a.m.