The Na Sevana Community Development project was commenced in the year 2010 under the patronage of the Gangaramaya Temple and Namal Rajapaksa, MP. The village of Meegahajandura was selected as the community to benefit.
This community used to suffer greatly from droughts in the greater part of the year as well as from infectious diseases, lack of roads and lack of facilities. Though infrastructure development had taken place (including highways, a harbour, an international airport and an international stadium) in the area, the community lacked the required skills to benefit from he facilities.
Consequently the aim of the Na Sevana project was to provide a structured and methodical path to build whole and self-sufficient individuals. While a landmass of 72 acres was bestowed by the Government, monetary funds have been entirely provided by private sector donations and members of the business communities who have maintained close ties with the Temple.
DIMO, for example, stepped in to establish a Driver Training Centre. Fonterra contributed a model dairy farm while Ceylon Tobacco Company maintains a model farm growing vegetables, fruits and long-term crops as organically as possible.
Tree farms designed complete with deep irrigation lines grow both sandalwood and teak and are maintained by Sadaharitha.
Across 38 acres of land is the garden of medicinal herbs or the ‘Osu Uyana’ brought to life through the contribution of a temple’s devotee Ursula Bayer. At present 1,300 jasmine plants are grown and numerous varieties of plants with medicinal properties.
Also the Na Sevana project finds multiple mediums to pave the way for skills development and job opportunities for the community. For instance virtual classroom learning through the mLearning centre is a means for students to attend lectures conducted in Colombo or overseas. Housewives would be able to receive training in handicrafts geared towards self-employment in developing cottage industries such as weaving laces, from reeds such as pan and indikola and cane weaving.
With the many developments emerging in the region, particularly in the tourism industry, Na Sevana has conceptualised chalets within its premises. They would serve to provide hands-on training in the hospitality trade, nurturing related skills such as housekeeping. Individuals whose education has been disrupted may find a new lease of life as trained personnel to work in upcoming hotels in the region.