Sarvodaya is a Sri Lankan organization developed around a set of coherent philosophical tenets drawn from Buddhism and Gandhian thought. It has been operational for almost 50 years. Today Sarvodaya is Sri Lanka’s largest and most broadly embedded people’s organization, with a network covering 15,000 villages, 345 divisional units, 34 district offices, 10 specialist Development Education Institutes; over 100,000 youth mobilized for peace building under Shantisena; the country’s largest micro-credit organization with a cumulative loan portfolio of over LKR one billion (Sarvodaya Economic Enterprise Development Services, or SEEDS); a major welfare service organization serving over 1000 orphaned and destitute children, underage mothers, and elders (Sarvodaya Suwa Setha); and 4,335 pre-schools serving over 98,000 children; among others.
It has been described as an international role model by international bodies. Its founder and charismatic leader, Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, whose visionary contributions have been recognized in multiple countries, continues to provide ideational leadership to the organization while its day-to-day operations are in the hands of a new generation that is receptive to modern forms of management that are compatible with the overall vision of this volunteer-based peoples’ organization.