The first Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly convened by the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement has been ceremonially held in the Sarvodaya Development Education Centre premises in Saturukondan, in the eastern district of Batticaloa. More than two thousand Deshodaya members representing Divisional and District Deshodaya Assemblies participated in the event for four days starting from 26th March, 2010.
The first Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly marked important milestone in the 52 years of Sarvodaya services to the nation. The primary objective of the National Deshodaya Assembly is to promote the participation and improve the engagement of the people in the decision making processes, both in the localities and in the national level. The Deshodaya members are the village and community leaders of the localities and they will represent their communities in Divisional, District and National Deshodaya Assemblies.
Prior to the Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly, in January 2010 almost 500 Deshodaya members who represent the all parts of Sri Lanka gathered in the same place for four days and enriched the objectives of the first Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly and its role and declaration with their views. The Deshodaya members from all the provinces of Sri Lanka including the north, south, east and west, representing all ethnic and religious groups shared their experiences of the Divisional and District Deshodaya Assemblies and contributed to the process. They also considered the trans-national concerns such as global warming and global climatic change and the role of Deshodaya members in preparing the communities to face such global challenges.
Parallel to the Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly, a huge door-to-door Shramadana (sharing the labour) Campaign was organized to clear the plastic and polythene waste accumulated in Saturukondan area. Saturukondan has been affected by the Sri Lankan conflict and war for three decades and this Shramadana Campaign opened up new space for ethnic harmony, integration and working together. This has been prime opportunity for the people from other districts to interact with the people of Saturukondan.
All Sarvodaya officials and employees from headquarters to districts offices participated in the event. Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne, the founder-president of Sarvodaya Movement, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, the General Secretary and Mr. Saman Algoda, the Executive Director also addressed the gathering. In future such Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assemblies will be held island wide and it is expected to train hundred thousand Deshodaya leaders to serve the nation.
During this event all the participants pledged themselves as members of the Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly and devoted themselves to achieve the objectives of the Sarvodaya National Deshodaya Assembly for the wellbeing of the all Sri Lankans.