Ms. Anni Gsell, Managing Director of Na Tour (One of the Biggest tour operators) visited Sarvodaya last week. Na Tour is based in Switzerland and specializes in Aurvedic Resorts in Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives. She was one of the first to include Sarvodaya on her company web site requesting to make contributions directly to Sarvodaya’s massive Tsunami relief effort. She also brought significant amount of relief goods to Sarvodaya Suwasetha to be used among Children and also made a monitory contribution which was received personally by Dr. Ariyaratne on behalf of the movement.
Wonderful news–for Na Tour to offer its generous goodwill.
On the same day, about 7,600km away from Sri Lanka, the students who have participated in the International Internship Program (in Sri Lanka) at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Chuo University welcomed Sarvodaya’s Executive Director, Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, at their Tama Campus to give what little they have collected to give to Sri Lanka.
The 97,339yen which the students raised by holding a tea party on the 22nd was handed to Dr. Vinya. The tea party, called “The 1,900km/h Fundraising Cafe”, attracted a number of students, university staff and people living in the sorrunding communities.
It was a fruit of a number of meetings which the students organized as they heard about the Tsunami. The party featured a huge world map, collaged with various newspaper articles about the Tsunami, amount of aid from different agencies, etc. Of course they had a panel explaning about Sarvodaya and its relief efforts.
The International Internship Program aims at action-oriented learning, and we say “Learning in Action, Learning for Action”. The very spirit of the program is inspired by Sarvodaya’s first workcamp back in 1958. As one of the students handed over the fund to Dr. Vinya, she said “We had to do something for those who so warmly welcomed and helped us in Sri Lanka”–this is the heart of their learning. “People in Sri Lanka” is now not mere “subject” of their study, but rather, someone they care for.
Academic rigor is very much encouraged in higher learning institutions in Japan, but without such real, on-the-ground care and action, academic rigor will be useless. This is one of many important things the students learned from Sarvodaya.
There are some photos from Dr. Vinya’s lecture on that day. Please let us know if you would like have copies of those pictures.
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