Who we are
Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is Sri Lanka’s largest and most broadly embedded non-governmental community development organization. Its integrated and holistic approach to development based on people’s participation, self-reliance, and self-sustainability has reached over 15,000 underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka.
It has promoted spiritual and cultural development while building a successful rural economic empowerment programme based on microfinance and entrepreneurship development.
Nurtured by Buddhism, rich Asian philosophies, and value systems along with Gandhian morals, Sri Lanka’s Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement for the past six-decades has been a proven Eastern Development approach in addressing a plethora of development challenges faced by diverse communities in Sri Lanka.
Sarvodaya’s development ideal is a prime benchmark of an abundantly integrated development approach that flows through the ‘six-dimensions of awakening’ i.e., spiritual, moral, cultural, social, economic, and political expanse, an exemplary model that could be replicated elsewhere in the world in the realisation of integral-development solutions leading to the transformation of entire communities. Development is realised through a well-planned process that taps into the potential of individuals as well as inspiring communities to co-create development solutions to the unprecedented challenges faced by humanity and the planet, stimulating a community embedded approach in realising the rich wisdom and potential of people and communities.
Helped over 15,000+ Villages
Create a no poverty, no affluence, and a conflict-free society.
Uplift and empower the most disadvantaged people in Sri Lanka.
Total Awakening and Wellbeing of All (individuals, family, village, nation, and the world) on every plane (spiritual, moral, cultural, social, economic and political).
To build a just, sustainable, compassionate social order that fulfils the basic human needs of the community through individual and collective awakening. පුද්ගල සහ සාමූහික උදාවක් තුළින් ප්රජාවේ මූලික මානුෂික අවශ්යතා සපිරෙන, සාධාරණ, තිරසාර සහ දයාන්විත සමාජ ක්රමයක් ගොඩනැංවීම. தனிநபர் மற்றும் கூட்டு எழுச்சி மூலம் சமூகத்தின் அடிப்படை மனித தேவைகளை பூர்த்தி செய்யும் ஒரு நியாயமான, நிலையான மற்றும் கனிவுள்ள சமூக ஒழுங்கை உருவாக்குதல்.
Our Founder: Dr A.T. Ariyaratne
“In this voluble, diminutive dynamo I found a scholar-activist who took the social teachings of the Buddha seriously and dared to believe that they could inspire change in the modern world. He had banked his life on that conviction, drawing from ancient traditions to empower what he called “the poorest of the poor.” - Joanna Rogers Macy, PhD
Born 5 November, 1931, Dr. Ahangamage Tudor Ariyaratne is the founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka. A former high school teacher at Nalanda College, he conducted the first Shramadana work camp in 1958, which eventually led to the establishment of the largest people’s movement in the country. He is the father of six distinguished adult children and has led tens of thousands of “family gatherings” and meditations with millions of people throughout Sri Lanka and other parts of the world.
Doctor of Humanities (D.H.) degree, Emilio Aguinaldo College, Philippines
Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) degree, Sri Jayawardenapura University, Sri Lanka
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Economics, Sinhala and Education, Vidyodaya University, Sri Lanka
Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize, India, 1996
Hubert H. Humphrey Award, USA, 1996
IL-GA Memorial Award for Public Service, Korea, 1995
Niwano Peace Prize, Japan, 1992
Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Propagating Gandhian Values outside India, 1990
August Forel Award, Good Templar Movement for Promoting Temperance, Denmark, 1990
Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award, Brown University, USA, 1986
King Baudouin Award for International Development, Belgium, 1982
Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, Philippines, 1969
Honorary International Appointments
President of World Parliament of Religions, 1993
International President, World Conference on Religion and Peace, 1994
Member, Club of Budapest, Hungary
Fellow, World Academy of Arts and Science, Minnesota, USA
Advisor Interaction Council, Ex heads of states
Board of Director Peacemaker Circle International
Former Chair, Asian and Pacific Bureau of Adult Education
Former Chair, Approtech Asia, Philippines
Former Chair, Asian Institute of Rural Development, India
International Advisory Council, Auroville (India) 1999-present
Sri Lankan Awards
Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
Deshabandu Award for Distinguished National Service from the President, Sri Lanka
Vishwa Prasadini Award from the Prime Minister, Sri Lanka, 1996
Dr. A. T. Ariyaratne founded Sarvodaya in 1958, when he established the concept of Shramadana (The Sharing of one’s Time, Thoughts, Labour, and Energy), gathering volunteers to come together and build a road in an impoverished rural village of Sri Lanka.
Today, the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement (officially known as “Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya”) is Sri Lanka’s most broadly embedded community-based development organisation. Sarvodaya works with 25 District Centres and 5500 legally independent village societies attached to the District Centres across the country.
One can travel for days to the most remote mountain settlements and still find signs of Sarvodaya: a seamstress who got her start from a loan through her village bank; a healthy child who benefits from home visits by a young mother trained by Sarvodaya in early childhood development; a well tapped with a hand pump made through Sarvodaya efforts; or perhaps a handmade road that brings marginalised villages within physical and psychological reach of the outside world. It is in the building of such roads that the movement actualizes its most moving testimony of greatness.
The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka consists of the main incorporated body officially known as Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya (Inc.), a group of legally independent units catering to specific fields of development activities and the village level Sarvodaya Shramadana Societies (SSSs). In each SSS there are child members (aged 7-14), youth members (14-25), ordinary members (over 25 years), life members, and invited members (honorary members). From this is drawn an executive council of 25 members, 18 executive members (3 children, 3 youth, 3 mothers and 9 ordinary members) and 7 elders (selected from life and ordinary members). Sub-committees help to fulfil the needs of the village.