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August 30, 2007

“MIHI REKMA” – Environmental Unit of Sarvodaya



“MIHI REKMA” (Protecting Mother Earth) – Environmental Unit of Sarvodaya was ceremonially re-established at the Sarvodaya Head Quarters on 3rd August 2007 with the intention of re-commencing Sarvodaya Environmental Activities that are deeply rooted with spiritual values.

On this auspicious day, as the initial step, an ecological awareness programme was conducted for the full-time staff of Sarvodaya Headquarters. The destructive trends of the industrial growth society, the importance of reconnecting with the web of life and cultivation of ecological awareness through various activities that are rooted in spiritual values were discussed at the gathering.

Mrs. Udani Mendis, Deputy Executive Director (Technical Programmes) briefly explained the purpose of re-establishing the unit, its role and the present environmental activities undertaken by the movement.

Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Executive Director enlightened the participants on the importance of protecting environment for the survival of humanity.

Mrs. Kanchana Weerakoon, an environmentalist addressed the gathering on the responsibilities of the present generation to conserve natural resources for posterity.

Mr. Achala Navaratne, an Environmental Engineer also made a presentation and screened “An Inconvenient Truth” a film on “Global Warming”.

The main objective of the Environmental Unit is to create a shift in consciousness of people through various actions and activities which are rooted in spiritual values in order to build a life-sustaining, environmentally friendly society.

Initially such ecological awareness programmes will be conducted at Sarvodaya Head Quarters and will be progressively expanded to Sarvodaya District Centers and then to Sarvodaya Villages and other villages. So the following activity plan for the Head quaretres suggested by the project team.

Gathering and dissemination of information and knowledge on all environmental issues and application of best practices, Promoting Eco-village concept, Solid Waste Management, Home Gardening, Composting, Managing waste water systems, Environment friendly energy options, are few activities planned by the unit for the near future.

Networking with national/international resource persons and forming an advisory committee, creating a data base of resource persons who are willing to support on voluntary basis and obtaining paid services of environmentalists engaged in related activities will also be planned by the new unit.

Solid Waste Management Programme of Sarvodaya is now being implemented through 25 selected schools and five communities in five major towns of Western Province and this awareness programme will also be handled by the new unit.

Sarvodaya Damniyamgama Eco-village at Lagoswatte, a housing project for Tsunami victims will also come under Mihirekma unit from now onwards.

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement for the People in Need.