ANDUREN ELIYATA first came to my attention when it was the beneficiary of the AUSTRALIA SRI LANKA ASSOCIATION of ADELAIDE’s charitable hand in 2019 after a successful evening of dancing and joli-kireema. It is based in Sydney and has been operational since 2014 and focuses on the donation of solar-powered units to outlying and needy households in Sri Lanka via a circuit of schools, religious dignitaries and do-gooders. Its principal hands and aides receive no payment.
A glimpse of the variety of locations and personnel benefiting from these donations can be a garnered at their web site viz http://andureneliyata.com.au/ augmented here by
A = some illustrative pictures
B = a flier from Chandra Fernando describing their scope and displaying pictures of distributions carried out in 2017 at Padiyatalawa in the Mahiyangana area where sedentary Vädda villagers were among the beneficiaries. However, recipients are not confined to outlying boondocks as scenes from Kolonnawa, Dehiowita and Kilinochchi cropped up in their illustrative propaganda.
C = Lawrence Machado’s article in 2017 – which is appended in full below.
One purpose in this programme is to assist the household economy of poorer families who rely on kerosene oil and, in the process, to reduce the incidence of house fires associated with kerosene-lamp accidents. There probably are other organisations engaged in the same type of programme, but every little helps. Clearly, the diffusion of the country’s electrical grid will obviate the need for such devices. There is an opening here for grounded studies of practices in this critical field: what proportion of households depend on sources other than electricity for their work and study at night? What is the distributive pattern in this important arena?
ANDUREN ELIYATA: BROCHURE presented in 2017/18
|ANDUREN ELIYATA – DARKNESS TO LIGHT INC.
SOLAR POWERED LIGHT DONATION PROGRAM CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION: INC1400698
CHARITABLE FUNDRAISING NO: CFN/23278 EMAIL: Chandrafdo1@gmail.com
අඳුරෙන් එලියට සුර්ය බල විදුලි කට්ටල පරිත්යාග වියාප්තිය
ඔබගේ නොමසුරු සහයෝගය සහ පරිත්යාග තුලින් පසුගිය මාස 44 ඇතුළත සුර්ය බල කට්ටල 800 කට අදික ප්රමාණයක් ශ්රී ලංකාවේ විවිධ ප්රදේශයන්හි විදුලිය නොමෙති ශිෂ්ය ශිෂ්යාවන් වෙත බෙදා හෙරීමට හෙකිවූ බව ස්ත්තුති පුර්වකව දන්වා සිටුමු.
112 SOLAR POWERED LIGHTING PACKAGES WERE DISTRIBUTED IN 26 GRAMA SEWA DIVISIONS AT MAHIYANGANA & PADIYATALAWA (2ND OCCASION)………….. AADIVAASI CHIEF VANNIYALA ETHTHO
WE WISH EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY, PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS SINHALA & TAMIL NEW YEAR!
THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN AT THE LAST DISTRIBUTION OF SOLAR POWERED LIGHTING PACKAGES FOR THE YEAR 2017, ON 26TH & 27TH DECEMBER AT PADIYATALAWA (SECOND ROUND), AND GRAMA SEWA DIVISIONS OF MAHIYANGANA, IN THE PRESENCE OF VANNIYALA ETHTHO (AADIVAASI CHIEF), AGA (MAHIYANGANA), ASST DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION FOR MAHA OYA, MR JAYAMUNI AND GRAMA SEWA NILADARIS.
THE FUNDS FOR THESE DISTRIBUTIONS WERE RAISED BY SUJEEWA LIYANAGE OF THE CAMPBELLTOWN SRI LANKAN COMMUNITY & THEIR FRIENDS. MRS THARISHI GUNASINGHE’S CONTRIBUTION TO THIS PROJECT BY SUPPLYING RICE PARCELS AT COST, BUT WITHOUT SACRIFICING THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY, HAS TO BE PRAISED UNRESERVEDLY & WITH GRATEFUL THANKS.
WE WERE ABLE TO DONATE 800TH SOLAR POWERED LIGHTING PACKAGE WITHIN 44 MONTHS, THANKS TO THE CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MELBOURNE, NSW, QUEENSLAND AND WESTERN AUSTRALIA. ALL CREDITS AND MERITS ARE DUE TO ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORTED US WITH DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS AND THROUGH COLLECTIONS OF TILLS.
DURING THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2017/18, WE AIM TO ACHIEVE the 1000TH DONATION WITH YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT.
Your donations could be deposited at the COMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA
A/C NAME: ANDUREN ELIYATA
BSB NO: 062 185 ……….ACCOUNT NO: 1073 9835
PUBLIC OFFICER: CHANDRA FERNANDO TEL 02 9605 5986
SUDATH ALMEIDA: 03 9799 1837 MOB. 0409 535 25
SUJEEWA LIYANAGE: 0402 517 626
ANANDA KOTINKADUWA: 02 9605 2358
RANJAN FERNANDO: 02 8824 9921
OUR GRATEFUL THANKS & BLESSINGS … …. ….. CHANDRA FERNANDO …… PUBLIC OFFICER
Lawrence Machado: “Lighting up the lives of poor Sri Lankan one village at a time,” Island, 22 December 2018
A tiny spark of light which began four years ago after a Sydney-based Sri Lankan couple read the inspiring story of a girl in a remote village in Sri Lanka doing well in her GCE without the benefit of lighting is now an ever growing brightness for the poor. The Anduren Eliya – Darkness to Light – solar powered light donation program is one of the most successful solar projects done in Sri Lanka, without fanfare and by selfless volunteers led by Chandra Fernando, his wife Marie, family, friends and the community. Each solar package – manufactured in China –includes two lights, a solar panel, storage batteries and cables.
The solar power project has special meaning for Mr Fernando. “The solar program was started in May 2014, after we read an article about a student from Uva Province passing her high school examination with the highest marks,” Mr. Fernando said. “We were impressed that she had been studying under a bottle lamp. As a person who did not have electricity in my home, till I was 20 years, and used to studying under the bottle lamp, my dear wife Marie and I wanted to do something.”
Within a few years, the group has handed over its 1000th solar package to a Vedha village where the chief Uruwarige Vanniyala Eththo received them gratefully. The organisation also donated solar packages to the Aadivaasi Veddah Community in Dambana. They, along with their local church community, also provided help for flood victims in Sri Lanka when contacted by a priest in one of the hardest hit areas.
Hundreds of poor villagers are now able to have basic lighting, transforming their lives and also providing a safe environment because of the accidents associated with kerosene oil lamps. “We provide reading light to the poor children and families in Sri Lanka ‘difficult areas’,” Mr Fernando said.
According to the statistics in India and Sri Lanka, in Sri Lanka annually three to four children die of kerosene oil accidents or house fires.
“Our solar powered lighting packages, which are given free of charge to families, do not require them to buy kerosene all the time. Our lights give a bright clean light. There are no hydro-carbon fumes from lamps, they are environmentally-friendly and safe.
“Some families cannot afford to buy food at least twice a day. This is a relief for them. At the last distribution in Thalakolawewa (they handed over 56 packages) a mother had been crying when she told us that her son studied under this light for his scholarship exam, and that merits should go not only to the organisers, but all who are connected to the program.”
Mr Fernando, 76, said they have helped villages including those in Mahiyanagana, Padiyatalawa and Maha Oya area and Aadivaasi Veddah village. “When we offered a light to Veddah chief he declined. But at the last distribution he had requested two packages, one for his son and one for himself. So we imported two packages with four lights and donated them.”
The Fernandos and their group do regular fundraising and I got to know about their charity when my wife and I ordered rice parcels during one of their fundraisers.
His son Ranjan told me about the amazing work they have done and all credit to his dad who has been working tirelessly behind the scenes. “Last month NSW Sri Lanka Community had a rice parcel sale to raise funds for this project,” Chandra Fernando said. “We wanted to sell 500 parcels but ended selling over 800. Everybody who heard about this project wanted to contribute. By the time money came, we had already ordered solar packages from China. “
Residents ordered the rice packets from all around Sydney as word got around via social media, phone calls, texts and person to person. The selling of rice parcels is a popular way of fundraising and other Sri Lankan organisations in Australia have also resorted to this when looking for financial help for their projects.
“Rice distribution took place in Greater Sydney areas and goods were delivered from Penrith to Wahroonga, Hills District, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Blacktown etc.,” Mr Fernando said. “All distributions to doorstep were done by volunteers (mostly Sri Lanka community of Campbelltown area). Their time, petrol, vehicles etc. etc while sacrificing family outings, taking children to Sunday school etc helped us.”
He emphasised that they do not take any free parcels but pay out of their own pockets. “We are doing this for the poor and (and if we can send one extra package), we do,” said Mr Fernando, who has spent thousands of dollars to co-ordinate, host people, and travel. “This money is not included in the Charity Accounts. The Pahana Newspaper advertises free of charge, three radio Stations and Channel 31 Melbourne promote our events free of charge. What we get from all this is satisfaction that we are able to do something for the needy in our own mother country.”
The Sinhala Schools association, in Greater Sydney, which recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary, included a colour page advertisement for Anduren Eliya in their souvenir free of charge. “Our project is a God-inspired one. He from time to time, either sends someone, or funds or an inspiration.
“Thank God!! At the age of 71 years, after reading about a girl who passed HSC with highest results from UVA Province, in the Sunday Paper, my wife and I started it. First we gave coin collecting tills to friends and relations. That year when Schoenstatt Sisters had their centenary celebrations they sent a message asking me to have a food stall and take all the money for the project.
“We sent 51 Units to Galgamuwagama Primary School, and thank God, we are receiving lot of support from the Sri Lankan Community. We are ACNC Registered and approved by ATO – Deductible Gift Recipient. We can issue tax deductible receipts for donations received.”
However, the organisation pays a lot for custom duties and charges in Sri Lanka, which is something the Sri Lankan government should waive off.
Mr Kushil Gunasekara from Foundation for Goodness has praised this work saying in a letter to Mr Fernando: “Chandra, that is an incredible achievement especially to dispel darkness and illuminate their lives which I reiterate as most meritorious and extremely noble. “It brings fond memories to rejoice on the same lines how we have also been able to construct the milestone of 1000 houses post-tsunami. Like-minded groups can never stay apart. Whatever we do for us dies alone with us and whatever we do for others remains immortal.”
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