Spreading Knowledge via Light: Anduren Eliyata That Sydney-based Charitable Enterprise

Michael Roberts

ANDUREN ELIYATA was initiated as a charitable organisation by 71-year old Chandra Fernando in Sydney in 2014 with a focus on providing solar-powered units to needy families and schoolchildren in Sri Lanka. Its successful outreach has now prompted the organisers to consider similar endeavours in Fiji.

Though nurtured near Wattala on the western coast of Sri Lanka in the mid-20th century Chandra Fernando had to study “under a bottle lamp” till he reached the age of twenty and this experience has motivated his charitable outreach. In this endeavour his guiding organisational principles were ‘simple’: “We are all volunteers.  No office.  No clerks. No Rent. No allowances. No travel expenses nor hotel accommodation in Australia when travelling Interstate. This helps us to donate more Solar Powered Lighting Packages to the poor and needy students in Sri Lanka.” – as he noted in an email to me.

Recipients in Kilinochi   ….. in Iranateevu

He has now received inquiries from other countries, but “not supplied any to any other country other than samples.” He adds: “We may extend to Fiji, if our monetary situation improves, or if we get some donor for Fiji specifically.”

This enterprise has been assisted by his wife Marie and by several individuals: Sujeewa Liyanage, Sudath Almeida, Ananda Kotinkaduwa and his son Ranjan Fernando are the formal office-bearers, but here must be others.  Several Sri Lankan networks in Sydney have chipped in manfully –with the provision and sale of rice packets serving as one foundation for the monies collected. This is where the Sri Lankan networks in Sydney responded positively in many a way to foster the monies in the till.[1]

Somasundaram Skandakumar[2] encouraged this work when he was High Commissioner in Canberra and links with Kushil Gunasekera located one set of beneficiaries for this gifting. The discursive pattern of outreach and the character and location of the solar-unit deliveries can be gleaned from the ad hoc details sent by Chandra this week

A: We wish to re-iterate that there is no difference in Tamil, Sinhala or Burgher, requests. We go by the request.  Just like at the Blood Bank. They need the Blood.  It does not matter Tamil, Burgher, Sinhala or Muslim.  They go by the type A, B, O etc.

We go by the request. Any person in need. We even distributed to ex-convicts, resettled by the Govt Department.

My prayers are with you, and Grateful Thanks are with Him! May God Richly Bless You!

B:  50 Tamil Fishing Families in Iranimatha Deevu +25 by Foundation of Goodness: funded by them in Mullativu area. …. photos available

Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalayam through Royal College Past Teachers Association Colombo   (Ref.  Captain Nandisena Dharamaratne – I think President of the Asso.)

73 in Karthivu  All Tamil children and families ….. Goods awaiting transport to Karthivu in Amparai) …..  Their list in separate mail.

25 Mixed (Muslim Tamil and Sinhala families) in Seruwawila donated through Colonel YGPN Jayaratne Civil Defence

50 Mainly Tamil children and families through Lions Club, Peliyagoda – request came from Colonel YGPN Jayaratne Civil Defence.

These are from memory. I will forward some of these requests and photos.

C: Mail Exchanged with MDA Cooray, 30 August 2019

  • Chandra

Ampara list recomend by the Divisional secretary.AGA Please advise possible qty of Lights to Brian to send through Col. Jayaratne.

God Bless you !

Ajith Cooray

To MDA Cooray, 5 September 2019:  RE Karaitivu list  …. My Dear Ajith Malli

Next shipment is aleady in the Port of Hong Kong.  Should arrive by end of the month.  Then we can give Karthivu their lot.  But we need the Banner to say Campbelltown Sinhala Community are the main donors of this distribution.This banner is for both Karthivu lots. If it could be in Tamil, it would be great. I hope you would be able to negotiate and reduce payments as we have done this for over five years.



My Dear Ajith Malli

Next shipment is aleady in the Port of Hong Kong.  Should arrive by end of the month.  Then we can give Karthivu their lot.  But we need the Banner to say Campbelltown Sinhala Community are the main donors of this distribution.This banner is for both Karthivu lots. If it could be in Tamil, it would be great. I hope you would be able to negotiate and reduce payments as we have done this for over five years.



From: MDA COORAY <mdacooray@gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, 5 September 2019 4:29 PM
To: 6arivu@gmail.com; Chandra Fernando <chandrafdo1@gmail.com>
Cc: THILAK HERATH <thilakpg@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Name list in English Karaitivu –

Mr. Chandra

Ampara list for 35L (38) has been received for senior students. I will inform Col Jayaratne to arrange  transport to DS office  KARAITIEU.

I already informed to Dr. Thilak to carry 30 L to kandy temple.



On Thu, 5 Sep 2019, 11:12 Arivu Com, <6arivu@gmail.com> wrote:

Name list In English: Karaitivu DS Division

1.V. Theepan

2. K. Puspalatha

3. A. Kalarani

4. T. Rajani

5. R. Rajanija

6. K. Mahalingam

7. M. Mageswari

8. T. Muguntharaj

9. V. Manonmany

10. N. Rohini

11. K. Nallaratnam

12. V. Lokithakumar

13. P. Sanchala

14. K. Yogeswari

15. M. Selvarani

16. G. Kovisanthi

17. M. Kandeepan

18. S. Sivazhanamoorty

19. K. Chandradevi

20. Kanagarajan Divanuja

21. Karaiyan Kathan

22. S. Chandrakumar

23. K. Sanmuganathan Kannan

24. S. Kuvatharsan

25. A. Tinujan

26. S.Kanusdika

27. V. Tharanika

28. K. Anusiya

29. J. Mathusani

30. S. Sinthuja

31. M.Vellupillai

32. S. Kirusnapillai

33. K. Tharisanthini

34. A. Kalaichelvi

35. K. Piradeepa

36. V. Piremavathy

37. K. Nadesvari

38. P. Ganesan

Yours truly, Tharma

D: From the personal viewpoint of The Editor, Thuppahi, the crowning touch in the irrepressible Chandra’s communications was this: “Chandra – Lucky I married a Thuppahi 52 years back!!!”

So, behind every good man is a good woman. Take a bow Marie.

Tamil hh

22Tamil households

විදුලි නොමැති අය

AND the  most recent distribution of 30 Solar Powered Lighting Packages to Udagaldebokka a village off Hasalaka, Kandy District  on 21st September 2019 by Representatives of Anduren Eliyata Solar Powered Light Donation Program ……..

…….. AE – Kandy Photocard -Sep2019 (1)

**** ***


[1] See the article by Lawrence Machado: “Lighting up the lives of poor Sri Lankan one village at a time,” Island, 22 December 2018, which is reproduced also in Thuppahi’s first article on Anduren Eliyata, for further details…. https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2019/09/23/anduren-eliyata-in-sydney-its-energetic-distribution-of-solar-power-units-to-households-in-sri-lanka/#more-37581

[2] Skandakumar has also been the prime mover behind the charity ORU PAANAI  — see https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/oru-paanai-or-one-pot-reaches-out-to-sri-lanka-and-its-north/


Filed under centre-periphery relations, charitable outreach, cultural transmission, democratic measures, education, energy resources, historical interpretation, human rights, life stories, modernity & modernization, patriotism, rehabilitation, self-reflexivity, social justice, sri lankan society, Tamil civilians, transport and communications, unusual people, world events & processes

5 responses to “Spreading Knowledge via Light: Anduren Eliyata That Sydney-based Charitable Enterprise

  1. AN EMAIL COMMENT from S SKANDAKUMAR [now in Sri Lanka] … dated
    Sep 22, 2019, 3:23 PM (3 days ago) = “Chandra ‘ s unwavering committment deserves every support in this worthwhile cause.”

  2. EMAIL Note from CHANDRA Wickremasinghe, ex-NMahida, Pera Uni and CCS, 28 September 2019: “Thanks Mike. I think solar power is the most feasible solution. Solar is sadly opposed by certain vested interests in the CEB, for their own self serving ends!

  3. STOP PRESS NEWS, 11 October 2019:
    “News Flash: Anuradhapura – Thambuttegama Area Thalakolawewa Jaya Mawatha Primary School 42 children have passed Govt Scholarship Examination. (Very high record) Thanks to the dedication of Principal, Mr Saman Ekanayake, teachers who held free tuition classes till 9 pm, the hardworking children, and of course ANDUREN ELIYATA SOLAR POWERED LIGHT DONATION PROGRAM which donated lights for night classes.

    So happy to be able to play a very small part in this village development. Thank You for your support! ……… Blessings!

    Chandra Fernando, Public Officer,

  4. EMAIL MESSAGE from PROFESSOR GERALD PEIRIS in Kandy, 11 October 2019: ……
    Further good news: …
    One of the kids referred to has become the first in the all-island merit list, securing 99 out of 100 marks. This is given publicity in the Sunday issue of the island distributed today. It is quite amazing, given the extremely tight competition this scholarship exam involves. While being grateful to everyone who has helped, my own conviction is that such an examination should not be conducted at all for 10-11 year olds.

  5. Pingback: Passionate Praise of the Armed Forces Triumph in 2009 in New Zealand | Thuppahi's Blog

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