Sri Lankan Army’s Alms as Arms across the Ethnic Divide

Retd Brigadier Hiran Halangode** has told me about a schoolmate from Ananda College, one Kumar Weerasuriya, who has donated over 15 houses with funds from friends and labour from the Army in Jaffna. He indicates that Weerasuriya is “a true son of Sri Lanka who gives back to all Sri Lankans with all his mite. You may be able to share his story in Australia and globally.”











Halangode has also sent the three images presented here of houses donated by 3 different individuals to the homeless in Jaffna. Their stories can be extracted from this website, which is the Jaffna Security Forces website on Civil Affairs. [













These tales are witness to a whole series of philanthropic activity reaching across the ethnic divide from 2009 onwards — from the cancer hospital funded by Sarinda Unamboowe and mates, the work pursued by Kushil Gunasekera’s FOG, that of Mahela Jayewardene, etc etc. These efforts are as significant as the recent headline-generating act featuring the Army Commander (see below); but 963 houses are not to be waved way.

General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army during a visit to the SFHQ-J on Wednesday (3) was invited by the 51 Division HQ to symbolically warm an Army-built new house to a widowed family in Uduvil, Jaffna. The project, sponsored by the Church of the American Ceylon Mission in Jaffna, was made a reality by the Ninth Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) Regiment troops who volunteered with their manpower, technical and engineering expertise.

General Shavendra Silva, the Chief Guest, –symbolically unveiled a plaque and handed over the keys to the beneficiary, Mahendrarasa Amirthamalar, a mother of two children of 32 and 20 years who has had no proper shelter for living since her husband died of cancer about five years ago. The three-member family who lead a hand to mouth life was almost rendered homeless[ till] the ground realities were brought to the attention of the 51 Division HQ some time ago.










The Army’s SFHQ-J to this date has erected 755 new houses in the peninsula after 2010 through their manpower and technical expertise. Sponsorships provided by the Government, Housing Authority, civil organisations, donors and Sri Lankan expatriates have enabled the Jaffna troops to build a record 556 such houses for needy families in the peninsula in the past. Army troops, using their [own]  funds, have so far erected 198 new houses for deserving families in the peninsula. Six more new houses are still under construction in Karainagar, Puttur East, Chandrapuram, Sanguveli and Wattirayan, including the new house, to be built for [an] ex-combatant in Chunnakam.

Major General Jagath Kodituwakku, Commander, Security Forces – Jaffna, Major General Chandana Wickramasinghe, General Officer Commanding, 51 Division and other Senior Officers were present.

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