From the beginning, LIRNEasia was seen as serving/working with three constituencies: government, the private sector and civil society. Accordingly, the initial board of directors included representatives from all three groups. Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, the Executive Director of Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest and most deeply embedded social action organization, has served on the Board from the beginning.
With the tsunami and the unprecedented challenges it posed to all organizations in Sri Lanka, the relationship deepened. LIRNEasia‘s Executive Director was invited to serve on the Deshodaya Council (National Reawakening Council) of Sarvodaya, a new body akin to a board of directors in many respects and also to advise the organization on ICT issues. Sarvodaya has played an important role in all the disaster communication projects that LIRNEasia undertook in the aftermath of the tsunami and we are currently developing a large project to help make the 226 tsunami-affected Sarvodaya villages disaster resilient.
The multi-faceted and productive cooperation that has developed between the two organizations is a source of joy to LIRNEasia.The picture below symbolizes the relationship. On the left in white is Dr A.T. Ariyaratne, the visionary founder of Sarvodaya; on the right is the Executive Director of LIRNEasia, with his daughter Subhanu. The picture was of a chance encounter with the great man after some discussions related to the disaster-resilient villages proposal.