“Elegant on the field and eloquent off the field,” said well-known philanthropist Kushil Gunasekara of Sri Lanka’s favourite son and legendary cricketer Kumar Sangakkara on 24 October. Gunasekara (Founder and Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness) was one of many to felicitate the sportsman and philanthropist at a fundraiser event at the Shangri-La Hotel organized by the Chamber of Commerce affiliate Council for Business with Britain (CBB). Kumar attended to encourage guests to donate to the Council’s long-running and successful English Language Teacher Training programme. He was also felicitated on his appointment as the first non-British President of the MCC, a role he assumed in October 2019.
Those that spoke at the event knew Mr Sangakkara well, and their words echoed the same fond sentiments. The cricketer is one of the most felicitated sportsmen in history, yet “you won’t spot a single trophy in his house,” said Mr Gunasekara in his speech. He praised Sangakkara as a “polished, graceful, elegant and prudent batsman in cricket,” but had more to say about his charitable spirit and contribution to improving livelihoods in Sri Lanka saying, “Kumar together with my fellow trustees plays an integral role in serving 28,000 annual beneficiaries in 400 villages through the Foundation of Goodness.”
On this day, Mr Sangakkara was positioning his full weight and confidence behind another worthy cause- the CBB’s long-running English Language Training Programme (ELT) run in conjunction with the British Council of Sri Lanka. The programme trains teachers around Sri Lanka to deliver high quality English language education to students in low-resource classrooms, with the primary goal of improving the English language skills of pupils in order to improve their chances of success in the future.
In his remarks, CBB President Mark Prothero said, “The English Language Training programme has been running since 2005, and we have reached over 300,000 students. We have also trained over 3000 teachers to teach English at a better standard, so children -when they graduate- can speak better English and write better quality English.” He thanked Mr Sangakkara for being modest and incredibly generous with his time, quipping “a great Sri Lankan is doing great things in Great Britain, and he deserves a great party!”
Mr Sangakkara was indeed generous with his time and enthusiasm for the cause, delivering a typically eloquent speech in which he noted that a life of service and giving is far more rewarding and encouraged everyone to be charitable. While enjoying the delicious cuisine laid out by Shangri-La, he chatted with guests and encouraged their generosity to the cause. With over 300 attendees, the sell-out event raised Rs 900,000 to be invested in the ELT Programme.
Mr Sangakkara was gifted with a replica of the famous MCC Bell at the Lords cricket ground by CBB President Mr Prothero and H.E. Sarah Hulton, the newly appointed British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
The Platinum sponsors for the CBB fundraiser, Land Rover Jaguar and Softlogic, were joined by event sponsors HSBC, Cinnamon Life, Finlays, International Distillers Ltd and Norfolk Foods. For more details on the English Language Training programme and CBB’s work, contact: Cherryl on Tel: + 94 11 5588859, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.