Marking another far-reaching milestone in the company’s ongoing quest to enrich our country and its people, Tokyo Cement Group recently joined hands with The Foundation of Goodness to establish The A.Y.S. Gnanam Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre in Dambulla. The facility, which became the 12th Village Heartbeat project of the Foundation of Goodness, was declared open by Dr. Harsha Cabral PC – Chairman, together with Mr. S.R. Gnanam – Managing Director of the Tokyo Cement Group and Mr. Kushil Gunasekera, Founder/Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness. Three main Distributors of Tokyo Cement Group in the region, Mr. Dharmasiri Rajapaksha, Proprietor – Kandegedera Hardware, Wilgamuwa, Mr. Wijesiri Perera, Proprietor – Perera Distributors, Dambulla and Mr. W.S. Fernando, Proprietor – Sampath Traders, Bakamuna were among the distinguished guests at the event.
The A.Y.S. Gnanam Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre situated in Sisirawatte, Dambulla, will provide free educational support on subjects such as, Science, Mathematics, IT, English, Tamil, and Traditional Dancing, for Primary to Grade 5 students from low-income families. In addition to educational support for school children, other programs carried out at the Centre will include life skills & values, vocational training, and sports, to empower the youth in the area for better employment opportunities. As it progresses, the Centre will offer training programs on widely sought-after vocational courses for youth, such as hospitality, agriculture, bakery, electrical wiring, CCTV installation, and mobile repairing. Women empowerment is a key focus of the Village Heartbeat concept, and as such the Centre also conducts professional courses on dressmaking, cookery, and beauty culture.
At the inauguration event, Dr. Harsha Cabral PC, Chairman of the Tokyo Cement Group said that this Centre promises to be a fitting tribute to Late Mr. Gnanam, who had selflessly initiated many charitable causes, that continue to open many doors even today for thousands of people, to realise their dreams. He stated that the beneficiaries of the institute should take pride in acquiring valuable skills that are in high demand and make use of this opportunity to make a positive contribution to the society.
The A.Y.S. Gnanam Centre in Dambulla is a fully equipped training facility built by the Tokyo Cement Group in memory of its Founder Chairman and pioneering self-made industrialist, late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam. By upgrading the facility, in partnership with the Foundation of Goodness to conduct multiple empowerment programs for deserving rural communities, help keep the legacy of late A.Y.S. Gnanam alive and meaningful.
The A.Y.S. Gnanam Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre addresses much-needed social upliftment requirements of the rural communities in Dambulla – Kandalama areas. People living in the remote villages of Rathmalgahaela, Athuparayaya, Pahalawewa, Yakuragala North, Yakuragala South, Wilhatha and Kandalama Grama Niladhari Divisions will benefit from the initiative. Over 750 families, who’s main livelihood is farming and agriculture related industries, can now utilize the facility to improve their learning opportunities and expand the horizons of their children. So far, more than 800 beneficiaries from various age categories are participating in the multiple skills development courses at the Centre, which stands proof of the value it creates for the people over time.
The visionary behind the Village Heartbeat Empowerment (VHE) concept, Mr. Kushil Gunasekera, Founder/Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness, speaking at the opening reiterated the importance of creating holistic individuals who are not only educated, but more importantly, kind and compassionate. He further requested all beneficiaries of the 12th VHE Centre in Dambulla to pay forward the kindness they receive in the form of better opportunities, to other, even lesser fortunate individuals in their respective communities, with the aim of uplifting the lives of everyone and ultimately our nation.
The Village Heartbeat Centres empower disadvantaged rural communities, by offering free training courses aimed at improving the standard of living. It is a unique holistic rural development concept to eradicate poverty by bridging the urban-rural divide, using skills development and training as the means to enhance knowledge and attitudes of youth and communities who otherwise do not have access to the required resources. The Foundation of Goodness currently reaches out and touches the lives of over 35,000 beneficiaries annually, from over 500 villages island-wide, through its 10 empowerment divisions conducted free of cost via its Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centres and the Project Headquarters; which is also its flagship venue, the OYOB Centre of Excellence and Sports Academy in Seenigama.
Tokyo Cement Group has successfully integrated social welfare and environmental conservation into its corporate DNA, and this latest initiative is one great example of their commitment to social responsibility. What fuels the company to take this path, is the very life of late Deshamanya A.Y.S. Gnanam, whose many business achievements are outshined by his kindness and generosity. The late A.Y.S. Gnanam’s legacy as a compassionate leader and the values he embodied continue to be the driving forces behind the Tokyo Cement Group.