CHAMINDA PRADEEP KUMARA

“We should enrich every second of our life with good thoughts and deeds. We need to lead productive lives by doing something useful for the world we live in.”

Chaminda was driven by one simple goal. He envisioned better days for the people of his remote village, located off Chilaw, who were engulfed in hardship for years, suffering in silence. His single-minded determination to emancipate the people from their plight saw him battle countless forces to uplift the village to the status it enjoys today.

“Volunteering was always in my blood. I started volunteering as a child in the village.  As I grew older, I understood the issues that our village faced, and I knew I had to do something. One such issue was the lack of basic citizen services and access to key government officials. So, I decided to build a complex that housed all these government services, including the Grama Niladari, the Samurdhi officer and the family health practitioner under one roof, making it easily accessible to the villagers.”

Apart from this, Chaminda had engaged in several other voluntary work, including building a day and night handball court, providing drinking water facilities for 300 families, building toilets, rehabilitating an irrigation tank, creating an Ayurveda clinic, establishing a sports society for the youth and creating an open-air library. He also successfully, launched the Nenasa Development Foundation, which provides educational facilities for children of day-labourers, who have dropped out of school.

With the birth of his son, Chaminda decided he needed to increase the focus of his voluntary work more towards protecting the environment. “I became more conscious of the environment the day I planted a tree when my son was born. Ever since, I have been engaged in numerous activities that include tree planting campaigns, reforestation and changing people’s mindsets about the environment through awareness programmes. I have created an environment force at school level with the intention of teaching children to value nature. Call it fate, but my great grandfather was the village chief, who cleared the forest to build our village. So, generations later, I am trying to make people feel that they need to be one with nature.”

Chaminda is now working towards protecting the Panirendawa Forest Reserve, which is being destroyed due to soil excavation and is allegedly being used for illegal activities.

Regardless of the consequences, he is determined to carry on the work he started and reach his goals.

“I have often had death threats because of my work, considering that I am trying to better the village by stopping illegal and harmful activities that are affecting the community. Despite the obstacles I face I will continue my work, because I believe in pursuing my goals no matter what the consequences are.  I didn’t do any of this expecting a personal benefit, all I want to do is serve the people.”

Chaminda believes that as humans we have a responsibility towards the world and we should make every second count. “We should enrich every second of our life with good thoughts and deeds. We need to lead productive lives by doing something useful for the world we live in. I believe we can build this country and create a beautiful tomorrow.”