“Anyone engaging in volunteering needs the willpower to deal with the many challenges including personal financial difficulties and mental anguish, but if we persist, the fulfilment we feel at the completion of a project remains with us till death.”
Young Kumara, always believed that there was more to life than just personal gain. With his passion for social work being nurtured as a child, he knew that he had a role to play in alleviating his village from poverty and uplifting the community he lives in.
A part time IT teacher with the National Youth Council, Kumara’s interest in social work was ignited through the multiple extracurricular activities that he engaged in, at school. Every program he participated in as a child and later as a youth, influenced him to look at life, beyond himself, moulding him to become the young active youth leader he is today. Sunday school was another positive influence, which taught him to be considerate, to help those in need and to assist the community.
With numerous projects running simultaneously, Kumara saw the need to streamline the process, establishing the Kumara Ranasinghe Foundation in 2013. The foundation has since carried out many projects including awareness on drug abuse among youth, providing educational material for students from low income families, construction of a day-night handball court, a community centre and a playground at the Walagamba School among others across the Galgamuwa area.
In 2017, Kumara undertook the Kurandankulama water project, which sought to relieve the residents of Galgamuwa, suffering from severe drought, from this plight. The project identified 100 families, with over 500 individuals, who would have access to water 24 hour a day. His greatest challenge was funding. Though the Youth Parliament Society allocated Rs. 150,000 for the project this wasn’t nearly enough to cover the projected cost of Rs. 9.6 million.
He credits the support from the Divisional Secretariat, the community and their personal contacts and many other well-wishers, often acquainted through social media for the successful completion of the project.
Looking towards the future, Kumara is keen on addressing two big issues he believes would have the greatest impact on the community the first is the massive unemployment issues among the youth and the second is the human elephant conflict in the Galgamuwa area. For the Human-Elephant conflict, he has already developed a new device called ‘Crop Protector’ which was adjudged winner at a competition organized by the Inventors Commission of Sri Lanka. To help resolve the unemployment issue, he has already commenced planning for the launch of a vocational training centre for the youth.
Kumara who lives by the simple philosophy of ‘we reap what we sow’, says volunteering for him is not about personal gain or for profit rather about personal fulfilment. “Anyone engaging in volunteering needs the willpower to deal with the many challenges including personal financial difficulties and mental anguish, but if we persist, the fulfilment we feel at the completion of a project remains with us till death.”