The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is the largest people’s organisation in Sri Lanka. Sarvodaya is Sanskrit for “Awakening of All” and Shramadana means to donate effort. It began in one village and has grown to more than 15,000. In addition to the island-wide integrated community development programme implemented in those villages, Sarvodaya – founded in 1958 – is curently involved in resettlement, reconstruction and reconciliation activities in the war affected North and East of Sri Lanka, and in “Deshodaya”, a National Reawakening programme which aims to promote good governance and democracy.
The founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne – often dubbed “the Gandhi of Sri Lanka” – has won many international awards for the achievements of Sarvodaya, among them the Gandhi Peace Price. Today, Sarvodaya is governed by a senior management team, with Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne and his son Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne at its helm. Vinya Ariyaratne, who is also a member of Trans4m’s Global Wisdom Council, puts, next to development work, a particular focus on post-war reconciliation and the overall healing of society.
In January 2013, Sarvodaya received – after many years of preparation – the license from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to operate the micro-finance unit of SEEDS (Sarvodaya’s Community Finance Unit) as a Finance company, the first step towards creating Sarvodaya Development Bank. It is supposed to be a development bank with a difference: Deshodaya Development Finance Company Limited seeks to be a company that truly understands the hardships of the people who strive to succeed through sheer hard work and determination. “This financial organization will carry out business based on the philosophy and principles contained in the teachings of the Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Sri Jayaprakash Narayan and other Indian and Sri Lankan leaders. This is the reason why DDFC has chosen to adopt a philosophy firmly rooted in Buddhist teachings that envisions a sustainable future for all Sri Lankans, helping them reach their goals and fulfill their dreams.”
Trans4m and Sarvodaya cooperate closely since many years. Particular focus of our cooperation is the cross-fertilization of Sarvodaya’s integrated development approach and Trans4m’s Integral Worlds approach to development – which are deeply resonant. Jointly, we have put a lot of shared effort in conceiving of an integrated educational model, to be embodied in Sarvodaya’s forthcoming Institute for Higher Learning. At the heart of such a model is the interconnected development of self, family, community and society – as well as various levels of development: from social (communal), spiritual, technological, economic and political development.