LBW Trust Board member Ron Holmes recently completed a trip to Sri Lanka and visited The Foundation of Goodness which has received ongoing support from the Trust.
“Having taken the Qantas Cricketers on a tour of Sri Lanka in 1980, I thought I should check out this tropical island in the Indian Ocean, following the Australian touring cricketers during our winter months. One of the highlights of my trip was the visit to The Foundation of Goodness, one of the NGOs supported by The LBW Trust, in Seenigawa, a coastal village north of Galle and south of Colombo. I had the pleasure of meeting its founder; a most remarkable man, Kushil Gunasekara, best described as a visionary philanthropist. Kushil has created a holistic community, around what was once his ancestral home, that now thrives in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, bubbling with activity.
Thousands of impoverished young men and women being empowered with technical and vocational training, IT and computer skills, providing outsourcing back office support for leading companies; encouraged to participate in sport and diving. It provides primary medical and dental care and psycho- social support for the elderly and depressed. I was completely overwhelmed and inspired by the achievements of this compassionate entrepreneur, so dedicated to the humanitarian cause.
A bigger surprise was soon to follow. Kushil suggested I join him for dinner. A close friend of Kushil’s, Harry Solomon, happened to be managing a supporters tour and so we met at a popular local restaurant in Colombo on the first evening of the Colombo Test.
On being introduced to Rangana Herath it took me a while to realise this unassuming, unlikely cricketer, was given special permission by his manager to attend this private dinner at Kushil's behest, on the very first day of a Test Match! Herath had already single handedly destroyed the Australian batsmen in the first two tests; so much so they were completely mesmerised by him again in Colombo to lose the series 3-0! For the record, the leading series wicket taker for Sri Lanka enjoyed his curry, drank lemon juice and left for his hotel well before his sleep time!
An evening with Kushil, Herath and Harry the schoolboy champion of Galle, and a remarkable experience at the Foundation of Goodness will not easily fade from my memory."