Making a Difference

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sewalanka Foundation, Sri Lanka

Your country is being ripped apart by civil war. Thousands of people, including entire villages, are being displaced from their ancestral homes by the fighting. What do you do? Well, for Harsha Kumara Navaratne, the answer was to establish an organization to try to help the most vulnerable communities. Thus, the Sewalanka Foundation ( was borne in 1993. Over the years, the organization has evolved to meet the changing needs of the rural communities. In December, 2004, when the Tsunami devastated much of South East Asia, including Sri Lanka, Sewalanka stepped up its activities and expanded its services to include the Tsunami affected areas.

In the days following the Tsunami, Anne Marie Edwards (Haas MBA 05) and I developed a method, in cooperation with Acteva ( to raise funds and deliver them to Sewalanka in a timely manner. See story: (

Two teams of student consultants, from the IBD program, have also worked with Sewalanka to help improve their sustainability and to bring income generating opportunities to the displaced villagers.

While recovery from the Tsunami has come a long way, there is still much to do. The civil war has heated up again and killings are on the rise. For Sewalanka, there are still many people to assist. Harsha and Sewalanka continue to do what they can.