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A. T. Ariyaratne

Ahangamage T. Ariyaratne is the Founder of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.

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Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement
Non-profit Social Enterprise
Sri Lanka
Areas of Impact
South Asia, Sri Lanka

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement has a unique philosophy and strategy for development that promotes self-reliance and self-governance at both individual and community levels. Sarvodaya encourages the community to share resources including labour, time and ideas to create “sustainable village economies that meet the 10 basic human needs.”

Sarvodaya’s approach and activities are guided by Buddhist and Gandhian values with a significant focus on building peace in the war-torn nation. In each village, Sarvodaya works through a five-stage intervention model that includes needs assessment, community mobilisation, setting up of self-help institutions called Sarvodaya Shramadana Societies, impact measurement and extension of support for other village communities. Each village receives a customized mix of products, services and activities in economic development, peace building and emergency relief. As of 2012, this model, spearheaded by a staff of 1500 people, reaches 15,000 villages in 25 districts in Sri Lanka.

Sarvodaya also runs Shanthisena - a peace brigade consisting of over 130,000 youth volunteers dedicated to peace building and community development. In addition, the movement has spawned many initiatives on specific social issues – including the largest microfinance organisation in Sri lanka serving 140,000 clients and 4,335 pre-schools serving over 98,000 children.

In its first two decades, Sarvodaya’s activities were dependent entirely on voluntary labour and local resources. From the mid-1970s, the organisation accessed external resources and donor funding and since the 1990s has focused on converting select initiatives into financially self-sustainable business models. Today, Sarvodaya also works very closely with the government in an advisory and collaborative capacity as it accelerates its economic and social development agenda.


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