Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka

exist also in Francais, Deutsch, Svenske, Japanese.

Linked with Annapurna Moharana – India.

Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s biggest charity, is dedicated to making a positive difference to the lives of rural Sri Lankans. Our grassroots movement now reaches 15,000 villages in 34 districts with 1,500 staff throughout Sri Lanka. Founded by a Sri Lankan schoolteacher in 1958, our philosophy is based on Buddhist-Gandhian philosophy and we work across all ethnic and religious communities. We are dedicated to the sustainable empowerment of people through self-help and collective support, to non-violence and peace. It is not as much what we do to alleviate rural poverty but the way in which we do it which makes us so effective and sustainable – through the active participation and engagement of the villagers themselves.


Development Model: Shramadana means “sharing work, knowledge, talents, and time.” The aim of the Movement is to use shared work, voluntary giving and sharing of resources to achieve the personal and social awakening of everyone ~ from the individual, to the village, and continuing up to the international level. ‘Awakening’ means developing human potential, and is a comprehensive process taking place on the spiritual, moral, cultural, social, economic and political levels.

Sarvodaya strives for a model of society in which there is neither poverty nor excessive affluence. The movement’s holistic approach is based on Buddhist principles (including goodness, sympathy, and tranquility) and on the Gandhian values of truthfulness, nonviolence, and self-sacrifice.

The five evolutionary stages of a village: To fulfill its ambitions to develop human potential and to achieve widespread social effectiveness, the movement is working with a participatory approach in nearly 15,000 villages on the island. The program is adjusted to the specific social, cultural, and religious conditions in each region. At the same time, all of the villages go through five stages of evolution or awakening:

  • Stage 1: Inquiry from the village and organization of an introductory shramadana camp for the village, during which problems are analyzed together and needs identified.
  • Stage 2: Establishment of various groups (children’s, youngsters�, mothers’ and farmers’ groups), construction of a child development center, and training of staff.
  • Stage 3: Program for meeting the basic needs and setting up institutions (including the founding of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Society, which is responsible for the village’s development initiatives);
  • Stage 4: Measures to produce income and employment; establishment of complete self-reliance and self-financing;
  • Stage 5: Support for other village communities.

Our social and technological village development programmes continue unabated; in addition, in response to urgent needs in our country, we are continuing with our award-winning Tsunami recovery programme and conflict resolution activities towards building a lasting peace. The approach is designed in such a way that ten villages are always grouped around a pioneering village that has already reached the fifth stage. These villages cooperate, and the groups of ten are linked to one another in turn at the district and national levels, so as to be able to implement common projects such as a regional water supply. The aim is that the villages should be able to manage themselves as a community – to be organized, self-reliant, and able to act independently.

Awakening through meeting basic needs: (full text).

Comments are closed.