Celebrating the significance of World Water Day, Sunshine Foundation for Good— the corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of the diversified conglomerate Sunshine Holdings (CSE: SUN), commissioned two Reverse Osmosis (RO) Plants in Galgamuwa in the North Western Province and Medawachchiya in the North Central Province. More than 1500 students and 5000 inhabitants in surrounding villages now have access to over 20,000 litres of safe and clean drinking water per day through these newly-launched RO Plants at Usgala Gemunu Maha Vidyalaya and Anuradhapura Sri Sobitha Maha Vidyalaya.
Studies indicate that approximately 400,000 people are currently affected by CKD, of which men between the ages of 15 – 70 are the most vulnerable. Studies show that providing purified water is found to be the key solution not only to eliminate CKD but to reverse the effects of those affected by it.
In such a context, The Foundation has commissioned a total of eight RO plants in the North Western, North Central, Southern, Central and Uva provinces to date, giving over 20,000 residents in Sella Kataragama, Kataragama, Ambanpola, Handaganawa, Rajanganaya, Galewela, Galgamuwa and Medawachchiya access to clean drinking water. In this quest, The Foundation has partnered with the Sri Lanka Navy, who provided expertise, labour and maintenance to operate these RO Plants. Furthermore, Sunshine has scouted and selected the locations based on the request letters sent to the SL Navy.
“North Central, North Western, East, Uva, Southern and Northern provinces are continuing to struggle with an increasing number of cases of chronic kidney disease of uncertain aetiology (CKDu), with estimates of over 40,000 cases across these provinces being recorded over the past few years. Poor access to clean drinking water has led to the prevalence of CKDu, and for decades, people from these regions have been enduring harsh conditions with water-scarcity continuing. Sunshine Holdings, with the help of the Sri Lanka Navy, has been able to identify this fundamental issue, and since January 2019, we have been able to take an important part in the quest towards combating the spread of CKDu in Sri Lanka; through the installation of RO Plants.”
Sashini Imesha, a student from Usgala Gemunu Maha Vidyalaya, said that more than 2500 people in her area had faced extreme difficulties without having access to clean water. “The contaminated water has also caused a fast rise in CKDu cases in the area over the last few years, making the lives of people who are diagnosed with the ailment extremely hard. The newest RO Plant in our school is a great relief for all of us as we do not have to worry about the poor quality of water and severe lack of water anymore. On behalf of the community in Usgala, I thank Sunshine Holdings from the bottom of my heart.”
Sandun Himeth from Medawachchiya, who will be sitting for his Ordinary Level examination this year, said it is a great gift for his community. “We are fortunate and extremely grateful to Sunshine Foundation for Good in hearing our need and coming to our assistance when it was most needed. The RO Plant has the capability to supply safe and clean drinking water for more than 800 students and close to 3000 inhabitants from surrounding villages. Now that they have done their part, it is now our greatest responsibility to ensure that this plant is well maintained and managed for future generations.”
From the outset, Sunshine’s goal has been to guarantee that the company could make a long-lasting improvement to the lives of students and other communities in surrounding villages. “Our responsibility as a responsible Sri Lankan conglomerate is to ensure that the basic needs of the people and communities of this country are fulfilled and their aspirations nurtured. Access to safe and clean drinking water for these communities is imperative, and we at Sunshine Holdings are fully committed to doing as much as possible to fulfil this fundamental need and help to ease the plight of our people,” Govindasamy stated further.
The opening of these plants fitted uniquely as they were handed over to the public on 18th March 2021 to mark World Water Day, focusing the attention of students and villagers on the importance of water. This year’s theme, ‘Water and Climate Change’, explores how water and climate change are inextricably linked. The effort by Sunshine highlighted why we must use water more responsibly and balance all of society’s water needs while ensuring that the most needed people do not get left behind.
Sunshine Holdings Group Managing Director Vish Govindasamy, Sunshine Foundation for Good Consultant Malin Goonetileke, Sunshine Tea Chief Executive Officer Sanjeeva Saranapala, senior officers from Sri Lanka Navy, principals, teachers and government officials graced the opening of the two RO plants. Through this project, Sunshine Holdings aims to provide livelihood development activities, promote appropriate health and sanitation practices, awareness and knowledge dissemination.
Initiated to commemorate the Group’s 50th anniversary, the Sunshine Foundation for Good centralises all CSR efforts undertaken by Sunshine Holdings through a sustainability committee and a project chair with clear objectives to drive change towards sustainability, with health and education as The Foundation’s two main pillars.