Otara Gunewardene appointed as Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka Goodwill Ambassador

Otara Gunewardene appointed as Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka Goodwill Ambassador

Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, an international non-profit organization dedicated towards providing every family in Sri Lanka with a stable and safe place to call home, appointed entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate Otara Gunewardene, as its Goodwill Ambassador in celebration of its 25th Anniversary.

Otara Gunewardene, the Founder and CEO of Embark and the Otara Foundation, has been a long-standing supporter of the work of Habitat for Humanity. She first joined hands with Habitat for Humanity in the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami, volunteering and supporting Habitat’s Post-Tsunami Rebuilding efforts in the Southern Province.

Since her first partnership with Habitat Sri Lanka in 2005, Ms. Gunewardene has played a pivotal role in rallying the support of donors and volunteers alike to raise funds for Habitat Sri Lanka’s work across the country. Following her experience in working directly with Habitat Sri Lanka to rebuild after the Tsunami, Ms. Gunewardene was inspired to sponsor the construction of 13 homes for flood-prone families in the Kalutara District. In celebration of World Habitat Day in 2015, Ms. Gunewardene championed Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s ‘Corporate Build’ volunteer event, which provided employees of corporates an opportunity to volunteer their time and effort towards engaging in a tree planting campaign and constructing permanent homes for families in need in Kalutara.

Speaking at the announcement ceremony held in Colombo, Ms. Gunewardene said, “I look forward to supporting the good work done by Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka in bringing tangible changes to people’s lives, which is what I have always wanted to do. I always look at engaging in work that benefits the people, the animals and the environment; and Habitat for Humanity’s commitment towards creating ‘Habitats’ for people in need, is a vision I have always felt strongly about.”

Mr. Yu Hwa Li, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka, commenting on the appointment of the Goodwill Ambassador said, “We’re delighted to welcome Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s Goodwill Ambassador, Otara Gunewardene. She is a successful entrepreneur, trendsetter, fashion icon, philanthropist, advocate and a mother who understands that ‘home’ is the key to a brighter future. She has been a longstanding supporter and volunteer of Habitat for Humanity and we’re very excited to welcome her on board as she continues to support us in realizing the global vision and mission of Habitat; creating a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

For 25 years Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka has been committed to the mission of bringing people together to build homes, communities and hope. Having empowered more than 26,000 families across Sri Lanka to break the cycle of poverty and helping them to achieve strength, stability and self-reliance; Habitat Sri Lanka looks forward to reaching even more impoverished, marginalized and vulnerable communities in the future.

The International Model United Nations – Youth Build 2019

The International Model United Nations – Youth Build 2019

On Saturday, 14th September 2019, over 100 youth delegates of The International Model United Nations (TIMUN) volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka to paint the homes of visually impaired persons in Nayanalokagama, Negombo. This special event titled ‘TIMUN Youth Build’ was held in conjunction with The International Model United Nations (TIMUN) Conference attended by over 160 international and local students, held from the 12-15th September at the Hilton Colombo Residencies.

Special Guest of Honour, South African High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Robina P.Marks also graced the occasion and volunteered her time painting homes together with the youth and became acquainted with the visually impaired beneficiaries. Highlighting the importance of youth engagement towards building a more sustainable world, she urged the youth to ‘think Global but to act Local’, thereby encouraging the TIMUN delegates to go beyond drafting resolutions and to become agents of change in their communities.

Official event partner JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. generously donated 100 liters of Permoglaze Weathershield Emulsion paints and paint brushes, enabling the TIMUN youth delegates from Ladies’ College, Lyceum International School, Asian Grammar School and Ilma International School to spend a day painting the homes of ten visually impaired persons who had recently received homes through Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka’s ‘Homes for Hope’ Project.

The TIMUN Youth Build was the first ‘Activity Day’ of its kind, held mid-way during a Model-UN conference, which provided delegates with an unique opportunity to step away from conference deliberations and to put into practice their learnings and engage in sustainable development at the community level. 

Speaking at the event, Mr. Yu Hwa Li, National Director – Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka commented, “Habitat Sri Lanka is proud to be celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2019. Throughout the last two decades, Habitat has been committed to fostering volunteerism in Sri Lanka. Unlike any other volunteer experience, Habitat’s volunteers get hands-on construction experience building a home with their teammates and also have the satisfaction of knowing that their generosity and hard work resulted in a family in need being blessed with a place to call home. We invite all youth to come join us in our mission towards building a Sri Lanka where every family will have a decent place to call home”.