Hayleys Mabroc Teas commissions 16th Sathdiyawara RO Drinking Water Project in Dutuwewa, Galenbindunuwewa.
Sri Lanka continues to grapple with a rising number of cases of chronic kidney disease of uncertain etiology (CKDu), with estimates of thousands of cases across Sri Lanka’s North Central, East, Uva, Southern and Northern provinces being recorded over the past decade alone. Awareness and concern over the ravaging effect that this affliction has had on families and communities across the dry zone is on the rise. Combined with, and almost certainly exacerbated by the harsh, hot, and extremely parched conditions prevalent in these areas, day-to-day life has quickly degraded into a constant struggle as larger groups of Sri Lankans are faced with the life-threateningly difficult decision of consuming what little water they have and risking the fate which they have seen so many friends and family fall to, or struggle a while longer with no water at all.
Dutuwewa is one such village in Sri Lanka’s North Central province which has for decades endured these harsh conditions with little to no outside assistance until recently when a dedicated Reverse Osmosis water purification plant was established in the village for the first time as part of the continuing efforts of the Hayleys Group under its flagship CSR programme, Puritas Sathdiyawara, finally signaling an end to the terrible scarcity of drinking water which area residents had stoically weathered for so many years.
Abeyratne - a village farmer commented “Not having clean water all these years has been extremely difficult. And this contaminated water has caused a fast increasing rise in CKD affliction. There were many relatives and friends who were diagnosed with CKD and for them life has been hard. They get exhausted very easily, and get angry and frustrated as the disease affects their moods and disposition. It has been a great relief for all of us that we no longer have to worry about the poor quality and severe lack of water. We used to get water from the wells located in the area. This water has always been very hard and brackish. We are now so used to drinking clean and pure water that we realize how unbearable the previous water we have had all our lives tasted, and the harm it caused our families. We could not bear to drink that again.”
Speaking at the ceremonial opening of the plant, Chairman and Chief Executive of Hayleys PLC, Mohan Pandithage said: “Our goal with Puritas Sathdiyawara from the outset has been to ensure that we are able to make a lasting and meaningful improvement to the lives of these once vibrant rural communities. It is our duty to ensure that the basic needs of the people and communities of this nation are met, and their aspirations nurtured. Access to, safe, clean drinking water for these communities is absolutely imperative and we at Hayleys are fully committed to do as much as possible to fulfill this fundamental need and help to ease the plight of our people.”
“My parents moved here from the Kandy district almost 60 years ago. At that time we had of course never heard of kidney disease and we would get the water we needed from wells that we usually had to dig ourselves. While life was never too easy for us, I feel that especially over the last 10 years, it has become much more difficult. The droughts are worse than ever before and it saddens us greatly to see how many of our friends and members of the community have lost their lives to kidney disease,” G. R. Sugadathasa, a local farmer and former Treasurer of the Regional Welfare Society explained.
The families that first settled this area following the construction of reservoirs in the area so many decades ago, still have their descendants living and working the same land, however changing climate patterns and a rising epidemic of CKDu, together with lack of basic comforts that draw younger Sri Lankans out of the rural lifestyles and into increasingly densely populated urban centers have taken a severe toll on these communities. “We want our children to stay here and help the village grow and prosper and become like the cities one day. If everyone leaves, our villages will remain unchanged.’ Sugathadasa added.
Following the construction of its first RO plant in Maithreepura, Padaviya, one of the villages worst affected by CKD in 2014 Puritas Sathdiyawara has gone on to install 16 RO plants across four districts, providing life-saving access to clean, drinking water for over 33,000 men, women and children across 19 villages in the North and North Central provinces. In keeping with the established model of Sathdiyawara where key sectors of Hayleys Group companies sponsor the construction of a new RO plant, the Dutuwewa facility was sponsored by the Hayleys Group’s tea marketing and export business, Mabroc Teas.
“It is a true honour for the Mabroc to be part of the Puritas Sathdiyawara initiative. This is our very first RO plant commissioning, and we consider it a privilege to be able to contribute towards a project that will drastically improve the lives of so many families and communities in Dutuwewa,” Mabroc Managing Director, Niran Ranatunga said.
Community engagement is fundamental to the approach and vision of Puritas Sathdiyawara. In that regard, each of the RO installations has been designed in a manner that ownership, and responsibility for these life-saving facilities are retained with the residents of these communities. Particularly given that the conditions and requirements of each village differs from case to case, once each facility is constructed, it is handed over to Community Based Organization (CBO) of the village to manage the plant and distribute water and maintain records of distribution.
In charge of the Dutuwewa RO plant is Mr. Nandana, President of the village’s Community Based Organization. Having worked in close collaboration with Hayleys, Nandana is now determined to ensure that once the plant is up and running, that a systematic but simple process is established to manage the plant.
“Before Hayleys got involved, we had requested assistance from every person we could think of, because we could see members from our community fall ill and we knew that something had to be done. We are fortunate and extremely grateful to the Hayleys Group in hearing of our need and coming to our aid when it was most needed. This gift was totally unexpected. When we heard that our village would be receiving this RO plant, we never knew that it would be such a massive one. This unit is capable of supplying the total water needs of our village’s consumption. Now that they have done their part, we must do ours and ensure that this invaluable gift is well maintained and managed for future generations.”
He noted however that with the prolonged hardships that area residents had to face, many from the younger generation seem to have gravitated towards the idea of seeking out jobs in the city. In the process, he felt that some of the sense of community that he had enjoyed growing up had been diluted. However he noted that the fact that the RO plant was also built to with a dual purpose of serving as a community centre equipped with computers, internet facilities, and books and toys for children, as well as regular deliveries of newspapers, would in addition to quenching the thirst of residents, also bring them together in a shared space, thus serving to revitalize the ties that had helped establish this community over six decades ago.
“It is true that many of our young people are thinking about moving away from the village and they think that this will give them more freedom than what they have here. But my goal is to keep working and build our village to be as good as Colombo or any other big city when it comes to the ability to make a living. We believe this is possible and we will not give up on this dream, Mr. Abeyratne, a farmer from the village explained.
Indeed, the community centre is deeply appreciated with school children from the area like Imasha Udara, a Grade 10 student with aspirations to complete her education and share her learning with others. “Now that we have computers here, this will be so much easier for us students to read and to learn how to use computers. We can use them to learn so much more so we are all very excited.”
Location is naturally crucial to the success and impact of each Puritas Sathdiyawara plant, and a lot of effort is channeled into ensuring that an optimal location is found which is the closest and most central point for area residents. Remarkably, the land on which the new Dutuwewa RO facility (approximately 10 perches) and community centre is located on was freely donated to the Community Based Organization by one of the families.
Ms. R.A. Mallika Ranawaka a member of the Ranawaka family shared her reasons for donation. “We inherited all this land of 1 acre from my father, and since we wanted to honour our parents’ memory we wanted to contribute this 10 perches of it to this very worthy cause which will help uplift the lives of families and friends in our village, and do our part for an important social cause. After I discussed it with my brothers, we all decided that it was the right thing to do. We have seen how our community has suffered from a lack of clean drinking water and from the agonizing CKD affliction. The fact that this plant is now installed and that it will help all the 3000 families in our community makes us all very happy,” she explained.
Commenting on the future of Puritas Sathdiyawara, which is coordinated by Puritas a key business segment of the Hayleys Group that facilitates the execution of water projects, Rajitha Kariyawasan, Managing Director of Haycarb PLC and an Executive Board Member of Hayleys PLC, reaffirmed the group’s commitment toward further expansion of the project under the guidance of the Chairman and the Board of Hayleys PLC.
“The key known remedy to treat and reverse the effects of CKDu and it’s prevention is providing the access to and wide spread and continued usage of clean drinking water. Having seen the life-changing effects that access to clean, safe drinking water has had on communities across the region, we remain more committed than ever to expanding this initiative as rapidly and sustainably as possible, with the blessings of our Chairman, the Board and the patronage our key sectors of the Group.”
The Sri Lankan multinational Haycarb PLC reported revenue of USD 21.6 million and profit before tax of USD 992,000 for the first quarter of 2017/18. The profit after tax stood at USD 792,000.
Haycarb PLC Managing Director Mr. Rajitha Kariyawasan said that while the company’s initiatives to increase throughput and the value added portfolio together with the geographical expansion of export markets contributed to the growth in turnover, the challenges faced in Indonesian operations due to the shortages in raw material supply and resultant high prices and the increases in charcoal prices in Sri Lanka, India and Thailand negatively impacted the Group’s profitability.
He further said, “Shortages and price increases in coconut shell based charcoal supplies are expected to continue through the current financial year in all the key coconut producing countries in Asia. The challenge in passing its full cost impact to end customers is a major concern to maintain activated carbon business’ expected margins through the year. The Company is in the process of reviewing its prices to pass on a fair part of this impact to its customers after extensive discussions. Central and country specific management teams are working aggressively to ensure a secure supply chain in the current adverse situation whilst focussing on controlling costs and improving efficiencies through the Lean Manufacturing platform. Haycarb’s reputation to manage difficult supply chain issues effectively, without interruption of deliveries to its valued customers is well demonstrated by example in the past.”
On a separate note, Mr. Kariyawasan said that the growth in the environmental engineering arm Puritas (Pvt.) Ltd. is expected to contribute positively to the profitability of the Group.
In the background of increasing emphasis on environmental sustainability worldwide, Haycarb remains positive in its medium to long term outlook in its activated carbon and water treatment systems businesses.
Haycarb is the pioneer manufacturer of coconut shell activated carbon in any coconut producing country with manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia supported by marketing offices in the USA, UK and Australia. The company contributes net foreign exchange revenues with its value adding processes whilst remaining a leading and technologically superior manufacturer in its chosen segment.
The Board of Directors of Haycarb PLC comprises of Messrs Mohan Pandithage – Chairman, Rajitha Kariyawasan – Managing Director, Dhammika Perera, Arjun Senaratna, Sarath Ganegoda, Ms. Jeevani Abeyratne, Dr. Sarath Abayawardana, Sujeewa Rajapakse, M. S. P. Udaya Kumara, Brahman Balaratnarajah, Ali Asgar Caderbhoy, Ms. Sharmila Ragunathan, James Naylor and M. H. Jamaldeen.
Sath Diyawara reaches a total of 18 villages, providing 33,000 people with 130,000 liters of drinking water, daily.
Continuing to expand to create a positive impact on the nation’s growing CKD concern, the Hayleys Group’s – Puritas Sath Diyawara endeavour has now extended its clean drinking water project with two more Reverse Osmosis plants. One plant was recently installed in Meegassegama, Thalawa, sponsored by Alumex PLC The second plant was installed in Pahala Kedithokkuwa, Nochchiyagama, sponsored by Hayleys Agriculture, where in addition to the RO Plant, a mixed cultivation of fruits and moringa was also initiated with the expertise of Hayleys Agriculture, in the 1 acre land owned by the CBO (Community Based Organization) of Pahala Kedithokkuwa. Both villages were also gifted with a knowledge hub, each consisting of computers with internet access and a library.
These projects are the second villages which both Alumex and Hayleys Agriculture have committed to, thereby further strengthening their long-term pledge to this cause.
Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Alumex PLC, Mr. Rohan Peris commented, “This is the second Sath Diyawara village which we have adopted. As part of the Hayleys Group, we strongly believe in how Puritas Sathdiyawara has benefitted these marginalized people, and we have seen firsthand, how providing clean drinking water to CKD afflicted areas has resulted in reduction and reversal of the illness. This encourages us to continue investing in this cause to save more affected lives as well as the lives at risk.”
Addressing the gathering, Ms. Jayanthi Dharmasena, Deputy MD of Hayleys Agriculture stated that Hayleys Agriculture is committed to uplifting rural livelihoods of the community, and that this initiative is an extension of their holistic CSR strategy. Mr. Rizvi Zaheed, Managing Director, Hayleys Agriculture commenting on the project, stated, “While this is the 2nd RO plant which we have commissioned, we have also added to the initiative by supporting the livelihood of the villagers by sharing our expertise and knowledge on agricultural best practices to support them with the cultivation of fruits and moringa on an acre of land. We will continue to support Sath Diyawara which is our Group’s flagship CSR project.”
The village of Meegassegama in Thalawa, is home to 2500 people with 76 confirmed CKD patients. While Pahala Kedithokkuwa in Nochchiyagama with a resident population of over 2,097 has 60 CKD patients. Both villages face one common problem – lack of clean drinking water and a growing number of people suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) of which collectively over 200 cases are under investigation for suspected CKD.
Each village was fitted with a Centralized Water Treatment plant, including a Plant house, an RO treatment system with a capacity of 10,000 liters a day and water storage cum distribution tower. And a water distribution and delivery mechanism consisting of two wheeler tractor pulled bowser (of 1, 000 liters) and 10 docking stations of 1, 000 liters each.
Elaborating further, Managing Director, Haycarb and Puritas, Mr. Rajitha Kariyawasan added, “Since 2014, Sath Diyawara has grown to become a highly sustainable and long-term endeavour which has reaped very clear results. We now provide over 30,000 people with 130,000 litres of drinking water a day. Our single-minded focus lies in eradicating CKD. But we are also consciously supporting these villagers whose grim conditions are exacerbated not only by this debilitating illness but also by drought, dry arid conditions and harsh weather, including floods, which deny them of basic access to drinking water, for day to day survival.”
Speaking on the initiative the Community Based Organisation (CBO) Secretary of Meegassegama, Thalawa, Wijerathne commented. “This gift of life which we have received today signifies a renewed hope for our future. While CKD is a huge concern with more and more CKD patients being diagnosed in our villages, we have also suffered through the severe lack of quality drinking water. We have to travel miles and miles to collect water, which to most is just a basic amenity, but to us is a luxury which we only dreamed of.” Wijerathne is a disabled soldier who lost his leg in the war. He continues his service to the country even after being disabled, as the Secretary of the CBO, which is done on a voluntary basis without any remuneration. The Hayleys Group is humbled to be able to lighten the burden of this hero and his fellow villagers.
Hayleys installed its first Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant in Maithreepura, Padaviya, one of the villages worst affected by CKD. Since 2014, the Hayleys Group has installed 13 Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification plants across four districts covering eighteen villages. Access to clean drinking water has proven to be the only known long term remedy for CKD, with the alternative being an organ transplant.
Commenting on the commitment to clean drinking water, the Chairman of the Hayleys Group, Mr. Mohan Pandithage said, “We have visited a large number of villages in the North and North Central provinces, working at the ground level to identify the most severely affected villages. We have gone above and beyond what we originally set out to achieve, through the Puritas Sath Diyawara program by additionally supporting the communities with livelihood development opportunities. These two villages have suffered through the lack of drinking water and a rise in CKD affliction. When I look around and see the hopeful faces of these beautiful children and their families, I feel blessed that we have been able to transform their lives and give them hope for a better, healthier future.”
To date Puritas Sath Diyawara has provided clean drinking water to over 33,000 men, women and children across eighteen villages in the North and North Central provinces since 2014. Each project is sponsored by a Group Company, and to-date the Hayleys Group has invested more than Rs. 56 million in this initiative. It consists of formalized water distribution network through a bowser and multiple docking stations throughout the village to ensure all villagers have equal access to purified water. Surveys are conducted on a regular basis to monitor the benefits of this initiative.
Flagship CSR initiative of Hayleys Group that provides clean drinking water to villages affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) – 'Puritas Sath Diyawara’ was announced by Energy Globe Institute of Austria as the leading social initiative in Sri Lanka. This announcement was made in parallel to the celebration of World Environment Day on 5th June 2017. This recognition has nominated Puritas Sath Diyawara as the Sri Lanka’s representation for Energy Globe World Award, which is selected out of best projects/national winners of 178 countries around the world.
“It is a landmark achievement for Puritas Sath Diyawara to be recognized in a global scale. This Initiative has already been identified as a leading social initiative in the Asian region for the past few years. With this recognition Puritas Sath Diyawara has shown its impact on society as a prominent CSR initiative internationally. Our Group efforts through the funding and participation of all key sectors have reached 16 villages across Sri Lanka serving over 25,000 people in CKD affected areas. We are looking forward to expand this initiative with added scope on addressing other socio-economic needs of the people”, Mr. Mohan Pandithage, Chairman and Chief Executive of Hayleys Group stated.
Energy Globe Award is awarded under patronage of UNESCO and done in cooperation with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is presented to successful sustainable projects with feasible solutions to address environmental problems and which conserve and protect our resources or that employ renewable energy.
Haycarb PLC is the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of coconut shell based activated carbon solutions. We have over 35 years of experience...View on Youtube
Hayleys is one of Sri Lanka's largest multinational business conglomerates with a history spanning 134 years. We drive a globally competitive busin...View on Youtube
Hayleys is one of Sri Lanka's largest multinational business conglomerates with a history spanning 134 years. We drive a globally competitive busin...View on Youtube