A project in the spirit of hands-across-the-sea began in 1995 when an expatriate Sri Lankan and his English wife returned to the island of his birth, after 38 years in the UK. He saw the opportunities for the improvement of health care facilities in the beautiful rural hills of the island and the Samanala Valley Foundation began. The word Samanala means butterfly in the local lingo and the project was named after them when he saw a sea of yellow butterflies fly in a sort of pilgrimage to the stunning holy mountain called ‘Sri Pada’ or ‘Adam’s Peak’, only to end their short lives there.
The mountain marked the central topographical venue of the area and is a symbol of spiritual hope to millions. In this spirit, the project grew to provide an impressively equipped hospital that over the years has welcomed highly distinguished medical practitioners in teams from all over the globe. Different medical disciplines provide medical care for tens of thousands of people, but in recent years has specialized in cataract and ophthalmic surgical and medical relief and is part of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health Vision 2020 W.H.O. initiative. All the services are provided free of charge.
This highly successful medical project, bringing the finest medical expertise through the zeal and volunteering spirit of sympathetic doctors, nurses and other ancillary medical staff, is situated on a tea estate in stunning scenery. The estate itself forms part of the charitable aegis where the workers benefit from its output in terms of jobs and welfare schemes. The whole project is a donation and all fiscal returns are used in-house, with any profits made ploughed back into the scheme.
The Samanala Valley Foundation is the umbrella registered charity organization that oversees the function of the purpose built hospital facilities and a more recent project in the City of Colombo, a School for the teaching of the English language as a global link language, was started in 2006.
The Samanala Valley School for English has been run by the donor’s extended family of UK nationals and other mainly UK-based teachers, many of whom volunteer their services for six monthly stints after qualification in world renowned universities in the UK. Some stay longer captured by a sense of the joy of worthwhile service.
Ten years after the founding of the Samanala Valley Project Foundation and building on its success, the school was set up in the same spirit of "empowerment philanthropy", to provide vital skills in English for Sri Lankans, which would enable them to compete in the international jobs market and become successful global citizens too. Sri Lanka is one of the most literate countries in the world, with a powerful and free educational quest, set as part of her people’s nature.