Laura Davies » Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Laura Davies

Former Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Part of UK in Sri Lanka

25th December 2014 Colombo, Sri Lanka

Waves of Compassion

In our penultimate #TsunamiRemembered blog, Tesco, the MCC, an ancestral home and overwhelming compassion come together to help rural talent shine. Kushil Gunasekera describes his vision for Foundation of Goodness.

I was born in the rural village of Seenigama, but educated in Colombo, and was always determined to bridge the gap between the rural and the urban in Sri Lanka. I converted my ancestral home into a more modern outfit in 1999 and initiated the Foundation of Goodness on its premises; a humble effort focused on teaching English, Computer Training and other productive activities to the people of my village.

Five years later, the unprecedented tsunami waves invaded the village, crashing everything into ruin, debris and rubble. We were distributing scholarships that day and I ran for safety with the children present, wading through the water. I will never forget the terrible sights I saw along the way. In the face of such great adversity and hopelessness I was determined never to give up, but to do the best I could to overcome what seemed, at the time, an insurmountable tragedy. The Foundation of Goodness worked to turn this tragedy into a blessing, to overcome the waves of destruction with waves of compassion.

My long-time aspiration was a holistic rural community model. Working with the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), I created a Centre of Excellence which includes 30 constructive empowerment sectors and an impressive sports academy, along with a diving and training centre and three branches of Village Heartbeat Initiatives in rural areas serving over 30,000 beneficiaries in over 50 villages.

All rural talent needs is opportunity, training and facilities.  People doubt what you say, but believe what you do. Nothing multiplies so much as kindness! The many blessings we have received have brought out the best in struggling rural communities, leading to success stories like Tharindu Kaushal and Gourmet Goodness.

Tharindu Kaushal wins Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2012 outstation
Tharindu Kaushal wins Outstation Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2012

It was the MCC cricket scholarship that nurtured the exceptional talent of young Tharindu Kaushal at our Sports Academy for four years.  Having been Murali’s manager for over a decade, I knew Tharindu had something very special to offer as a prodigious off spinner, who was also a sound batsman and good fielder. As a schoolboy cricketer, Tharindu achieved the incredible double of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs in one season, and his performance over the last two years has earned him a place in the squad going to New Zealand.

At Foundation of Goodness, we don’t want to be dependent on donors forever.  So we have developed “Gourmet Goodness”, a spice blend that will be sold in Tesco stores across the UK to support our sustainable income generation.  Gourmet Goodness is the first food product directly purchased by Tesco from Sri Lanka, and it will bring Sri Lankan cuisine and spices to dinner tables across the UK while helping disadvantaged rural communities develop and raise production standards.  The first crates of Gourmet Goodness leave Colombo this week.  It should launch at the end of January, and 100% of profits will support Foundation of Goodness’ humanitarian endeavours.


Never did I imagine my dream of serving my village would reach this scale! Ten years after the tsunami, we have implemented projects worth almost USD 13 million to improve the quality of life amongst rural villagers. Now, the challenge is to sustain our operations and expand them towards the North, East and West of the island. It is particularly moving that our journeys to the North over the last four years have helped 17,000 people recovering from long years in the shadow of a conflict to rebuild their lives.

Setbacks are blessings in disguise to make better progress. The more you give, the more will be yours to give.

Foundation Of Goodness: Website, Twitter, Facebook
The British High Commission will have a Book of Remembrance open for signature from 0900 – 1200 on working days between Monday 22 December and Tuesday 6 January.

Read other recent blogs in our series:

Piyumi’s Story

The Underwater Wave

1 comment on “Waves of Compassion

  1. Dear Laura,

    Really lovely to read Kushil’s piece on your site. I have met him several times through our mutual friend Vijaya Malalasekera and have visited both his project and the cricket facilities at Seenigamma. What a truly inspiring man. Hopefully I shall meet him again when I visit Vij in February (staying with his family just down the road from you at Malalasekera Pedesa, near the rugby ground).

    Incidentally, it is a statue of Vij’s father that stands just outside the High Commission.

    Let’s hope that the election passes off peacefully but being Sr Lanka, one can only keep fingers crossed.


    Peter Quinn

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