Sri Lanka Army Seva Vanitha Unit

Mrs. Janaki Liyanage

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The Army Seva Vanitha Unit was inaugurated on 12th July 1984 with the main objective of providing welfare facilities to the next of kin of war heroes who had sacrificed their lives for their Nation as well as the next of kin of war heroes who had gone missing in action as well those injured whilst defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their motherland and to provide towards the wellbeing of the patriotic serving officers soldiers and their families.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit as provided for in the constitution of the said organization functions under the leadership of the wife of the reigning Commander of the Army, who holds office as the President of the Army Seva Vanitha Unit during the tenure of office of her Husband as the Commander of the Army. Mrs Sonia Weeratunge held office as the first President of the Army Seva Vanitha Unit and Twenty Five years down the line 11 Presidents have successfully contributed towards the growth of the organization from strength to strength in achieving its objective

The tenure of office held by the 15 successive Presidents are as follows;

Mrs. Sonia Weeratunge From 12 July 1984 to 11 Feb 1985
Mrs. Mala Seneviratne From 12 Feb 1985 to 15 Aug 1988
Mrs. Ira Wanasinghe From 16 Aug 1988 to 15 Nov 1991
Mrs. Thilaka Waidyarathna From 16 Nov 1991 to 31 Dec 1993
Mrs. Lalitha De Silva From 01 Jan 1994 to 30 Apr 1996
Mrs. Jayanthi Daluwatta From 01 May 1996 to 15 Dec 1998
Mrs. Dilhani Weerasooriya From 16 Dec 1998 to 24 Aug 2000
Mrs. Gnana Balagalle From 25 Aug 2000 to 30 Jun 2004
Mrs. Sonia Kottegoda From 01 July 2004 to 05 Dec 2005
Mrs. Anoma Fonseka From 06 Dec 2005 to 15 July 2009
Mrs. Manjulika Jayasuriya From 16 July 2009 to 31 July 2013
Mrs. Damayanthi Ratnayake From 01 Aug 2013 to 21 February 2015
Mrs. Nayana De Silva From 22 Feb 2015 to 14 July 2017
Mrs. Chandrika Senanayake From 15 July 2017 to 18 Aug 2019
Mrs. Sujeewa Nelson From 19 Aug 2019 to 31 May 2022
Mrs. Janaki Liyanage From 01 Jun 2022 onwards

The constitution of the Army Seva Vanitha Unit provides for the membership of the organization to be comprised of the spouses of Army Officers as well as Lady Officers. The Executive committee comprises of the President, Vice President Secretary, Treasurer and Public Relations officer whilst the working committee comprising of members of the organization support the executive committee in realizing their objectives.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit raises funds by staging Musical Shows, Plays, Sticker campaigns as well as organizes New Year fairs at which families of Army personnel are given the opportunity of purchasing goods and clothing at concessionary rates whilst at the same time providing income to the organization towards its welfare activities. Over the years hundreds of philanthropists have made contributions in cash and kind to the organization in appreciation of the sacrifices made by the war heroes.

The Seva Vanitha Unit has been, and continues to be a tower of strength to the Army, by helping the families of war heroes by providing them with Housing, Scholarship to the Children, Crutches, Artificial Limbs and Wheel chairs to the wounded in action, establishing and maintaining Pre Schools and Day Care Centers for the Children of War Heroes, providing financial aid at times of need such as at the time of natural deserters, towards medical expenses and such requirements. The members of the Army Seva Vanitha Unit from the inception had been providing the moral courage and care to the injured war heroes by visiting them in hospital, inquiring after their welfare, providing them with their basic needs and all in all providing them with the care and support during their convalescence. The Army Seva Vanitha Unit over the years not forgetting the importance of spiritual support for the speedy recovery of the wounded-in-action continued to organize religious observances such as Bhana preaching ceremonies to the injured, Dhanes and several such events to invoke blessings on the injured and their families, as well as the serving personnel especially on operational duties.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit had also made all endeavours to provide entertainment to the injured war heroes convalescencing in hospitals and at Rana Viru Sevana by organizing musical events and visits by celeberaties such as the Sri Lankan cricket team and film and tele drama stars and distribution of gifts. The intention was to demonstrate the love and appreciation of the public towards the many sacrifices made by the war heroes, the protection of their motherland.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit maintains welfare shops at Army Headquarters summit flats area, Manning Town and Kandalanda at which groceries and other household necessities are sold at concessionary rates to Army personnel and their families. A Bakery project under taken by the Army Seva Vanitha Unit provides the serving Army personnel with reasonably priced confectionary items for their consumption.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit realizing the magnitude of the need for welfare requirements which had increased by leaps and bounds due to the rapid growth in the strength of the Army, and the viable solution being decentralization, in the year 1999 encouraged the establishment of the Regimental Ladies clubs under the patronage of the wife of the respective Regimental Commanders. It was also required that the Regimental Ladies Club President attends the monthly meeting of the Army Seva Vanitha Unit and works in close liaison with the executive and working committee of the Seva Vanitha Unit. Over the years the Regimental Ladies Club concept was found to be very effective and successful, in that the Regiment endeavored to assess the needs of theis own officers, soldiers and families and are not only geared provide whatever welfare facilities possible at the Regimental level but also could project their needs to the Army Seva Vanitha Unit in order to obtain their assistance. At present Twenty Two (22) Regimental Ladies Clubs are functioning effectively and successfully providing welfare facilities at Regimental level.

Two Pre Schools namely the Udupila Pre School and the Panagoda Rankete Montessori and Day Care Centre were established in the years 1998 and 1995 respectively. These Pre Schools not only provide the educational foundation to toddlers but great emphasis is also placed on character building as well as instilling self confidence and discipline at a tender age. On popular request of Army families in their areas the undermentioned Pre Schools were established on the dates mentioned herein below and are functioning to the great satisfaction of parents, students, educational unauthorities as well as the Army Seva Vanitha Unit.

Ran Kekulu Montessori – Anuradhapura 16 May 2001
Viru Daru Montessori – Manning Town 05 Sep 2001
Viru Daru Montessori – Diyatalawa 10 Sep 2003
Viru Kekulu Montessori – Palle Kelle 03 Jan 2008
Viru Kekulu Montessori – Kosgama 05 Jul 2008
Ran Tharu Montessori – Galle 21 May 2009

Altogether Five Hundred children are enrolled and obtaining Pre School education in the said montessories.

Over the years since the inception of the Army Seva Vanitha Unit altogether a total Number of 144 houses have been constructed by the Army Seva Vanitha Unit and handed over to widows and parents of deceased War Heroes as well as war heroes injured in battle. Of the total of 144 houses 52 houses had been constructed and handed over during the period 1999 to 2009. The houses have been built in the under mentioned villages.

Karuwita Paradise Estate War Heroes Village 33
Kosgama Shalawa Estate War Heroes Village 82
Ambalantota Lunama War Heroes Village 15
Horana Milleniya War Heroes Village 09
Horana Millewa War Heroes Village 05
Total 144

It is a world renounced phenomenon that the future of a country is in the hand of the younger generation. It also goes without saying that education is the backbone of moulding the younger generation to be responsible, useful and patriotic citizens of a country. The Army Seva Vanitha Unit mostly comprising of mothers recognizing this need had been working tirelessly over the years in providing scholarships to needly children of Army personnel, and todate 2000 children had benefited by being recipients of such scholarships.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit has contributed monitory funds running into millions of Rupees by way of financial assistance to members of the families of war heroes requiring assistance for urgent medial surgeries, sudden adversities, personal difficulties as well as in developing skills in the fields of education and sports. Further spectacles and wheel chairs too have been distributed among mothers of war heroes.

Large quantities of food clothing and essential items had also been distributed among families of war heroes as well as civilians affected by the Tsunami on 26 December 2004 as well as due to other natural disasters from tome to time.

In addition to these services the Army Seva Vanitha Unit has promoted welfare activities that include self employment courses and donations of sewing machines to spouses of war heroes, and computer courses for children of war heroes. The Army Seva Vanitha Unit had constructed several toilets in homes of injured war heroes with special facilities to accommodate their individual needs.

The Army Seva Vanitha Unit which commenced its work as a Volunteer group of Army wives under the leadership of the then Commander’s wife Twenty Five years ago had grown from strength to strength and at present is a well established experienced organization with Twenty Two branches at the Regimental level and has proven to be an incomprehensible source of strength to the respective commanders of the Army Regimental Commanders and Field Commanders by methodically and swiftly taking over the burden of caring for the welfare of families of Army personnel KIA, MIA and the WIA as well as serving Army personnel and their families so that the Commanders at different levels of command could carry out their functions and duties with the assurance that the welfare of the troops was being looked after in the most efficient and effective manner, by the Army Seva Vanitha Unit.

The service rendered by the Army Seva Vanitha Unit is unparallel to any welfare organization, as proven by these Voluntary group of ladies who have successfully multitasked their role as wives, mothers, teaches, mentors, nurses and friends and have willingly and with great commitment and dedication contributed their time, talent and energy towards the welfare of the war heroes and their families and have helped, and continue to help immensely towards boosting of the morale of the serving officers, soldiers and their families.

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© Army Seva Vanitha Unit 2009