Sarvodaya is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘universal uplift’ or ‘progress of all’ or ‘the welfare of all’. Shramadana term meaning ‘gift of labor’. Sarvodaya movement is the movement which aims at rural reconstruction and uplifting the people of rural India by peaceful and co-operative means. Sarvodaya stresses on coexistence and mutual love.
The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement is a self-governance movement in Sri Lanka. It provides comprehensive development and conflict resolution programs to villages. It is founded by Dr. Ahangamage Tudor Ariyaratne (A. T. Ariyaratne) in 1958, when he took forty high school students and twelve teachers from Nalanda College Colombo on “an educational experiment” to an outcaste village, Kathaluwa, and helped the villagers fix it up. This movement is based on Buddhist and Gandhian principles. It is also the largest indigenous organization working in reconstruction from the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
In 1958, the neglected village of Rodiya, inhabited by social outcasts and beggars, received help in the form of renovating houses, digging wells and lavatories, and establishing community gardens, educational programs and self-employment help were also launched. The village of Kathaluwa was to be the first beneficiary of this joint work.
A. T. Ariyaratne, then a high school teacher at Nalanda College in Colombo, led a group of teachers and students who participated an “educational experiment.”
The success of the “experiment”, repeated in other villages, and developing independently from the Department of Rural Development, led to the creation of the largest development-promoting organization in Sri Lanka- “The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement.”
Process & Activities:
The Sarvodaya Shramadana program begins with an invitation from a village for discussion of what is needed and how it can be done. It proceeds in stages through creating a village council, building a school and clinic, setting up family programs, creating economic opportunity so that the village economy becomes self-sustaining, starting a village bank, and offering help to other villages. In addition, they sponsors public meditations. A.T. Ariyaratne emphasizes that Sarvodaya is about awakening both individuals and society.The organization insists on understanding the real needs of a peaceful, sustainable society.
In latter Sarvodaya started setting up telecentres experimentally in 1997. This has led to the pioneering telecentre program in the country. Village Information Centres (VICs) are rural libraries, set up by village youth leaders as ‘Zero Cost’ village initiatives, which prepare disadvantaged, less educated rural communities for the information age.
Etisalat Sri Lanka (a mobile telephony provider in cooperation) with Sarvodaya-Fusion, opened Etisalat Android Village Hub in September 2012 .The program aims to connect rural communities using Android tablets, which the company distributed to 20 families in selected villages for a period of two weeks and conduct internet training.
On December 26, 2004, at 9am, waves flooded the fishing town of Hambantota.The Sarvodaya Shramadana movement built 1104 houses, 5593 toilets, 2274 wells, 2450 waste composters, 185 water tanks and 85 playgrounds for the victims of the tsunami. The Sarvodaya movement tried to get help from recipients themselves, in order that they feel responsible and take part in rebuilding their own lives. It is the largest indigenous organization working in reconstruction from the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.