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Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement


The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement promotes self-governance in Sri Lanka. The organization has provided development programs in villages for more than 55 years and played a key role in the reconstruction after the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004.


Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement was founded by Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne who 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. Currently Sarvodaya is active in more than 15,000 of the 38,000 villages in Sri Lanka and approximately 11 million citizens benefit from their programs.


Every new Sarvodaya program has a strong and clear working structure. Programs always begin with an invitation from the people of a village to talk about what is needed to improve the lives of the villagers and how this can be done. It proceeds in stages through creating a village council, building a school and clinic, setting up family programs, creating economic opportunities, promoting self-reliance, setting up a village bank and offering help to other villages.


Sarvodaya has also gained notoriety by organizing and sponsoring public meditations in which hundreds and sometimes thousands of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians meditate together on each other's welfare, using the Buddhist Brahmavihara (sublime attitude) meditations, which are acceptable within all faiths.


In the seventies, the movement began to set up ICT telecentres in rural areas. These centres have grown into Village-Information-Centres that act as libraries. In these centres, underprivileged residents can get public education and learn computer skills.


Sarvodaya’s organisation includes 34 district offices, 10 specialized educational institutes, more than 100,000 young people who are actively involved in peace initiatives and 4335 primary schools where more than 98,000 children receive education.


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Type of initiative Information/network organization
Field of work Education
Date of commencement 1958
Founder(s) Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne
Legal form not for profit non governmental organization
Continent Asia
Country Sri Lanka
City Moratuwa
One or several keywords that describe your initiative promoting self-reliance and self governance
Publications video, newsletter, reports, educational material, newspaper
More information

Contact person(s)

Mr. Saman Algoda /


Contact information

Name Sarvodaya Headquarters
Address No 98, Rawatawatta Road
Zip/postal code
Place Moratuwa
Country Sri Lanka
Phone +9411 2647 159



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