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 From the desk of the President of DVF
The Dharmavijaya Foundation has entered the fourth decade of service after its incorporation by an Act of Parliament in 1979. During the thirty four years of existence as an incorporated body the Foundation has endeavoured to work according to its mission, which is, to promote the total development of man, both spiritually and physically, with the application of Buddhist principles to development, and thereby establish a Dharmavijaya Samajaya. We always have as our vision the guiding principle as set down by our Founder Patron, the Most Venerable Aggamahapandita Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayaka Thera, of developing the country along with the moral development of man.

During the 34 years of its existence, the DVF has gained recognition both locally and overseas; has met with enhanced acknowledgement as a trusted NGO; and has progressively gained in influence. The management of the DVF is by a thirty member Board of Trustees who works entirely on an honorary capacity. They meet regularly on every Thursday of a week and the weekly meetings are also attended by its Patron monk. The guiding principle in all matters is its motto 'Concord indeed is Commendable' and all decisions are by consensus. The DVF is transparent in its decision making process and we value it very much.

The main sources of funding are Trusts, Endowments and donations. Currently there are 58 Trusts administered by the Board and these have been created by benefactors for specific purposes in keeping with the objectives of the Foundation and in support of the fourfold programme. This alone is ample testimony of the confidence placed in the manner funds are being disbursed with careful consideration and planning. Accounts are audited annually by a reputed firm of auditors and are up to date.

We are very happy that the DVF has been able to influence national policy on various aspects. For instance, the DVF played a key role in conceptualising and implementing the 20 point Plan of Action to commemorate the 2600 Sambuddhatva Jayanti and the DVF is represented in the Presidential Sambuddhatva Steering Committee. Furthermore, both nationally and internationally a lasting contribution has been made in formulating a legal framework for tobacco and alcohol control. It is also represented in Advisory Committees of the Ministries of Education and Health.

Details of our activities under the fourfold programme of work - economic, educational, health and moral development, are unfolded in the DVF website. The main objective of the new web site that is being launched is to share with and update all those who have been supporting us over the years, on our current and future programmes of work and our concerns and tribulations. We are a dynamic organisation and are undeterred in the face of new challenges that crop up almost daily. Hence, we constantly review our work and see how best we could contribute to the fourfold development process.

Two issues have caught our attention this year. One is the problem of non-communicable diseases that account for seven out of ten deaths that occur annually. The other is the chronic kidney disease that affects the people living in the North Central Province, North Western Province and the Eastern Province. We have launched two projects in the Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts and to move forward our biggest constraint is transport. The vehicle we had was over twenty years old and had to be sold because of the heavy repairs. We hope a well-wisher will come forward and help us out.

We are very concerned that there has been a marked increase of corruption, alcohol consumption and crime in recent times. Current statistical data confirm this. These are challenges that have to be met. The rule of law should be established and the external corrupting elements, the lack of shame and fear to do wrong should be curbed. This is a major task and we have already launched a campaign through our network of Dharmavijaya Samajas (DVSs) at the grassroots level.
In this regard, we consider that a pivotal role has to be played by the President of a temple-based DVS, who invariably is the chief incumbent of the temple. We work much of our programmes through the DVSs and success, to a large extent, depends on his leadership and stimulus. Currently there are 450 DVSs, some of which, we are aware are non-functional. A major undertaking that is in hand is to make them vibrant entities for which visits and constant contact are essential.

We note, however, that in contrast to the upsurge of corruption and lawlessness that we see around, there definitely is a resurgence of piety as noted by greater attendance in temples of people, especially youth, observing the eight precepts. Thus the DVF does take credit, even modestly, for the influence of the spread of wholesome practices and principles bringing a change for the betterment of society, however minuscule it is.

The very continuance of the DVF, as an organization in the forefront of helping those less privileged to help themselves, and as a positive influence in the regeneration of a righteous society and resurgence of moral living, is of paramount importance. It is with deep appreciation that we acknowledge the support we have received so far and we wish, especially our friends abroad, to come forward and work with us by making your contributions. Every cent that you donate will be accounted for.

Friends, we need your continued unstinted support because the challenges are many and the tasks ahead are gigantic. It is our hope that these efforts of ours will help in making this beautiful country of ours, with an unparalleled history and culture, a beacon light for the rest of the world, and thereby contribute towards the progress of humanity.

Deshabandhu Olcott Gunasekera
March 14, 2012