5 Nov, 2021
John Keells Foundation celebrated its annual Volunteer Recognition Day on 5th November 2021. The event which was graced by Group Chairman, Krishan Balendra, together with representation of the senior management recognized and felicitated the dedication of CSR volunteers of 2020/21 to uplift and empower communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Although opportunities for field engagement were restricted due to the pandemic context, there were many who supported the Foundation’s activities through skill-based volunteerism and admin support as the Foundation adapted its programs to the pandemic context.
The event, which was conducted virtually this year, highlighted the engagement and commitment of 226 volunteers recording 388 volunteer instances and 900 volunteer hours in initiatives led or supported by the Foundation during the financial year. The strategic engagement of businesses and their staff especially through John Keells Praja Shakthi and COVID relief initiatives were highlighted at this year’s event.
The event commenced with the welcome address by President, Legal, Secretarial, and Corporate Social Responsibility, Nadija Tambiah who commended the volunteers for their engagement in skill based volunteerism and support despite the challenges posed by the pandemic as well as the success of JKF’s activities in empowering communities. The Foundation paid tribute to its volunteers of 20/21 through a moving video capturing highlights of the year.
Carmeline Jayasuriya, the Head of Operations of the Foundation, presented the highlights of John Keells Foundation for 2020-21, sharing the strategies and innovations adopted to achieve its plans during a pandemic-riddled year. Notable achievements included sustainable Women’s Empowerment initiatives in Hikkaduwa and Ranala through John Keells Praja Shakthi, Project WAVE public campaign through TV, SM and digital screens as well as launch of the e–module for staff, Launch of new projects such as Substance Abuse Prevention Awareness in Hikkaduwa and Colombo and SKIP (Skills into Progress) to support supply chain management of Leisure Inbound and Keells, introduction of Kala Pola Online edition and virtual formats of English and Soft Skills programs as well as the successful public vesting of a farmer anicut and project closure under Village Adoption Project – Mullaitivu during the year, all conducted in collaboration with, and strategic visibility for, Group businesses in the respective locations.
Group Chairman, Krishan Balendra commended the commitment of Group volunteers and businesses towards strategic CSR initiatives such as Praja Shakthi and COVID relief notwithstanding the challenges posed by the pandemic.
A total of 13 gold, 20 silver, 41 bronze and 120 merit awardees were recognized and awarded at the event. Shoma Poologasingam, Associate Forensic Datana Analyst, GBPR was awarded a BRAVO as the volunteer with the highest number of volunteer engagements in diverse projects during 20/21 comprising both field and admin engagement, notably in the Village Adoption Project in Mullaitivu. All gold, silver and bronze awardees received e-certificates while all volunteerism is recognized under the Group’s Performance Appraisal cycle.
The session was concluded with the vote of thanks given by Devanshi Fernando, JKF’s Manager while Sashi Rathnayake, a gold awardee, volunteered as the event MC.