About Senahasa Trust
The founders of the Trust have been working informally together for a number of years on local community projects in Sri Lanka. Following the Tsunami the scale of our work has grown significantly. To deal with this more effectively and to demonstrate our long-term commitment, we are now a registered charity.
Kumu Ruvigny, our Chairman, was born in Sri Lanka though has lived in England since she was seven. Having worked as a Chartered Accountant for many years, she has had her own marketing consultancy and was a magistrate. She maintains strong links with her large extended family, who are established professionals in Sri Lanka. It is through these links that we are able to work on the ground so effectively with the local people and really get things done.
Ros Morrill is a long standing friend and colleague of Kumu’s, having met at Price Waterhouse where they qualified and worked as Chartered Accountants for several years. Whilst she has no direct links with Sri Lanka, Ros has visited the projects and developed a deep personal interest in helping the communities. She uses her auditing and accounting skills to supervise the books and records in Sri Lanka and the UK.
Priyani Ratnatunga was a Senior Vice President and Partner of the Bechtel Corporation in the US and retired from the company in July 2016. Since retirement, using her Bechtel project execution experience, she has been responsible for leading all the Senahasa projects on the ground. She has been continually involved with Senahasa since the inception of the charity and took a leave of absence from Bechtel in 2005 to organise the initial set up of our projects in southern Sri Lanka with her mother, Carmen Ratnatunga. She now spends a significant amount of time in Sri Lanka each year running our projects locally.
The team is supported by:
- Harsha Seneviratne, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Colombo, for healthcare projects
- Dr Ranjit Galappatti, a senior consultant in Hydraulics, for construction and water projects
- Dr Janaki Galappatti, former vice principal of Ladies College, Colombo, for education projects
In memory of our founder
Carmen Ratnatunga, who has worked on charitable projects in Sri Lanka for 25 years, led our team on the ground. She had an extensive network of contacts with government advisors and other professionals, and strong links with local priests and community leaders. She worked tirelessly on Senahasa projects and having passed away in 2014, we are proud that her legacy lives on.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you make a difference when you are so small in comparison to government agencies?
We are in the strong position of having people on the ground that speak the language and can really understand the needs of local communities. We can address problems on a community by community basis. Once needs are identified, and funds allocated, our team on the ground monitor the projects from start to finish and after. We make sure things get done and follow up to make sure that benefits are on-going.
Which geographic areas are you focussing your support at the moment? Why?
We work in two of the worst hit areas in Sri Lanka – the Galle District in the south west and the Hambantota District in the south east. Both are densely populated regions and so the impact of the Tsunami was immense. We are also working in a non-Tsunami area, Amparai in the Eastern part of the island. Rural communities here are extremely poor and have traditionally not had much help.
How do you know the money is being used for the purpose for which it is intended?
Payments are made in stages. Our team on the ground monitor a project’s progress closely to ensure that each stage is complete before further funds are released. There is also regular, almost daily, feedback to Kumu in London.
What are your long-term objectives?
Rebuilding post Tsunami will take over ten years. In conjunction with this work we continue our work on restoring water tanks (reservoirs) in the dry areas of Sri Lanka. Beyond that Senahasa will focus in rural communities, helping with education, healthcare, housing and developing local economies. The people in these communities have always looked after themselves and do not want to be aid-dependent, so our long-term objective is to provide a real turning point in their lives and help them become self-sufficient once again.
For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org