Dec 13, Colombo: The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) together with John Keells Foundation declared open the new De Mel Park Community Centre in Colombo 02 on 9th December 2019.
The project, initiated by CMC and the Mayor of Colombo, Rosy Senanayake, was funded by John Keells Foundation (JKF) - the CSR entity of the John Keells Group - together with John Keells Properties which undertook its construction as a community development initiative.
The project is aligned with John Keells Praja Shakthi - JKF's community empowerment initiative - which catalysis active and sustained business engagement within the communities of the Group's business locations. CMC fully supported in the planning and execution of the building while undertaking the commitment to furnish, equip and manage the community center.
The Community Centre was vested in the community by the Mayor of Colombo and representatives of John Keells management. The center which serves as a multi-disciplinary facility offers a spacious and child-friendly premises for the Wekanda pre-school which doubles as a créche housing 20 children and also features an auditorium cum training room and a recreation/reading/study space.
The opening ceremony was graced by the Mayor of Colombo and the Deputy Mayor of Colombo as well as Ms. Dilani Alagaratnam, President - Legal, Human Resources and CSR - John Keells Group, Suresh Rajendra, President - Property Sector, John Keells Group, Ms. Nadija Tambiah, Head of Legal and CSR - John Keells Group and Ms. Carmeline Jayasuriya, Head of Operations - John Keells Foundation who unveiled the plaque and cut the ceremonial ribbon.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mayor of Colombo said, "The purpose of a multidisciplinary facility is not limited to a pre-school and a créche, but also to a space where the community can engage in capacity building and skill building programs. I have reached out to many organizations in Colombo to support CMC in constructing this Community Centre and I thank John Keells Holdings for taking full responsibility to construct this multidisciplinary facility as part of their community development initiatives. I invite John Keells Holdings to carry out their CSR activities at this community center to support the community to develop themselves so that they could strengthen themselves economically and with positive attitudinal change."
Speaking on behalf of the John Keells Group, Ms. Jayasuriya, Head of Operations, CSR, stated "With our head office and many other John Keells establishments being located in Colombo 02, we have been conducting multiple long term community development and social empowerment work in this area over the years under our CSR vision 'Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow' such as English and ICT scholarship classes, career guidance and vocational training, livelihood development initiatives, community awareness programs, etc. One of the main challenges in conducting these programs has been the lack of a common and conveniently located space for community members to gather. This multi-disciplinary community center was undertaken for this reason and will serve as an ideal platform for community based activities to be conducted in the future. As a corporate, we are particularly pleased to note the CMC's efforts to provide a créche facility that would enable young parents and working mothers to ensure the safe care of their children."
"On behalf of John Keells Foundation, I would like to thank the Mayor of Colombo and officials of CMC, project team at John Keells Properties, Community Leaders and others who supported the planning and construction of this multidisciplinary facility for the community."
The Divisional Secretary, Colombo, members and officials of the CMC, Grama Niladhari officials of Kompannavidiya, Hunupitiya and Wekanda, representatives of partner organizations of JKF and the community of Colombo 02 participated in the opening ceremony while enthusiastic performances by groups of pre-school students added color to the event.
JKF has been actively conducting community empowerment initiatives in Colombo 02 over the past 15 years including educational and livelihood development initiatives as well as the refurbishment and maintenance of the historic Kompannavidiya Railway Station. JKF plans to conduct many such community empowerment activities in the future in collaboration with the CMC, partner organizations and businesses of the John Keells Group.