May 31, Colombo: In the wake of Sri Lanka’s unprecedented socio-economic crisis in early 2022, the John Keells Group
launched a multi-pronged Crisis Response Initiative through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
entity, John Keells Foundation.
Implemented in partnership with Group businesses across the Island,
this initiative has made significant strides in supporting and empowering communities, aligning with
the Group’s CSR vision of "Empowering the Nation for Tomorrow."
The programs implemented within the initiative focused on three key areas: Health & Nutrition,
Education, and Livelihood Development.
Planned for a period of six to twelve months, the objective
of these programs was to address the immediate challenges faced by communities while providing
them with the skills and resources necessary to foster self-reliance in the long run. After the incubation,
monitoring, and evaluation period, full responsibility for the initiatives would rest with the relevant
stakeholders and communities.
The Home Gardening Programme - one of the first launched under the Initiative - has empowered
1,284 households situated in locations surrounding the Group’s businesses with the participants being
provided with inputs and knowledge to establish and maintain a home garden.
encourages families to grow their own food to enhance nutrition accessibility and affordability. Many
participating families recorded a bountiful harvest enabling them to meet their domestic requirement
Another critical initiative was the Sustainable Farming Programme which played a pivotal role in
supporting 28 farmlands around Cinnamon resorts, covering a total of 19 acres. This initiative not only
sustained local livelihoods but also bolstered food and nutrition security in these areas. Through this
program, farmers received inputs, equipment, technical support, and guidance in relation to modern
agricultural practices such as drip irrigation, insect proof nets, ploy mulching technology, and sprinkler
irrigation system. As a sub initiative of this program, model farms were set up in Ranala by Ceylon
Cold Stores PLC and in Pannala by Keells Food Products, while greenhouses were established at
Cinnamon Bentota Beach and Cinnamon Lodge Habarana. These initiatives have not only fostered
self-reliance among staff and communities but also provided an invaluable learning space for
employees, community members and university students to exchange knowledge on best farming
The ‘Pasal Diriya’ school meal program was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of
Education and the Group businesses - Ceylon Cold Stores, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts and John
Keells Properties - to coincide with National Children’s Day 2022.
Through the program 2,951
students from eleven selected schools in the Western, Eastern, and Southern Provinces as well as three
pre-schools in the North Central Province were provided with daily school meals.
As of March 31,
2023, ten schools have been equipped with school kitchens and a total of 125,977 meals have been
Furthermore, a pilot home gardening project was launched in one school, towards creating
sustainable ecosystems for schools to supplement nutritious meals for children.
participation of children, teachers, and parents in preparing the school garden has been truly
encouraging, with its first harvest of vegetables being used for a meal served to 126 students.
Under the Education focus, John Keells Foundation also expanded its English Language Scholarship
Programme (focused on providing English and IT skills to pre-O’Level school children), Higher
Education Scholarship Programme (disbursing stipends to A’Level and University students), and the
Digital Learning Initiative (providing tab devices and data packages to O’Level and A’Level students
in identified schools) in an effort to encourage students from underprivileged communities to continue
their education. In the financial year 2022/23, these initiatives have supported a total of 1,140 students.
Moreover, additional programs were introduced to address the mental health and wellbeing of
children and youth affected by prolonged school closures and restricted activities.