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A small village in the Kurunegala District was treated to yet another example in good corporate citizenship by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon last week when the Bank came forward to give its residents a new lease of life.
Presenting its landmark 100th IT Laboratory to the Mirihanegama Kanista Vidyalaya that serves the 247-family community of Mirihanegama, the Bank also assisted the villagers to establish a milk collection project with the help of dairy companies and presented a number of microfinance loans to residents.
Synchronising its nationally-significant IT education project with a new CSR initiative, a sustainability-linked Village Development and Livelihood Diversification programme, the Bank renewed its association with this village, to which it has extended substantial support in the past.
The fully-equipped and furnished IT Lab presented to the village school will benefit its 173 students, taking the total number of students country-wide currently served by the 100 IT Labs donated by the Commercial Bank to 100,000 students. The Bank will also assist the school to maintain the facility to ensure that it benefits many batches of students.
“We are very happy to donate our 100th IT Lab to the Mirihanegama Kanishta Vidyalaya and also to start a village rehabilitation programme here. Mirihanegama is a typical Sri Lankan rural agrarian community, whose socio-economic outlook can be improved significantly with well-targeted interventions of this nature that empower people,” Chairman of the CSR Trust of Commercial Bank Mr. Lakshman Hulugalle said. “As a Bank that has a country-wide presence and is involved with the masses as the grassroots level, Commercial Bank understands the needs of such communities and has the expertise and the commitment to help them.”
At the launch of the Milk Collection Project, the Development Credit Department of Commercial Bank presented microfinance loans to seven Mirihanegama residents to support the expansion of their agricultural pursuits and other self-employment projects.
These activities are a follow-up to the support Commercial Bank provided to Mirihanegama in 1995-96, which encompassed the restoration of the Pallehapitiya Tank, refurbishment of the school buildings, and the disbursement of micro loans for cultivation and self-employment.
The Bank’s Village Development and Livelihood Diversification programme is funded and supervised by the Commercial Bank CSR Trust, which is responsible for identifying priorities, selecting beneficiaries and overlooking the execution of projects. The CSR Trust was established in 2004, and the Bank makes a substantial contribution from of its post tax profit annually towards the Trust’s projects.
Besides its flagship CSR initiative targeted at improving IT literacy on a national scale, Commercial Bank grants scholarships and presents laptops to undergraduates annually, supports healthcare projects around the country, has launched an English education programme for rural children and funds welfare activities for war heroes and projects for the preservation of culture and heritage.
The selected programmes are sustained over a long period and are aligned with national priorities and the Bank’s own vision and mission. The Bank is committed to their sustenance over the long term, and has, in addition to allocating funds, assigned staff resources and management representation to these projects to ensure they are well implemented and sustained.
This approach by the Bank was acknowledged by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last year when it awarded Commercial Bank the Gold award in the ‘Education & Training’ category at the 2012 Best Corporate Citizen Awards for the Bank’s country-wide programme of donations of fully-equipped computer labs to schools and special needs groups and its annual scholarships for undergraduates.
The largest private bank in Sri Lanka, Commercial Bank is the only Sri Lankan bank to be ranked among the world’s top 1000 banks for three successive years. The Bank operates a network of 232 branches and service points in Sri Lanka and an ATM network of 575 terminals, the largest cash dispensing facility operated in the country by a single bank. Adjudged ‘Best Bank in Sri Lanka’ for 15 consecutive years by ‘Global Finance’ Magazine Commercial Bank has also won multiple awards as the country’s best bank from ‘The Banker,’ ‘FinanceAsia,’ ‘Euromoney’ and ‘Trade Finance’ magazines.
1. From left: Chairman of the CSR Trust of Commercial Bank Mr. Lakshman Hulugalle, the Bank's Managing Director/CEO Mr. Ravi Dias and Chief Financial Officer Mr. Nandika Buddhipala at the new IT lab.
2. Manager of the Commercial Bank Wariyapola Branch Mr. Wasantha Perera (centre) presents a milk container to a farmer. Senior Manager - Development Credit Department of the Bank Mr. Elmo Sooriyarachchi is also in the picture.