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The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has built a 15,000-litre water storage and supply project to eliminate the water shortages affecting the forest monastery of Nimalawa Aranya, referred to as the ‘Holy Land of Ruhuna.’
This CSR project was commenced by the Bank following a request by the Chief Incumbent of the Nimalawa monastery, drawing attention to the water scarcity in the area, especially during times of drought. When water supply completely ceases during the dry season, the monks have barely enough water to drink and scarcely any left for sanitary purposes, the monk had pointed out.
To remedy the situation, Commercial Bank has decided to demolish the dilapidated 5000-litre water tank in close proximity to the office of the monastery, and to replace it with a 10,000-litre water tank. An electric water pump will also be installed to take purified water from a sump to the tank. The Bank will also fund the laying of pipelines connecting the new tank to another 5,000-litre tank located in the middle of the forest to distribute the water to the meditation chambers where the monks reside.
Situated in the dry zone, 8km off Tissamaharama and adjoining the Nimalawa Sanctuary and the Yala National Park, the monastery is home to historic caves and ponds and is believed to have been the meditation grounds of thousands of great Arahats or enlightened ones, including Arahat Dhammadinna approximately 2,200 years ago.
Although the monastery was overtaken by the forest for hundreds of years,it was reconstructed in December 1950 and re-established as amonastery in the presence of Matara Sri Gnanarama Thera and five other bhikkhus.
Complete with three new chambers Meththa, Karuna and Dhamma Vichchaya, it is one of the most famous forest monasteries in the country today, consisting of a Vihara, Akasa pagoda, a library, and Bo tree. Moreover, it consists of 16 caves including the Maharambhaka cave, which is believed to be the cave Arahat Dhammadinna used as his chamber.
Commercial Bank’s CSR projects, directed by the Bank’s CSR Trust,also encompass the fields of IT literacy, education, sustainability and health.
Over the years, the Bank has made an immense contribution towards the Sri Lankan education system by donating over 175 IT laboratories to needy schools, awarding of scholarships to 350 undergraduates, launching the revolutionary online learning platform “Sipnena,’ initiating a math lab programme, sponsoring vocational training through career guidance units, providing English language training for both students and teachers, and by partnering the “Smart Schools” initiative to transform the traditional classroom model.
In the area of health, the Bank has provided infrastructure and critical care equipment to over 50 children’s, maternity and general hospitals owned by the government. Improving antenatal, neonatal and paediatric healthcare facilities has been the focus of these efforts. The Bank’s health related CSR initiatives also encompass supporting initiatives for and research into the prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKDu).
The only Sri Lankan Bank to be ranked among the world’s top 1000 banks for eight years consecutively, Commercial Bank operates a network of 266 branches and 830 ATMs in Sri Lanka. The Bank has won multiple international and local awards in 2016 and 2017 and 30 international awards in 2018.
Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where it has a Representative Office in Yangon and a Microfinance company in Nay PyiTaw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I Bank with a majority stake.
Image 01: Commercial Bank Chairman Mr Dharma Dheerasinghe commissions the water tank presented by the Bank to the monastery in the presence of the monks, the Bank’s Chief Operating Officer Mr Sanath Manatunge (4th from left) and representatives of the Bank.
Image 02: The water tank presented by the Commercial Bank to the NimalawaAranya monastery.