By Dimithri Wijesinghe
Ahead of World Kindness Day, observed on 13 November, we thought to shed light on a great initiative by Janaposha Foundation which provides a year round “dansala” that has blessed any and all who come to the General Hospital (National Hospital of Sri Lanka).
“Dansala” – in reality is a non-secular practice carried out by people of faith during certain religious festivals, but the terminology hardly does justice to what is being carried out at Wipulasena Mawatha, Colombo 10.
Janaposha Foundation provides free meals, both breakfast and lunch, to all those who come to the General Hospital, be it as a patient or to visit with a patient.
It has proven to be a massive relief to many who travel from the far corners of the country, for the best health care service the island has to provide.
Speaking with, the Janaposha Lot Manager M. Nazear, about its vicinity to the General Hospital he said: “It is the primary hub where most people in our country would congregate; this location allows us to reach as many people as we possibly can.”
“Reaching as many people as possible” appears to be the ultimate goal as Janaposha gives out 400 – 500 free meals daily for lunch and nearly 150 meals for breakfast.
When asked about who initiated this free meal project, Nazear simply said that it is “Sadaqah” and that “what matters most is that people are reaping its benefits and it is providing a service to someone in need.”
The venue consists of eight employees, a diverse group of young and old, all working together to provide a fantastic, efficient and dedicated service to all those who are directed to the Janaposha establishment from the General Hospital by way of a free meal ticket, given to them from the hospital.
Janaposha maintains a kitchen of their own, complete with government approved certifications of safety. The meals often consist of dhal and fish; no meats are prepared as many have reservations to certain meats, accompanied with varying vegetables. For breakfast, in addition to a curry, sambol and bread, they offer a cup of tea.
Nazear also said: “There are many who come to Colombo for the first time and we see many of them feeling helpless when they are faced with the big city, and they’re unaware of services like this, and in such situations we will reach out to them and bring them here.”
Janaposha Foundation is not affiliated with any government organisation; it is the total and whole effort of one individual who wishes to remain anonymous.
When asked why it is that this chosen Sadaqah is the giving of food, Nazear said: “Everyone feels hunger and they must all eat and not a single soul can be fed without god’s help,” adding that; “god is the provider and this is his good will.”
The people at Janaposha, despite their purely charitable efforts, have had to face various hardships along the way and it is evident that many of these external forces are from those who cannot comprehend the level of kindness and generosity carried out by the Foundation.
Nazear said: “It is a very new idea, we have been doing this for seven years now and even still, it is a fairly new concept,” it is unfortunate however that they’ve had to face many pushbacks, the idea of year round charity, with no agenda, shouldn’t be too difficult to grasp.