HT Image
HT Image

Of the wizard and his philanthropic activities

As destructive as he is on the field, hurling the ball with untiring menace, off the field Muttiah Muralitharan is a creative force doing good deeds that go well above the call of duty, reports Anand Vasu.
By Anand Vasu | Hindustan Times, Galle
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2008 11:42 PM IST

As destructive as he is on the field, hurling the ball with untiring menace, off the field Muttiah Muralitharan is a creative force doing good deeds that go well above the call of duty. If you marvel at his achievements on the field — and they are unmatched — the work he has done off the field will floor you.

While sportsmen and celebrities of all kind usually turn to philanthropy now and then, it's hard to find someone who has done so much, personally, for a cause. To see for yourself you have to take a 22-kilometre drive from Galle, towards Colombo to the village of Seenigama, one of the worst affected by the 2004 tsunami. Over there you will find the Foundation of Goodness, an organisation that has touched the lives of people from 25 villages.

The starting point for the activities that the Foundation undertakes is the MCC Centre of Excellence, funded by the Marylebourne Cricket Club in London. Kushil Gunasekara, Murali's close friend and business manager, donated his ancestral property to provide a location for the Foundation's activities.

The property, called Lahiru, which translates to Rays of sunlight, was initially a holiday home built with the purpose of attracting tourists to the area. After the tsunami hit, though, Gunasekara, who is trustee of the Foundation with Murali and Chaminda Vaas as directors, gave new direction to the project.

Moving systematically to meet the need of the hour in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami, more than 1000 houses were built for those displaced. But since then this has grown well beyond a mere housing project with over 21,000 families benefitting one way or another. The Centre of Excellence hosts a general polyclinic where doctors treat patients for free and the amply equipped pharmacy does not charge for the medicines it dispenses. Alongside is a specialised dental clinic.

In other clusters there is a Women's Enterprise department where a wide range of education is imparted, from sewing and cookery, to scholastic pusuits. Once a person completes a basic course she is then sent to a business class. The well-equipped and modernly designed computer labs allow children from the villages to learn to use the machines aside from lessons on web designing and operation of basic software. Even those too young to use these facilities are not left out and bunch of tots were running amok in the free play school.

Just beyond the Centre the Foundation has rolled out what it calls is a model project, the Village Heartbeat. The aim is to ensure that every village has access to a computer centre, a library, a classroom and a community hall. Udumalle, the village where this flagship project was launched, has all these, and is the envy of the other hamlets around Galle.

And of course, there is a cricket ground, the Seenigama Oval, set up with help from the Surrey County Cricket Club. The main beneficiaries are the children from the Buddhivimala Vidyalaya, the school that shares a wall with the ground.

By the time you finish a tour of the areas that the Foundation of Goodness has touched you realise just how much is possible if those who have the power to do good use it effectively. The list of achievements is long and still growing. Much like Murali's achievements on the field.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Robin Uthappa plays a pull. (IPL)
Robin Uthappa plays a pull. (IPL)

IPL 2021: Rajasthan Royals trade Robin Uthappa to Chennai Super Kings

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 11:51 PM IST
  • IPL 2021: Robin Uthappa was brought by the Royals ahead of the IPL 2020, but the batsman had a very indifferent season, scoring 196 runs from 12 matches.
Close
Ben Stokes (L) and Jofra Archer. (Getty Images)
Ben Stokes (L) and Jofra Archer. (Getty Images)

Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes return as England name squad for first two India Tests

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 07:44 PM IST
  • Archer and Stokes were rested for England's two-Test series against Sri Lanka.
Close
Hanuma Vihari (on the ground) receives treatment. (Getty Images)
Hanuma Vihari (on the ground) receives treatment. (Getty Images)

'Took injection, couldn't feel my leg': Vihari describes batting through pain

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 06:02 PM IST
  • Moments into his innings, Hanuma Vihari ran a single and grimaced in pain, and it was at that moment that everyone knew he had done something to his hamstring.
Close
File image of Scott Styris. (Getty Images)
File image of Scott Styris. (Getty Images)

'MS Dhoni mentioned it': Styris feels CSK are in 'big trouble' ahead of IPL 2021

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:42 PM IST
  • Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris is worried for Chennai Super Kings ahead of IPL 2021 after they released their list of retained and released players.
Close
Rahul Dravid has been phenomenal as coach. (Getty Images)
Rahul Dravid has been phenomenal as coach. (Getty Images)

'He tried to make them The Wall too': Inzamam lauds Dravid's contribution

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:00 PM IST
  • Inzamam praised Dravid for what he's done for Indian cricket, highlighting that his biggest strength was making the players mentally tough, without which India's Test series win against Australia wouldn't have been possible.
Close
India's Rishabh Pant hits the ball to the boundary on the final day of the fourth cricket test against Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.India won the four test series 2-1. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)(AP)
India's Rishabh Pant hits the ball to the boundary on the final day of the fourth cricket test against Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.India won the four test series 2-1. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)(AP)

Don't want to be compared with Dhoni: Pant aims to 'make a name' for himself

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 01:07 PM IST
Rishabh Pant who broke MS Dhoni's record to become the fastest India wicket-keeper to a thousand Test runs, said he doesn't want to be compared with anyone.
Close
File image of India's fielding coach R Sridhar. (Getty Images)
File image of India's fielding coach R Sridhar. (Getty Images)

Wear that 36 all out like a badge, R Sridhar recalls 'Raviship' and more

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 08:00 PM IST
  • India's fielding coach R Sridhar opened about the tour in an elaborate chat, asserting it will be difficult to surpass what the team went through in the past one month - from hitting the nadir to reaching the zenith.
Close
File photo of Australian Test captain Tim Paine(Action Images via Reuters)
File photo of Australian Test captain Tim Paine(Action Images via Reuters)

‘He might get the captaincy’, Chappell names the potential replacement of Paine

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 07:05 PM IST
Former skipper Ian Chappell feels that Steve Smith might get back the post if there is no other choice to replace Tim Paine
Close
Indian bowler Mohammed Siraj praying at his late father Mohammed Ghaus's grave(ANI/Twitter)
Indian bowler Mohammed Siraj praying at his late father Mohammed Ghaus's grave(ANI/Twitter)

'Couldn't speak to him but offered flowers to his grave'

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 05:55 PM IST
Siraj is now back in India and the first thing he did after landing home was visiting his father’s grave. He sat there for a while and offered prayers and flowers.
Close
Hopefully they are full of energy and ready to go when they get here: Root on Archer and Stokes. (Getty Images)
Hopefully they are full of energy and ready to go when they get here: Root on Archer and Stokes. (Getty Images)

'A huge boost,' Root pumped about Stokes, Archer's return for India Tests

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2021 05:05 PM IST
  • Stokes and Archer were rested for the Sri Lanka Tests but are fully expected to be named in England's squad which will be announced later Thursday.
Close
Sri Lanka Cricket is confident that the England series will be on.(Getty Images)
Sri Lanka Cricket is confident that the England series will be on.(Getty Images)

SLC instructs team manager to submit report on alleged misconduct by player

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 04:58 PM IST
Sri Lankan cricket found itself in the middle of an ugly controversy after multiple reports in the local media hinted at a spin bowling all-rounder in his 20s being found with a female official of the team in a hotel room.
Close
File photo of KKR coach Brendon McCullum(Twitter)
File photo of KKR coach Brendon McCullum(Twitter)

KKR will be very competitive this year, says head coach McCullum

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 04:50 PM IST
McCullum was pleased to retain the core squad for the upcoming tournament and said his team will be very competitive in this year's IPL.
Close
Australia's Josh Hazlewood reacts as India's Rishabh Pant, right, celebrates after hitting the winning runs to defeat Australia by three wickets on the final day of the fourth cricket test at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.India won the four test series 2-1. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)(AP)
Australia's Josh Hazlewood reacts as India's Rishabh Pant, right, celebrates after hitting the winning runs to defeat Australia by three wickets on the final day of the fourth cricket test at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.India won the four test series 2-1. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)(AP)

'Not too many times that you lose to a second or third choice side': Warne

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 03:32 PM IST
Shane Warne questioned Australia captain Tim Paine's approach in the series against India and said his tactics were not good enough.
Close
**EDS: HANDOUT IMAGE PROVIDED BY SRI LANKA CRICKET ON FRIDAY, JAN. 15, 2021** Galle: England captain Joe Root plays a sweep shot during the first test match between Sri Lanka and Engaland at Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (PTI Photo)(PTI01_15_2021_000234B)(PTI)
**EDS: HANDOUT IMAGE PROVIDED BY SRI LANKA CRICKET ON FRIDAY, JAN. 15, 2021** Galle: England captain Joe Root plays a sweep shot during the first test match between Sri Lanka and Engaland at Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle, Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (PTI Photo)(PTI01_15_2021_000234B)(PTI)

Draw not an option for England in 2nd test against Sri Lanka

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 03:08 PM IST
England hasn't lost a series in Sri Lanka since 2007, having generally countered spin bowling well to find success.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP