Ceylinco Life supports community education and health | Sunday Observer

Ceylinco Life supports community education and health

A strong believer in supporting communities with long term initiatives, Ceylinco Life Chairman R. Renganathan said 2018, its 31st year in operation, was a busy one with the donation of purpose-built classrooms to five schools, the conduct of 24 free medical camps that benefited 5,400 people and the deployment of staff to renovate 38 classroom buildings donated by the company.

In this interview, Ceylinco Life Chairman Renganathan outlines on the Company’s approach to CSR.

Excerpts:

Q: What is the rationale behind Ceylinco Life’s choice of education and healthcare as the main focus of its CSR initiatives?

A. On the face of it, these two areas would appear to be the most logical to support. That results in many organisations choosing these areas for CSR programs. But contrary to popular perception, education and health continue to be areas in which needs far exceed solutions.

As the largest life insurer in the country, Ceylinco Life interacts with the masses in every district of the country, and we are aware of the extent to which education and healthcare need support, especially in the rural areas.

Q: Why do you think there isn’t adequate support for education and healthcare?

A. These are two areas that, to Sri Lanka’s credit, continue to be funded by the state. The vast majority of our population is dependent on free education and free healthcare. This also means that the burden on the state is huge, and with population growth on one hand, and an ageing population on the other, the state simply cannot cope with the demand for education and healthcare. Many private sector organisations support these two sectors, but in most instances, those initiatives, while valuable, are piecemeal – they are one-off donations or programs.

Q: How does Ceylinco Life’s approach differ from that of others?

A. Our interventions are long term programs. They are centrally-funded but executed with the involvement of our branches across the country and are on-going. Our support to education and healthcare has been consistent for 15 years, and our projects continue to be monitored and sustained, ensuring that they have an impact on the lives of those targeted.

Q: Can you elaborate on Ceylinco Life’s Classroom Development Program?

A. In Sri Lanka, a majority of children depend on free education provided by state schools. But in many remote areas, schools are struggling to survive and are in need of basic infrastructure and facilities. Our Classroom Development Program addresses this by identifying needy schools and building classrooms for them. The company monitors the progress of the construction and disburses funds at the completion of each stage.

Ceylinco Life has built 75 classrooms around the country. In 2018, the company built classrooms in Trincomalee, Galle, Kurunegala, Monaragala and Anuradhapura. Construction work on seven more classrooms will be completed in 2019.

To mark the company’s 30th anniversary, we launched a project in January last year to refurbish the previously donated classrooms. We have repainted 38 classrooms and repaired roofs under the project. This was undertaken as a shramadhana by the staff of the branches.

Q: In terms of healthcare, what are the main initiatives of Ceylinco Life?

A. Insufficient access to healthcare in rural Sri Lanka is a prime concern of Ceylinco Life. The Company has taken steps to rectify this situation and promote good health in rural areas through the Waidya Hamuwa or ‘Meet the Doctor’ program, which conducts free medical camps for the needy.

The program enables people in rural areas to meet a doctor, undergo health screening tests such as BMI, blood sugar, blood pressure, ECG and eye checks and get recommendations for further treatments. These medical camps are led by doctors and nursing staff attached to the state health sector and private laboratories.

We have helped over 142,000 people through these camps in over 375 locations in the country. Some 24 camps were conducted in 2018 benefitting over 5,400 people.

Q: What are other healthcare related CSR activities the Company has been a part of?

A. Ceylinco Life has funded the creation of High Dependency Units at several government hospitals. HDUs are needed to upgrade a patient from normal care or as a step down from intensive care, helping release beds in the intensive care units.

These units are used for post-surgery care, before transferring patients to the wards, or to treat them for critical illnesses.

The company has to date built, equipped and donated High Dependency Units to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila, the National Hospital, Colombo, the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital and the Jaffna Teaching Hospital.

Q: Finally, how does Ceylinco Life define its corporate social responsibility?

A.We define CSR as the continuing commitment of the Company to create a sustainable business environment even in the remotest areas of the country through interventions in areas such as healthcare and education for needy people, while providing protection and financial security. 

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