Renowned Sri Lankan Activist and Founder of Sarvodaya Movement, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, Passes Away at 92 – South Asia Time

Renowned Sri Lankan Activist and Founder of Sarvodaya Movement, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, Passes Away at 92

 April 17, 2024  

Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, the esteemed founder of Sri Lanka’s Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, breathed his last at the age of 92 in a private hospital in Colombo yesterday. Born on November 5, 1931, Dr. Ahangamage Tudor Ariyaratne’s legacy transcends borders, as he leaves behind a profound impact on community development and peace-building initiatives.

Hailing from humble beginnings, Dr. Ariyaratne’s journey began with his primary education in a village school, followed by secondary education at Mahinda College, Galle. His thirst for knowledge led him to Vidyodaya University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and an Honorary Doctorate of D.Litt.

Embarking on a career as a high school teacher at Nalanda College, Colombo, Dr. Ariyaratne’s pioneering spirit sparked the inception of the first shramadana work camp in 1958. This humble beginning burgeoned into the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, the largest non-government organization in Sri Lanka, dedicated to grassroots empowerment and community development.

Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Ariyaratne’s unwavering commitment to fostering peace and prosperity garnered global recognition. He was honored with prestigious accolades such as the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1969, the Gandhi Peace Prize from the government of India in 1996, the Niwano Peace Prize in 1992, the King Beaudoin Award, and numerous other international honors.

Beyond his professional achievements, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne cherished his role as a father to six children, embodying the values of compassion, service, and dedication to family and community.

As Sri Lanka bids farewell to a luminary in the realm of social activism and grassroots development, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne’s legacy remains a beacon of hope, inspiring generations to come to strive for a more equitable and harmonious society.