Press Releases

Renowned “Little Ghandi” Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne to Speak at American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Board Meeting

Founder of Sri Lanka’s Largest Grassroots Movement to Provide Briefing


Michael Geller / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0838

Jamie Epstein / JDC Telephone: (212) 885-0849

For Immediate Release

On Monday, October 15th, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, founder of Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest grassroots movement will address the JDC’s Board of Directors at their quarterly meeting. Sarvodaya, whose motto “We build the road and the road builds us” has been the JDC’s leading partner in Tsunami recovery and relief which began two years ago.

Through the joint effort, JDC has continued helping Tsunami-affected victims through a variety of rehabilitation programs; provision of household goods, school equipment for children, community building by the construction of community centers, livelihood projects, construction of playgrounds for children across the island, women empowerment, and projects in the health sector.

Often referred to as “Little Ghandi,” Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne has earned international recognition including the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1996, the Niwano Peace Prize, the King Beaudoin Award and many other international honors for his work in peace making and village development. He will present at the JDC’s Board of Director’s meeting, whose theme is “Creating and Building Capacity: Striking a Balance for Self Sufficiency.” The event will welcome over XX prominent American philanthropists to New York’s Helmsley Hotel from Sunday, October 14-Monday October 15th to learn more about the JDC’s efforts abroad.


What: Briefing by A.T. Ariyaratne, founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka ( and winner of the 1996 Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize
Date: Monday, October 16, 2006
Time 9:30AM
Place: The Helmsley Hotel, 212 East 42nd Street
RSVP: Dara Lehon, or 212.885.0838
Photo opportunities: Founder with JDC board members, JDC Officials, Speaking; Possible interview opportunities.

About JDC

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters.

For more information, please visit

About Sarvodaya Shramadana

Founded by a Sri Lankan schoolteacher in 1958, Sarvodaya Shramadana ( is a grassroots movement dedicated to making a positive difference to the lives of rural Sri Lankans by enabling people in more than 15,000 villages in 34 districts to rediscover their ability to influence their own destinies. The largest non-government organization in Sri Lanka, with a staff of 1,500 throughout Sri Lanka Sarvodaya has energized Sri Lankans to build more than 5,000 pre-schools, community health centers, libraries and cottage industries; establish thousands of village banks; dig thousands of wells and latrines; promote biodiversity, solar energy, rehabilitation and peace. The movement’s philosophy is based on Buddhist-Gandhian philosophy, and the work crosses all ethnic and religious communities. In village after village where hopelessness and poverty ruled, Sarvodaya encourages people to live by the motto “We build the road and the road builds us.”

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