You know about his bowling hand,
but not about his helping hand
By Marisa de Silva
His exploits on the field are legendary and all Sri Lankans cheer
him on whenever he runs in to bowl. But there's a side to spin wizard
Muttiah Muralidaran that even his most ardent fans may be unaware
of - his burning desire to help the needy.
we have, we should give, because when we die we don't take anything
with us," says the King of Spin. And true to this philosophy,
Murali is the joint founder of the Muralidaran-Gunasekera Foundation
(MGF), a service-oriented organisation set up to help the underprivileged.
MGF was launched two years ago when Kushil Gunasekera, Murali's
Manager and co-founder of the MGF, asked him to distribute essential
items to some children in the Seenigama village. Murali was keen
to do more for the less fortunate and so began MGF.
donated the entire proceeds of his Hameedia's advertising campaign
to launch the project and from then onwards there was no turning
back. "The beauty of life does not depend on how happy you
are but on how happy others are because of you" was their slogan.
Kushil himself has always had a passion for helping people and is
actively involved in many other charities apart from the MGF.
MGF's service projects are varied. They include providing English
and computer lessons to children and youth, creating self-employment
opportunities for those in rural areas, organising sports events,
supporting elders, donating essential school items to children and
building health care and nutritional institutions.
their efforts have touched the lives of many is evident from the
many notes and letters they receive. Wrote young K. D. Sunil Shantha
from Weerawila, "I was so inspired after receiving your donation
to cover all my educational expenses including the boarding fees
on account of the Advanced Level examination, especially from our
national hero. This has made me more determined to achieve outstanding
results making your investment in me, more worthwhile".
they get numerous appeals from people across the country: from young
talented sports people seeking assistance to either buy equipment
or tour abroad to those in need of immediate aid for health problems.
There are also requests to provide financial assistance to university
students. However, both Kushil and Murali emphasised that they always
check back on each appeal that they receive, instead of blindly
doling out money. More often than not, the appeals are legitimate
and genuine, says Kushil.
hearing about young Dulanjali, who was born without arms but, displayed
a tremendous ability with the organ and the computer by using her
feet, the MGF went in search of her to ask if she was in need of
anything in particular.
Once her wish was granted, Dulanjani, a resident of MarcSri Children's
Home in Kalutara wrote:
"I am very happy I can print this letter on my computer because
of the cartridges you sent me. I enjoyed watching the cartoon VCDs
you sent me. I thank you both very much. I watch your cricket matches
on the TV.
"Dear Murali aiyya, you are fine. CONGRATULATIONS!
Sriyani Karunatilleke, another beneficiary of MGF, expressed her
gratitude in these words:
came to our rescue when we had absolutely no idea how to find funds
to treat our daughter suffering from a nerve disorder. Thanks to
you, she has made some progress."
future of the MGF depends on the funding it gets. Murali adds that
he can always raise funds for the MGF and as long as generous donors
are willing to contribute towards the fund, it should be able to
continue its good work. "I like to do my bit, even in my own
little way because there are so many people out there who are desperately
in need of a helping hand," says the spin wizard.
who would like to learn more about or contribute towards these charities
could contact Kushil Gunasekera on email@example.com or visit
their website at www.unconditionalcompassion.com