Towards creating a lasting impact on society and as an initiative towards ‘giving back’ to the people, Amãna Bank, Sri Lanka’s torchbearer of people friendly banking, recently launched its flagship CSR venture OrphanCare. Established as an independent trust under the auspices of Amãna Bank, OrphanCare aims to address a very important yet mostly unattended need of orphan children; which is the fate of orphans once they reach the age of 18 and are compelled to leave institutional care.
The OrphanCare launch event was held on 29 March 2019 at BMICH under the distinguished patronage of Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Hon Mangala Samarweera Minister of Finance, Hon Chandrani Bandara Minister of Women and Child Affairs and Development of Dry Zones, Hon Ayman Sejiny CEO of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector and Dr Indrajit Coomaraswmay, Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka with the presence of many diplomats, donors customers, staff and well-wishers.
Termed by UNICEF as ‘The Second Abandonment’, this growing concern is the challenge faced by orphans, who initially were abandoned in childhood, and who are now forced to transit or ‘age out’ of institutional care. This is a need which is seldom realized and considered in society. Care to leave orphans often face significant challenges in completing higher education, securing gainful employment, and even finding stable housing. They are disproportionately vulnerable to marginalization, discrimination, and even exploitation or abuse as they enter young adulthood.
Bereft of the family support structures, economic assistance, and life-skills training that many young adults in stable households enjoy, care-leaving orphans are often hastily ushered into society, insecure and ill-prepared for the trials of modern adult life. They have, in effect, been abandoned twice; first in childhood and then on the verge of maturity.
The OrphanCare Trust will be administered by a team of trustees who have a track record of passionate social service, which includes as Chairman of the Trust Mr Ruzly Hussain (founder of the Rotaract movement in Sri Lanka), Mr Osman Kassim (Chairman Amãna Bank) Mr K R Ravindran (former Rotary International president), Mr Rohan Tudawe (Chairman Tudawe Brothers), Mr Sharad Amalean (Co-founder MAS Holdings), Mr Tyeab Akbarally (Senior Director Akbar Brothers) Mr Harsha Amarasekera (President’s Counsel and Chairman CIC Holdings), Mr Jazri Magdon Ismail (President AAT) and Mohamed Azmeer (CEO Amãna Bank). Guided by Amãna Bank’s core values, the Trustees have instituted a strong governance framework to maintain the highest standards of integrity and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Trust.
Sharing his views Chairman of the Trust Mr Ruzly Hussain said: “OrphanCare is Amãna Bank’s novel approach to intervening in a vital and decisive aspect of care leaving orphans”. Reiterating on the problem faced Mr. Osman Kassim, Chairman of Amãna Bank, asks, “As parents, could we ever imagine ceasing all emotional and financial support to our children once they turn 18? Orphans deserve the same consideration. We believe that as a society, we have a responsibility to ensure that they are not abandoned a second time.”
Every young orphan enrolled in OrphanCare will be assigned an account into which the Trust will make periodic deposits until the orphan reaches the age of 18. At this point, the funds will become accessible to the account holder. In the discharge of all activities of the Trust from enrolment of orphans to disbursement of funds and beyond, Amãna Bank has pledged to honour Article 2 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child where all enrolments will be irrespective of the child’s or their parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or another status.
The very essence and identity of the Trust are defined by a foundational principle: every rupee donated to OrphanCare will be allocated exclusively for orphan accounts. Amãna Bank will bear all operating and administrative costs of the Trust. “We want donors to be confident,”’ Mr Mohamed Azmeer, CEO of Amãna Bank, explains, “that one hundred percent of their contributions will have a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of care-leaving orphans”.
Inviting the general public to support this initiative Mr Osman Kassim said “If you are moved and driven by our cause, we hope that you will join us in making a difference in the lives of young adults who have, for too long, been forgotten and neglected” adding the sentiments “It’s not just about giving them a chance at life. It’s about giving them a choice in their future!”
Amãna Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% stake of the Bank. The IDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated multilateral development financial institution with an authorized capital base of over USD 150 Billion which has a membership of 57 countries. Fitch Ratings, in June 2018, affirmed Amãna Bank’s National Long Term Rating of BB(lka) while revising its outlook to Positive from Stable. Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions representing the Bank.
Those interested to support Amãna Bank OrphanCare initiative can reach out by e-mailing [email protected] or calling 0773 710 342 / 0773 850 441.