bats for nets
Supports Country Music Foundation’s
million mosquito nets project
By Esther Williams
Sunday, April 2, country music fans will be heading down to the
Cinnamon Grand to enjoy a concert that has for many years been famous
for providing great music and more importantly a message of caring
for children in need. Country Roads, the 14th concert in the series
this year too has a mission — a mission with a difference.
the many familiar faces who will be there will be a cricketer who
has spoken out in support of the concert’s mission. That dynamic
wicket-keeper and explosive opening batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana
is also a philanthropist may come as a surprise to some. “The
national team’s success has earned us peoples’ trust.
I value and treasure it and want to give something back,”
as he is affectionately known, is actively supporting the ‘Million
Mosquito Nets for Million Children’ project, an initiative
of Arjun Krishnaratne, the musician with a cause. The Country Music
Foundation, organisers of the Country Road concert, will donate
the proceeds of this year’s show to the Million Mosquito Nets
first heard of the novel project from Krishna and fully backed this
worthy cause. “I had a tough childhood as my father died when
I was seven and my brother was six,” he recalls, explaining
his reasons for supporting a child-centred project. With their mother
working outstation, they spent most of their time with their grandfather
and aunt, seeing their mother only on the weekends.
however, did not come to him overnight. Speaking of the hard work
and dedication he had to put in, Kalu says, “It was my father’s
dream that I play for the Sri Lanka cricket team, and so I worked
hard to fulfil his dream.”
working for Sri Lanka Insurance, Kalu has more time to spare and
is aware of the many poor children, especially in the outstation
areas, who suffer without proper food. “A mosquito net is
the least of their priorities when they live a hand-to-mouth existence
without basic necessities,” he says.
cricket star believes that providing marginalised children with
mosquito nets will save them from mosquito-borne diseases such as
dengue and malaria. “Mosquito nets are the best solution that
would ensure at least a good night’s rest for them.”
says he will be visiting various places to urge people to donate
to the cause. He considers it vital not only to create awareness
among the people and secure funds but also to ensure that the nets
are given to the deserving children.
appears that humanitarian work is not new to this much-loved cricketer.
He has participated in tsunami-relief and charity work in the North-East
and other parts of the country. Not long ago, accompanied by world
famous cricket commentator Tony Greig, Kalu visited Jaffna to take
part in an International Children’s Day programme —
“Bonding with youth through sport”.
success also come certain responsibilities, Kalu believes. On a
personal note, he is extremely grateful to God and constantly conscious
of those in need. “I always tell my seven-year-old son Ramith
that he should not waste food and that he should bear in mind that
millions of people around the world go hungry each day. We cannot
do much but we need to think of them and help in any small way that
we can,” he says.
for social responsibility, he feels that cricketers should take
on roles that make them positive role models. On his life after
cricket, he says, “It is good, different and I am happy.”
says he is still in touch with the game as he continues to coach
the Colts Cricket Club. To aspiring young cricketers he says, “You
should have self-confidence and motivation to do well. If you have
faith in yourself and respect yourself and others, you will never
fail in life.”