Lance Corporal Manoj Kumara,of the Gemunu Regiment, laid down his life for his country just four days before the military victory against the LTTE. His genuine patriotism is recorded for all time in the last letter he wrote to his family - “ in a few days this land will be a fully independent country.
The lives that were lost in this struggle ensure that this murderous terrorist will never have an opportunity in our motherland”. Sadly, Manoj never lived to see that day. He came from a poverty stricken home in Ratgama. But he was not job-hunting when he joined the Army in 2007. He gave of his best and was rapidly promoted. His ambition was to build a home for his widowed mother and family.
This hope is now on the verge of becoming a reality thanks to the generosity of the All Ceylon Women’s Buddhist Congress (ACWBC). In July 2009 a journalist highlighted the pathetic plight of this hero’s family who were living like squatters in a ramshackle hut in the public cemetery of Ratgama Nayagoda. This story caught the eye of ACWBC president Chitra Dias who immediately commenced a programme to help this family. A fund was launched with a generous donation from Mrs. Dias herself. Members and well wishers rapidly made their own contributions. Many elders resident in the Congress Elders’ Homes unselfishly handed over their “widows’ mite” to the fund.
The search now began for a block of land. A generous philanthropist S.N.Rushanta of Arawwala, Pannipitiya learnt of the programme and donated a beautifully located block of land in Panagoda, to which the family was ready to relocate.
After a few delays construction began, handled by an engineer who had already built Ranaviru houses for Security personnel. ACWBC Executive Committee Member Monica Fernando, wife of the late Admiral Clancy Fernando who sacrificed his life for the country, was largely responsible for introducing this highly efficient and dedicated engineer and his team. Electricity was supplied and a well has been built for domestic purposes. The house is now complete and is being fully furnished by the donation of a generous resident lady of the ‘Suramya Home’.
It will soon be formally handed over to the family of Manoj.