Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has recognised Deborah Edirisinghe, representing Sri Lanka, as the 211th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service, supporting and caring for disadvantaged children, the British High Commission said yesterday.
Debbie, aged 38, is the founder of ‘Child Action Lanka’, a network of children’s shelters based in the city of Kandy which cares for over 1,500 children. Deborah leads a team of 110 volunteers to deliver a holistic approach to care which targets the underlying causes of inequality and provides development that is sustainable and community-based. ‘Child Action Lanka’ offers housing and food, schooling and education resources, as well as counselling to ensure lower school dropout rates.
The Points of Light awards recognise outstanding volunteers every day of the week – people whose service is making a difference in their communities and whose story can inspire others to creative innovative solutions to social challenges in their own communities and beyond.
Points of Light began in America under President George H. W. Bush and today over 7,000 US Points of Light have been recognised. The scheme has the support of all living US Presidents.
As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth – is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week. By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.
“I was absolutely delighted, and surprised, to receive this news. I’m humbled and feel privileged to be a recipient of the Commonwealth Points of Light Award from Sri Lanka. Thank you for considering me. Recognition of such high status will enable the work I do with vulnerable children and women to expand the much needed support and partnerships that can further enable its continuity and growth. I am absolutely grateful for this award and recognition.”
Sarah Hulton, British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, said:
“My warmest congratulations to Debbie Edirisinghe from Sri Lanka for receiving the Commonwealth Points of Light Award. Her work in providing children with education, health and nutrition and building supportive communities is commendable. I wish her all the best as she continues this remarkable journey, helping vulnerable children in Sri Lanka have a chance at a brighter future.”
The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 54 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 54 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty the Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.