Sri Henepola Gunaratana Scholarship Trust (SHGST)
The Sri Henepola Gunaratana Scholarship Trust (SHGST) is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for poverty stricken children in rural Sri Lanka. The Scholarship Trust provides deserving children with an education, which helps them raise their standard of living above the poverty level. The Trust was founded in 2005 under the spiritual guidance of Dr. Henepola Gunaratana Nayaka Thera, and is administered by a board of trustees and dedicated volunteers in the United States and Sri Lanka.
The Sri Henepola Gunaratana Scholarship Trust is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for poverty stricken children in rural Sri Lanka. The mission of the Scholarship Trust is well articulated in a letter that Bhante Gunaratana wrote after returning from Sri Lanka following the devastating tsunami of 2004:
During my last visit to Sri Lanka I witnessed the general level of poverty in the rural areas. There are very bright children whose parents are unable to provide them with the basic requirements for their education. Even so, the youngsters are creative and imaginative. In Colombo, the capital city, I watched a concert presented by some children who had made musical instruments from scattered debris. They made beautiful music on instruments made of PVC pipes, empty water bottles, ropes, wires, pieces of wood, empty beer and soda cans.
Many of these children don’t have even simple necessities such as shoes, decent clothes, school bags, notebooks, pens, pencils and erasers. Poverty-stricken parents cannot provide them with these basic materials for their education. So they don't send them to school, or the children themselves are too ashamed to go. If they do go, they typically have to walk miles -- barefoot -- because their parents can't afford bus fare for them.
Malnutrition is another problem. Many children don’t have enough to eat before going to school and after returning home from school. Some of them wear the same pair of pants and shirt all the time, because it is all they have.
Almost all foreign aid goes to natural disaster victims, who deserve all the attention in the world. At the same time, however, children in rural areas should not be neglected. The purpose of this Scholarship Trust is to provide some deserving children in Sri Lanka with an education, so they can raise their standard of living above poverty level. We invite our friends to contribute to this Trust, and ask them to consider how meaningful it would be to know that you have helped a child continue his/her education without worrying about how to buy a meal or school clothes or supplies, or where they will get bus fare to travel to school.
Once the Trust is established, we invite the donors to visit Sri Lanka and meet the students they support, and encourage them to pursue their education more vigilantly. our immediate plan is to establish this scholarship fund for young people living in Tumpane district in Sri Lanka, where I was born.
Board of trustees:
- The chief monk in Tumpane district
- The head monk of the Henepola temple
- The government agent of Galagedara, Tumpane
- The deputy director of divisional education, Galagedara.
Categories of scholarships:
- Student qualified for the university (G.C.E.A/l: General Certification of Education Advance level.)
- Students qualified for the (G. C. E. A/L)
- Qualified students from the members of the Henepola temple.
- Students qualified for technical institutions
- Students of grade five.
Eligibility for receiving scholarships:
All the candidates should be successful in their school examinations with above average marks in all the subjects. The school principal and the class teacher should endorse their academic performance. They should obtain a character certificate from the head monk of their respective temple. The student who receives a scholarship must maintain his/her grade through university. If they discontinue their education the scholarship will be transferred to another student who qualifies.