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“So too, monks, I saw the ancient path, the ancient road traveled by the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”
~ The Buddha
SN 12:65


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.

December 2017-This is the latest update of the Sri Henepola Gunaratana Scholarship Trust information. LATEST REPORT OF SHGST (SRI HENEPOLA GUNARATANA SCHOLARSHIP TRUST) The following are minutes of the meeting on Saturday 9th December 2017. QUOTE Ms. Lakshmi De Zoysa, Mrs. Mallika Samaranayake, Dr. Percy Gunathilake, Dr. Asoka Kasturiarachchi and Asitha Wijesekera were present as trustees and Mrs.Surangi Darmasekera (SHGTF) and Mr Lakmal (Mallika’s Office) were present as assistants for this meeting The following matters were taken up for discussion and were resolved. 1. A detailed study of the available funds and the monthly revenue in terms of interest accrued out of fixed deposits was made and found that a further 50 scholarships could be awarded to students from the two new villages in Sellakatharagama. Therefore the total number of scholarship recipients as at present would stand as follows. A) Henepola 34 B) Akkara Wissa. 27 C) Galahitiyagama 22 This would add up to 83 Students. 2. There will be a visit made by Mallika, Lakshmi and myself on 12th December to make a presentation on the selection criteria to the villagers and hand over applications and address the children and families of scholarship recipients. They will thereafter complete applications and post it back to the trust before the end of the year. A final presentation of scholarships will take place on Saturday 27th January 2018 in the presence of the District Secretary, School Principal and the two chief incumbents of the village temples. The prospect of handing over school gear, shoes etc to the children at the same time, needs to be discussed and resolved prior to this date. 3. The budgetary requirements to continue awarding scholarships during the year 2018 was discussed and was found to be in order. The introduction of spoken English for a chosen grade was also discussed and was decided that this would be discussed with the school principal. The current scholarship rates will remain as follows. Grade 1 to 9 - Rs 1500/ per month , Grades 10 & 11 - Rs 2000/ per month , Grades 12 &13 - Rs. 2500/per month and Undergraduate studies Rs 2500/per month. 4. The current situation at Henepola was discussed and it was decided that we evaluate the progress of the recipients through their year end School reports which they have to send by the 15th of January 2018. This requirement will be sent to them with their final check for this year shortly. 5. All current outstanding dues from the trust was settled and checks issued at this meeting 6. The Trust decided to speak to the Bank and see if we could negotiate current interest rates to enhance returns. It was also decide to transfer Rs 2 million from the savings account to a fixed term investment. That would bring the total investments to Rs 24 Million. 7. Under any other business, it was decided to appoint a working committee to the Trust comprising of a person from the Institute of Personnel Management ( introduced by Lakshmi) and a person from the Department of Census and Statistics ( introduced by Mallika) and Surangi ( from SHGST) to evaluate the progress made by scholarship recipients and the overall contribution made by the trust to the respective villages. The scope of work and terms of reference for this committee is to be decided at the next SHGST Meeting in January/February 2018.

Our Work

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:

Dear Friends,

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:

  1. The chief monk in Tumpane district
  2. The head monk of the Henepola temple

  3. The government agent of Galagedara, Tumpane

  4. The deputy director of divisional education, Galagedara.

Categories of scholarships:

  1. Student qualified for the university (G.C.E.A/l: General Certification of Education Advance level.)

  2. Students qualified for the (G. C. E. A/L)

  3. Qualified students from the members of the Henepola temple.
  4. Students qualified for technical institutions

  5. 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.

With Metta,
Bhante Gunaratana

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Updated: Mar 12, 2018

Donate by Mail

To make a tax deductible donation by mail, send a check or money order payable to "Sri Henepola Gunaratana Scholarship Trust" (or "SHGS Trust") to:

Sri Henepola Gunaratana Scholarship Trust

C/O The Bhavana Society

Rt. 1, Box 218-3

High View, WV 26808 USA