IFS used its 2023 media tour programme this year to showcase the charitable work it carries out through the organisation’s own IFS Foundation.
Deep in the rural and remote areas of Sri Lanka, IFS is investing in human community development with a view to being able to hand-over to local people who will then further the work of the foundation in a sustainable way for the future.
As well as renovating schools, homes and public facilities, the IFS is also focused on helping to increase the supply of fresh drinking water.
Why Sri Lanka?
Why would IFS be so focused on Sri Lanka? Because the company is the second largest technology employer in the country and has been in operation in the capital city Colombo for 25 years this year in 2023.
Today, IFS Sri Lanka boats more than 2,200 employees, accounting for approximately 40 percent of IFS’s global staff.
The IFS Foundation is a group of independent, charitable organisations formed in 2020 to help break the poverty cycle in Sri Lanka. It was was created to build on the work previously completed by employees of IFS in 2019.
According to IFS, “With basics like sanitation in place and quality schools and hospitals nearby, children in rural Sri Lanka stand a better chance of getting a decent education and securing the skills they need to find proper employment. The IFS Foundation partners with communities for a minimum of three years. Over this time, we hope that each community we work with becomes more autonomous and self-sustaining so that the IFS Foundation can then help other communities.”
Five key issues
The Foundation invests in projects that address 5 key issues: access to healthcare, clean water, sanitation, education and employment opportunities. It has been working with the village of Welusumanapura since 2020 and will look to identify a second village to partner inside 2023.
Previous projects include the construction of reverse-osmosis water plants to support access to clean water; the maintenance and repair of tube wells for water access – and the construction of 25 toilets in homes without access and a public bathroom with disabled access.
The foundation has also been behind the construction of a computer lab and English lessons are also available with lessons run by IFS volunteers. The foundation has repainted a maternity ward, donated medicine and provided care packages distributed to families affected by flooding.
Speaking on the IFS media tour of Sri Lanka this year, IFS’s local company leader explained how the people who receive this help feel about the initiative and how the dynamic works more specifically. “Because we go back again and again and work with these people on an ongoing basis to develop, nurture and create something sustainable for the future than can be passed on, it’s never viewed as a kind of corporate ‘hand-out’ that some faceless organisation makes and then walks away from. We form friendships, trust and unity and build for the future,” said IFS executive VP and COO, Ranil Rajapakse.
Donations have included sewing machines and (a thing that you didn’t know existed until now) a coconut husk chipping machine.
Open at its core
IFS says that the foundation is open at its core to involvement, contributions and support from individuals and organisations of every kind.
Once the second village is identified, IFS confirms that it will be able to plan activities that suit local needs whilst aligning to the (above) five key focus areas.
- Over the last 25 years, the company has generated more than 5,000 employment opportunities for Sri Lankans.
- Close to 80% of global product support services and 60% of the global product development of IFS is facilitated out of Colombo.
- In 2022, IFS partnered with Hatch to launch Challenger X, a tech incubation programme in Sri Lanka, to foster innovation in the country’s growing tech sector.
More information can be found by searching for IFS Foundation.