The Merrill J. Fernando Challenge Trophy for Excellence in Blind Cricket
The much awaited Merrill J. Fernando Challenge Trophy for Excellence in Blind Cricket was carried out recently at the Moratuwa De Soysa Stadium, kick starting a weeklong programme to coincide with the Dilmah Global Partner Conference. The Conference is held to welcome Dilmah’s Global Partners from across the world and to appreciate the commitment of Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando and the Dilmah Family in preserving the integrity and purity of Ceylon Tea.
As part of his philosophy of making business a matter of human service, the Dilmah Founder has been actively involved in providing better opportunities for the differently abled. Often a marginalised section in society, the magnitude of the problem and the lack of facilities and funds available therein to provide them with care and the opportunity to live better lives, makes the issues related to differently abled persons a serious one in Sri Lanka. Apart from the Moneragala School for the Visual and Hearing Impaired, the MJF Charitable Foundation manages and supports Sithijaya, the MJF Centre for the Differently Abled in Ambalantota which provides care, training and upliftment for children with disabilities. In Colombo, the Moratuwa MJF Centre provides educational support for under privileged children, care for children with Cerberal Palsy and Down Syndrome and other disabilities through a comprehensive programme of education, care and attention. The Foundation also has a programme in the plantation sector to provide care for children with disabilities.
The Merrill J. Fernando Challenge Trophy for Excellence in Blind Cricket is one initiative that has enabled visual and hearing impaired youth from across the country enjoy the opportunity of cricket. The tournament which began in 2008 has now become an important event in the calendar of the visual and hearing impaired sportsmen and women in Sri Lanka. This year, the much anticipated event was carried out as a T 20 cricket encounter in keeping with the innovations in cricket across the world. This is the first T 20 encounter for the differently abled in Sri Lanka, and possibly around the world.
Four talented teams took part in the tournament this year, representing the disabled soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army – Ranaviru Cricket Team, the School for the Visual and Hearing Impaired (Moneragala), the School for the Deaf and Blind (Rathmalana) and CEI Plastics representing the corporate sector. The matches were carried out during May 6-7 and the teams representing the Sri Lanka Army and CEI Plastics took part in the finals on 7th May at the Moratuwa Stadium. The event was attended by Dilmah’s Global Partners from across the world, the Founder and Family and a number of invitees who provided ample encouragement for these rising stars.
The Ranaviru Cricket Team emerged winners during the tournament this year by beating the team representing CEI Plastics in a close encounter which ended on a high note. Prizes were distributed for the Best Allrounder, Best Batsman and Bowler and Merrill J. Fernando Challenge Trophy for Excellence in Blind Cricket was presented to the champion Ranaviru Cricket Team by Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando.
The MJF Charitable Foundation was set up to fulfill the Dilmah Founders wish make business a matter of human service and share with the community the fruits of his success. Thousands of people supported far and wide and many worthy initiatives set up around Sri Lanka to support the less privileged is fulfillment of that dream. For additional information visitwww.mjffoundation.org.