Awarding of Scholarships to Children of Economically backward Families



Promotion of Dhamma Education is one of the major activities of the YMBA, from its very inception' There is no doubt that it promotes propagation of Buddha Dhamma and further encourages those who are interested to go deeper into the doctrine of the Buddha, ultimately gets accustomed to follow the noble path leading to Nirvana'

“To advance the moral, cultural, physical and social welfare of Buddhists” is the fourth objective of the YMBA enshrined in  its constitution'

Whilst engaged  in promoting Dhamma Education the Association took  the initiative' to help the students of economically backward Buddhist families for their higher education in the early twentieth century.Given below is an extract from   the records of The Buddhist, how Abeyratne Scholarship was awarded to a needy student from North Central Province in 1921 and further extended the scholarships to others in 1932 and 1938'          


“Abeyratne Scholarship

In 1921, Mr. Baptist de Silva Abeyratne donated a property in Kurunegala, worth Rs' 4,000/-, to the Association with the direction that its income be used for educational purposes' And during these very lean days of our existence the records show that we had frequently to have recourse to this fund to enable us to carry on our work' This generous gift was the first, and for many years to come the only, endowment to the Y'M'B'A' The monthly rent of the property at the time of the donation was only Rs' 12/50' In accordance with the donor’s wishes a scholarship, at a Buddhist or Government Institution open to children of parents of the North-Western Province, has been awarded annually out of the income derived from the property' From 1932 to 1938 the favorable position of the fund enabled two such scholarships to be awarded' The present value of the scholarship is Rs' 240/- per annum and is usually awarded for a period of three years' The first holder of this scholarship was Walwin C'S' Gunasekera, of Mahinda College, who held it for a period of about six years' He is today the Superintendent of Equipment, Tele-Communication Department, Colombo' In 1927, Mr. Abeyratne also donated to the Association another block of bare land of two acres, opposite Maho Railway Station to be used for Buddhistic purposes' “


As any other project of the YMBA, the scholarships program too had its ups and downs in the formation years, depending on the financial strength of the Association'

It is encouraging to note that the program  inaugurated by one scholarship in 1921 has developed and expanded into number of disciplines and levels from primary tertiary and university education and during the past two to three years the total number of scholarships to undergraduate increased to one hundred a year'

The sources of income too expanded due to the efforts members of the Board of Management and increase of the number of Trust Founds specially received and utilized for this purpose' Donors in the recent past included members of the Board of Governors and of the Board of Management on behalf of their parents and relations who were Office Bearers or connected with the activities of the Colombo YMBA'

Under the scholarship project assistance was extended to the education of the children of the war affected North East villages and the Tsunami affected villages of the coastal area for their primary and secondary education' The YMBA received financial assistance from



For this purpose

Records indicate the following scholarships awarded from 1987 to 1992'

1987 – 1988 - Sir Cyril de Zoysa Trust Fund awarded one scholarship to a

Medical students and gave final assistant to  Medical equipment and books'


1989 – 1990 - BJS Abeyratne Trust Fund awarded five scholarships to the

Five A/Level Students from North Western Province'


1990 – 1991 - Sir Cyril de Zoysa Trust Fund awarded a scholarship to a

Foreign students ready for a degree in Pali and Buddhist in


1992 – 1993 - Three scholarships for Sir Cyril de Zoysa Trust Fund

One, VS Nanayakkara Trust Fund

One, Murial Wijewardana Trust Fund


1993 – 1994 - Eric S Amarasinghe Trust Fund

One scholarship to A/Level student

Murial Wijewardana Trust Fund

One scholarship to student for University of Kalaniya

NJV Cooray Trust Fund

20 scholarships to students in Wesley College, Borella,

Hewavitharana Vidyalaya, Rajagiriya and Ananda

Sashthralaya, Kotte'

In 1992 in the project was organized on a better footing and increased the award'