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April 20, 2018
Past Pupils Association of Visakha commemorates Founder's Day
On Saturday 7th April 2018, the Past Pupils Association of Visakha (PPAV), held a Mal Pahan Pooja at the London Buddhist Vihare, to give merit to the founder of the school, to pay tribute to her, and to receive blessings for the participants.

The PPAV welcomed Yamuna Tennakone, a vibrant young accountant, wife and mother as their new president. The Association is confident that we will have another successful year of fundraising, social events and lots of fun.

The event was very well attended by the members of the PPAV, their families, friends and well wishers.

The afternoon started with the offering of flowers and lights , passed from person to person along the long line of participants in the meritorious deed, accompanied by devotional songs.

Chitra Perera who often coordinates the temple events, addressed the gathering about the purpose of this event, which was to give merit to the Founder Visakha, Mrs. Jeremias Dias and to introduce the new president of the PPAV for 2018, Mrs. Yamuna Tennakoon.

This was followed by a charming talk given by 3 children, Serena Ediriweera, Alana Vijithan and Yevin Tennakoon, who spoke about how Visakha Vidiyalaya came to be, about it's founder, and her reasons for establishing a girl's school.

This is a short extract from their speech.
In an era when many did not think about girls' education, the vision of Mrs. Jeremias Dias was remarkable. While engaging in many social services to improve the lives of the less fortunate and to uplift Buddhism, she felt the need for a Buddhist girls' school, which gave Buddhist girls a modern English medium education and nurtured social accomplishments associated with elite status while still preserving their Sinhala Buddhist identity.

During this period the trend was to establish Buddhist boys' schools. Mrs. Jeremias Dias also wanted to start a school in memory of her son, Edmund Wilson. Instead of founding a boys' school in memory of a much loved son, this visionary decided to start a girls' school. Furthermore, she did not start the school in her native Panadura but in Colombo. A hostel was provided so that a Buddhist girl from any part of the country could benefit from the school. Her vision was for the entire nation.

Mrs. Jeremias Dias's contribution to Buddhist education for girls, is thought to have been the greatest such individual contribution in Ceylon in its day. Her contribution was recognized by the Government of the day. In 1929, she was honoured by the Order of Membership of the British Empire.

Ven.Bogoda Seelawimala Thero then conducted the Pooja with pirith and pan pouring ceremonies.

Yamuna thanked everyone for participating in this event and for their support she also wished everyone a very Happy New Year.

The afternoon concluded with a very sumptuous 'Aluth Avuruddu Table', which was very popular with everyone.

Subodhini Clarke Co-editor, Visakha PPAV
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