The once dilapidated Scout headquarters of Matale District is again operational after the ribbon-cutting ceremony on 20th November 2011. Matale is a town in the hill country of Sri Lanka which was the birthplace of Sri Lankan Scouting.
Among the guests present at the occasion was Regional Director Abdullah Rasheed, who together, with Sri Lanka Scouts Association (SLSA) Chief Commissioner Mr C Batuwangala unveiled the plaque and planted trees at the premises to mark the historic occasion.
In his remarks, Regional Director Rasheed said that he was happy to be part of this historic occasion knowing that Scouting started in Matale.
He traced the friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Maldives, and how the Scout Association of Maldives was grateful for Sri Lanka’s assistance during its early years as a Scout association. He also explained how the regional office assisted SLSA in this renovation work, knowing the role Matale played in the history of Scouting in Sri Lanka.
“The reason why Sri Lanka celebrates its Centenary of Scouting because of the Matale people who embraced the principles of Scouting a century ago. I thanked the officials of Matale District Scout Association for their hard work to bring this headquarters active again.”
The renovation work was spearheaded by Mr. Gamini Seneviratne, former District Secretary, who helped out Mr Muheed, former Asst. Chief Commissioner, who was appointed to overlook the project. The idea of reviving the building came after Chief Commissioner Batuwangala saw the district headquarters in a dilapidated state and asked the World Organization of the Scout Movement, Asia-Pacific Region for financial assistance.
In his address, District Commissioner Mr Niroshan Karunatilleke, said that it was a special day for Matale having key people from the region and national at the ceremony taking it as a good source of encouragement to the Scouts of Matale.
The Regional Director, along with other national and district officials visited the Christ Church College in Matale where the first Scout troop started in 1912 by Mr. F.G. Stevens.
The Matale District Scout website was also launched that day.
-- M F S Muheed, APR Honorary Correspondent, Sri Lanka