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Photos by Sagara Lakmal De Mel

A historic milestone for Sri Lankan American Community - Ambassador Wickramasuriya Sri Lankan Americans appreciate government’s care for disabled war veterans.

Washington, June 6, 2013:The Ranaviru Stars musical ensemble of Sri Lanka completed their maiden tour in the United States with outstanding success . The troupe  of fifteen artistes, representing the Sri Lanka Armed Forces performed in three major US cities  to raise funds for Mihindu Seth Madura , Attidiya , Sri Lanka.
Located on 46 acres of picturesque land in the suburbs of Colombo, bordering the Attidiya bird sanctuary, Mihindu Seth Madura is the healing home for gravely disabled war heroes. The facility provides lifelong care for its inhabitants whose injuries are so grave, to be cared for by their families.
All proceeds from the Ranaviru Stars’  US tour are to be channeled towards constructing  an Ayurvedic treatment facility at Mihindu Seth Madura. The Ranaviru Foundation USA, a patriotic Sri Lankan organization based in California was the main sponsor of the tour.
The first performance of the Ranaviru Stars, "The Voice of Ranaviru" was held on June 23rd at Carpenter Theatre, California State University, Long Beach, Los Angeles. According to Dr. Mohan Kumarante , the President of the Ranaviru Foundation  , the event drew an audience of about 700 people . An email correspondence from Dr. Kumarante said, the quality of the performance had far exceeded the expectations of the audience, with the organizers receiving many pledges of support for  future projects benefitting Sri Lankan war heroes.
The "Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington” was the second musical spectacle held on June 29th at John .F. Kennedy High School Auditorium, Silver Spring, Maryland. The event was organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington DC with the assistance of the Ranga Kala Kavaya , a  Washington based Sri Lankan community organization. An appreciative audience of over 800 people were in attendance.
Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya addressing the audience opined that the occasion marks a historic meeting between Sri Lankan war heroes and the patriotic Sri Lankan American community.
“During the humanitarian operation, you courageously fought against negative propaganda aimed at the motherland and supported the valiant efforts of our heroic armed forces. On this historic day, you meet those heroes. It is indeed a great pleasure to see that you have come forward to help the disabled war heroes, recognizing their sacrifices,” he averred.
Ambassador Wickramasuriya also underscored that the welfare of the war veterans has been one of the top priorities of the Sri Lankan government.
"Under the visionary leadership of His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa , and the direction of  Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa there are a number of monumental Ranaviru welfare programs underway. 'Ranajaya Pura'- a housing project of 50,000 homes for war heroes, Defence Service College - a school with all modern facilities for the children of armed forces personnel, 'Ranaviru - Doodaru' scholarship program for the needy children of the war veterans , 'Abhimansala', the network of  healing homes for disabled war heroes  and  Mihindu Seth Madura ,the lifelong healing home for  disabled war veterans are only some of them" he added.
President of  Ranga Kala Kavaya Mr. Ananda Herath speaking on the occasion highlighted the importance of continued peace and freedom of a nation, for the development of performing arts.
"Today , our war heroes who won the peace and freedom for the nation have become 'Stars' on our stage . We are truly fortunate to witness this occasion ", he said.
Mr. Herath also thanked Ambassador Wickramasuriya and the Embassy of Sri Lanka for the opportunity given for  Ranga Kala Kavaya to organize the event on behalf of the community.
Commandant of Mihindu Seth Madura Lieutenant Colonel Vajira Kariyawasam in a short interview by compere Mr. Chaminda Gunaratne, briefed the audience on the treatment facility under his management.
"Mihindu Seth Madura  concept, was made a reality by  Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and is probably the only facility of its kind in the world. I have with me , about 400 disabled war heroes, all between the ages of 35- 23 years who cannot perform even their basic day-to-day activities ; who became deaf & blind, who were paralyzed from the neck downwards , who are without arms and legs,  due to  battle injuries, ", he said.
"Mihindu Seth Madura is a facility that looks after war heroes with such conditions for their whole life providing all facilities they need", he added.
A short video documentary about Mihindu Seth Madura was also screened during the show.
The third and final performance of the tour, "Voice of Ranaviru" in New York was held at PS 58 Auditorium , Staten Island on June 30. The performance was organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York and Sri Lankan community of New York and New Jersey.
Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Major General Shavendra Silva addressing the audience stated that caring for  war veterans is a duty of all Sri Lankans .
"Caring for disabled war heroes is not only a duty of the leadership of the country but also  a collective responsibility of all Sri Lankans. That is why I thank for your contributions. Your aid will help  the disabled war heroes", he said.
"Those war heroes were once a very strong group of individuals . That is why even today, irrespective of their disabilities they stand up ", he added.   
Head of SriLankan Airlines GSA in North America and Honorary Director for Sri Lanka Tourism in the USA Mr.  Dillan Ariyawansa, speaking on behalf of the organizers said the event was a tremendous success with all tickets sold out and a superb performance from the Ranaviru Stars.
The Ranaviru Stars performers departed from the USA on June 2, from New York John .F. Kennedy Airport.
Ranaviru Real Stars is a popular reality TV singing competition for  members of the Sri Lanka Armed Forces organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Defense . The Ranaviru Stars US tour is the first international tour featuring the winners of the first two seasons of the competition.
Watch video on YouTube Channel

Ranaviru Stars perform in Washington DC on June 29, 2013. (From Left) Ayomi Perera, Gayan Arunapriya, Commander Damian Fernando, Indika Amaranga and Imali Pathirana.

Sri Lankan American children welcome the Ranaviru Stars at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya addressing the audience at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

President of Ranga Kalakavaya Mr Ananda Herath, delivers  welcome remarks at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

Compere of the event Chaminda Gunaratne interviews Commandant of Mihindu Seth Madura, Lieutenant Colonel Vajira Kariyawasam at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

Indika Amaranga & Ayomi Perera perform at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

Commander Damian Fernando and Imali Pathirana perform a duet at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

Chief Conductor of the Ranaviru Stars ensemble Commodore Jude Peiris performs at the Ranaviru Stars Live in Concert in Washington DC, June 29, 2013

Embassy of Sri Lanka, Washington DC, Press Release

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Photos by Sagara Lakmal De Mel

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