The scholarship award given by the Dr. Saman Weerasinghe Foundation- 2023 was held at Olcott Hall of Mahinda Vidyalaya last (27). The Dr. Saman Weerasinghe Foundation, which has provided around 600 educational scholarships to children in need of encouragement due to economic difficulties, has selected 25 students this year. It is the hope of the Dr. Saman Weerasinghe Foundation to increase these 600 scholarships to 1000 scholarships within the next 4 years.
Under the supervision of the Principal of Mahinda Vidyalaya Mr. RSN Maddumahewega, the Mahinda Vidyalaya Alumni Association and the Alumni Presidents Association had jointly organized this event.
Principal RSN Maddumahage, Mahinda Vidyalaya Alumni Association Secretary Kamal Nishantha, Alumni President Association President Naleen Paranagama and journalist Ramesh Varallegama addressed the ceremony.
Mahinda Vidyalaya’s Deputy Principals, teaching staff and the College Alumni Association, representing the Alumni Association, its executive committee members and college prefects’ board, scholarship winners and their parents were present on this occasion.
Dr. Saman Weerasinghe’s full speech at the Dr. Saman Weerasinghe Foundation scholarship award held on October 27, 2023 at Mahinda Vidyalaya’s Olcott Hall is as follows.
“It is considered a privilege to come to Mahinda Vidyalaya. I remember that at some time when there were less facilities than this in this Olakut hall, we studied together as students.
When President JR Jayawardena came to our college’s prize giving ceremony, I had the opportunity to give a speech of thanks. It was unimaginable in those days. But about 25 years later, I was able to talk to the President of Russia, Mr. Vladimir Putin.
The principal asked me to say more to the students here today. Therefore, I am talking here by connecting some important things to my life to achieve some kind of success in life.
I am getting my primary education till class four from Tangalle Primary School. It is a small school with many difficulties. After that, I came to Mahinda Vidyalaya in the fifth grade. Since then, I studied at Mahinda Vidyalaya until the last class of school. During this time I have never been the first in the class. From that time, I realized that being the first in the class does not mean that we get the first place in life.
I was the leader of the debate team for several years in school. Worked as the President of the Science Association and as the President of the Knowledge Measurement Group. I brought victory to Mahinda Vidyalaya through all these. I never went to a debate and came back losing that debate.
-I remember like today that the final match of the Southern Province Knowledge Measurement Tournament was held in this Olcott Hall. The last question of that match was addressed to me. If that question is not answered, Mahinda Vidyalaya will fail. I answered that question. I still remember the question. That question asked why the Kanamadiri are lit up at night.
It is a difficult problem in biology. There is a type called lucithin, which is released as light when it is broken down by an enzyme. I explained this answer. Mahinda Vidyalaya got the victory.
What I mean by this is that our lives should be practical. We leave school and go to society.
Regarding Sri Lanka, we have to face various problems including severe economic difficulties. Facing those problems and winning those problems is what makes one’s life worth living.
There are several points to this. The first one is that they have to be competitive about themselves. It doesn’t matter if that competition is with the student sitting on the other side of their chair. Such competitions are short-lived. It does not bring anything to life.
Next, you have to have a big dream. There must be a vision. Never dream small. You want to dream big. Then that big thing gets crushed and comes to life.
For example, when we were going to Moscow Medical College, we were walking one day. There were about four students from Bangladesh, Syria and other countries with me. We are going on foot from the crime scene. As I was leaving, I said that one day I want to go inside this Kremlin and meet the leader of this country. At that time my Syrian friend was making fun of me. The course on mental illness is coming up the day after tomorrow. They told me to take some medicine for that brain problem.
Twenty years later, I went to Crimea and met President Putin. That day I called that friend and asked if he saw me and President Putin on TV today. He could not speak. He said I am very happy. But he said that he never thought that something like this would happen. I said it was a dream I saw.
So I say always think big. think You don’t even need to tell the person next to you. But it can be done. According to Buddhism, the mind is the root of everything. It is the determination that one makes according to the heart that one day becomes successful.
The other thing is that you have to have good self-discipline. And they should have some plans for their future. They should think about what they need to do every day to reach that plan. And there must be a decision on how to exit any plan. There are several doors to exit this hall. The reason is that not all of us can be doctors. After that, what will happen when you go to society? We can’t do anything.
Therefore, if this does not go well, there should be a plan for the next one. I came to Sri Lanka after completing my medical degree. By then, the Soviet Union would collapse. When I told my mother that day that I was going back to Russia, my mother started crying. Now that he has finished his doctorate, he is going to a war-torn country. But it seemed to me at that time that Russia would never collapse. I saw that a new system, an era of transformation was coming. In that era, I saw that foreigners wanted Russia more. It happened that way.
The post of Head of the International Department of the Moscow Medical College was vacant. There was no one to accept that position. You need to know some English for that. The Russians who were there could not speak English, so I was automatically pushed into that position. I worked there for 10 years.
I had another dream about becoming an ambassador. One day I said in Russia that I would stop my Russian trip one day by becoming Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Russia. I remember a few people in Sri Lanka laughed at that time.
It is the culture of Sri Lankan people to make fun of such a story or show a little opposition. The people of our country are used to being happy if they can do something against someone. That is why our country is like this.
Take Singapore and Leequan Yu comes to Sri Lanka and says that he wants to make Singapore a Sri Lanka. Where are we today, where is Singapore? The Prime Minister of Vietnam comes and says that they want to increase their country’s foreign reserves like us. We had $5 billion then. 102 billion dollars to Vietnam today. We add up all the debts in the country and have about two negatives. Now we only have about 2.5 billion dollars. We are a nation that never learns from our problems.
The Englishman was a scholar of mountain rock. Still not going beyond that. The train still goes a little forward from there and comes back. I was able to get rid of that island mentality because I went to Russia. I started to think differently that day. When I went to Russia, I thought that I should learn the Russian language very well. Without that I can’t do anything in Russia.
Eighty percent of people in Russia cannot speak English. There is no point in speaking Sinhala there. If so, I will have to come to Sri Lanka with my medical degree like others. I always thought to think the way people in Russia think. Then the work is easy. If you try to plant the island concept here, nothing will happen. I always told them new things.
I have also received an award from Russia. You can see it online. It is about introducing a new education system. What is this new education system? The education system that was in Russian was translated into English and introduced. Students from all over the world started coming to Russia. The language was the problem. That problem was solved.
When leaving school, social injustice occurs in Sri Lanka. There are many problems including lack of proper jobs. Therefore, always learn from today. Also, I have given 600 scholarships.
One day about a month ago, I felt very happy. One kid came and got this scholarship. no father There was only my mother. She made a living by making indiappan for the shops. The boy who received this scholarship for two years had sent me a letter. That’s what I know. After studying commerce, he went to university. In the university, a girl from a nearby school got married. After that, he left the university where he went for 4 years. Anyway, after completing the private classes, this boy came to my own subsidiary and asked to go to England. Because we gave opportunities to Sri Lankan students to English universities. We don’t take money. We are paid by the University of England.
So this boy came to our institution because he didn’t want to pay money. But he did not know that I am the owner of this company. So finally this boy and his wife got a visa to go to England. When this boy came to one of my offices to get the passport, he found out that I was the boss. He had asked if he could meet me later. That day he came and met me. Look, this kid who studied with a small amount of money is now studying at a university in England.
That whole family goes on without any problems. When he left, he told me that if I had not received this scholarship, I would have left school and taken a three-year degree. My mother has asthma. At 4 in the morning, when I was making Idiappa, my mother was told that her eyes were too much. The happiness I got after listening to that story was not matched by anything else.
There is a former surgeon in Russia named Perhop. He has said that when he looks back in his life, if he can be happy with the result of what he did to another person, that is the biggest victory he can get in life. Therefore, this small scholarship was given to 600 people. How many are doctors and engineers? Can you give birth? I had received a lot of letters. I read them all and told them to burn them.
They don’t need to socialize anything.
Therefore, the names of the children who received these scholarships are not even available. Those children are now in different planes. So it doesn’t need to be publicized. If you know this information, you can use Facebook to slap that kid a little bit. Because even if there are no people to give this kind of scholarship, there are enough people in this country to spend money to slander.
That’s why I ask the children here, no money, no social status, so never think that we can’t do this. I recently read the life story of Mahathir Mohamad. He has written that I was born in an ordinary family. I was cut off everywhere. But the Prime Minister who completely changed Malaysia was Mahathir Mohamad. I was also happy when I read his life story. The reason is that I come from a very ordinary class. When my father asked the principal to admit Mahinda to college, if he had said that Mahinda could not accept, I would not be here today. That’s why I love Mahinda. Not for any other reason. I am up today because of Mahinda.
So don’t ever think that we can’t come by car. That day I came to Mahinda on foot from Gini Kashtaka. When my mother gives me money for some days, I don’t spend it either. Save it. That’s when he came by car. That is how it came to this situation. So don’t think for one cent that we can’t do this. Everything can be done. But you have to have amazing courage for that. That courage will carry you forward.
Finally, never forget your family. Mother, father, sister, brother and brothers. When you come to a place, you definitely want to help them. If you don’t do that, you will not get results in life. Gratitude is the first thing in Buddhism. If so, understand it. Otherwise, if you get out of here anyway, go to university, meet a girl, go abroad and forget the people at home, those lives will never be successful. The reason is what was done. Or Karma is something like that. Definitely, about sixty percent will follow them. The rest are talking about other souls.
Water was given not only to this school but also to Habaradu school two years ago. There was no water for the children. Computers were given as well as water pipe facilities. When giving shoes to children in Akkaraipattu, those children do not know how to put on shoes. Taught to put on shoes. I came here because of this education and not because of anything else.
No one is a politician, or a sailor, or a grandfather who died after paying a lot of money like in Sri Lanka. One day when a Russian told the country’s foreign minister Lavrov about me, Lavrov said that he is a self-made man. That means the Russians know about me. They have a lot of respect for me. The reason why I was successful in Russia was because I did everything they said for Russia.
On the other hand, I quietly did a great service by joining Russia and Sri Lanka. For example, President Mahinda Rajapaksa knows what kind of thing I did when the United Nations Security Council was working against Sri Lanka. Against that proposal, Russia used the veto power. I knew that.
Looking back now, it’s all Russia. There is no one who is not in Russia. Now the elections are near, that’s why all the politicians are hugging Russia. Because people have a love for Russia in the society. But the relationship between me and Russia comes from the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Someone here can become an ambassador someday. Or you can become a diplomatic officer. Even then, efforts should be made to unite that country and this country. Always do what you can for your country, religion, school and for your brother and friend. It will definitely be flipped to the other side.
All the documents of Dr. Saman Virasinghe Foundation are with the Leader of the Parliament. I think by the end of this year it will get the necessary approval. Currently this is being run at my personal expense. When this is passed, we hope to sign a memorandum of understanding by adding Mahinda Vidyalaya by January-February. There, the Alumni Association and the Alumni Leaders Association will be added to it. Then, internationally, we can bring the books and do other needs together for the students.
I hope to increase these 600 scholarships to 1000 within 4 years. The mother said that we will definitely go into the history of Mahinda Vidyalaya