CandleAid Lanka (formerly AFLAC International) was founded in 1995 by Capt. Elmo Jayawardena, a Sri Lankan pilot then employed with Singapore Airlines. Today, he and a Board of two vice-presidents and five directors run CandleAid. CandleAid is registered under the Ministry of Social Services in Sri Lanka as a Non-Governmental Organisation engaged in charitable work and was granted the status of an 'Approved Charity” in Sri Lanka in the year 2000.
Founded upon the adage “It is better by far to light a solitary candle than to curse the darkness”, CandleAid was formed with the purpose of alleviating poverty in Sri Lanka. It is modelled on the belief that every person can do something to help another, irrespective of race, creed or social status. As such, CandleAid functions as a link between your act of generosity and someone else’s humanitarian need in Sri Lanka. Our ideology has also been to minimize administrative expenses as far as possible and towards this end up until 2014, CandleAid was able to function without diluting any donation for this purpose. Since then, only a mere 10% is levied for purposes of administration.
To improve the quality of life of the poor and less fortunate in Sri Lanka in all aspects of basic human needs including but not limited to education, health, food, and community development.
CandleAid’s primary focus is on its Education Sponsorship Programme where monthly financial assistance is given to students from low-income families towards their academic needs. It’s food programme is called ‘Gift A Meal’. Under the category of health, it runs the Cancer Patients’ Assistance Programme. Under these two programmes, CandleAid disburses a monthly subsidy to enable destitute families to procure their dry rations and cancer patients to sustain their basic needs of food and nutrition. Under community development, CandleAid renders assistance in various ways to uplift and improve the lifestyles of impoverished communities and individuals and families within them.
Other than the above, under each category there are other subsidiary projects of both long and short term duration. All prospective initiatives are screened for their viability, authenticity and suitability prior to submission to the Board of Directors for approval. There are office personnel appointed as Heads of each programme category who report to a designated Director and work with project assistants and a network of voluntary coordinators.
There is a Regional Representative in the USA and fourteen representatives in various cities in the world whose task is to engender awareness among their associates of the needs and difficulties faced by the poor in Sri Lanka. Most times, they source sponsors and donors to support CandleAid programmes. They are free to use their own initiatives rather than a standardized process to spread the message of CandleAid. These Hony. representatives have worked diligently to spread the cause of CandleAid far and wide and their efforts have linked so many people to support our cause, both Sri Lankans living abroad as well as many other nationals of countries across the globe.