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Remembering Joan De Mel
The Founder of Sri Lanka Sumithrayo
Joan De Mel, our Inspiration, Mentor and Founder is fondly remembered today, as she passed away 5 yrs ago on the 27th December at the age of 87.
Joan De Mel (1921-2008)
With many years of experience as a Samaritan Volunteer in London and up on the request of Rev. Chad Varah (founder of Samaritans in UK), Joan established Sri Lanka Sumithrayo as a branch of Befrienders International in 1974, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention. This was made possible by the able assistance of the founder members of the steering committee Dr. Wijerama, Mansoor, and Nalini.
Joan taught fellow Sumithrayas that labels do not matter; that problems do not matter; it was the person who needed emotional support who mattered. And most importantly, she taught us to serve humanity without any material benefit to us.
Joan guided the destiny of Sumithrayo for 34 yrs of its existence with her generosity and her passionate commitment to help those in distress. She made her premises and land at her home in Horton place available for the services Sumithrayo provided. Almost all her income was made available to charity and her own lifestyle was simple and uncluttered.
Her legacy lives on at Sumithrayo and she will always be remembered.
May she find eternal peace.