Gobal swimming sensation and Laureus Sport for Good Foundation Ambassador Missy Franklin has spent time meeting and inspiring youngsters from the Laureus-supported Foundation of Goodness project in Sri Lanka.
Ten years on from English Cricket legend and Laureus Academy Member Sir Ian Botham’s visit to the project, Missy spent time with members of the community who were most impacted by the Tsunami which devastated the village of Seenigama in December 2004.
The Foundation of Goodness was set up by Kushil Gunasekera in 1999, to provide essential services to the southern Sri Lankan village of Seenigama and aid the development the local community. The objectives of the organisation changed dramatically following the Tsunami when, with the support of Laureus, the Foundation of Goodness developed the Seenigama Sport for Life Project to help rebuild the community.
Today, post-Tsunami, the focus is on a long-term commitment to community development and social change through sport. Working with over 1,400 young people, the project combines sports training in cricket, volleyball, swimming, netball and badminton with programmes that build life-skills such as leadership, confidence and communication.
During her visit, Missy took time to meet some aspiring young swimmers from the project, passing on her own personal swimming hints and tips and sharing her experiences of competing on the world stage. After the session, she reflected on her time in Sri Lanka:
“I’ve been so inspired by the people I’ve met and the things I’ve seen here in Seenigama. The Foundation of Goodness is a true embodiment of the Laureus message that sport has the power to change the world.”
“I’ve grown up knowing the importance of hard work and resilience in preparing to compete at the highest level in sport, but the resilience of these people, who suffered such loss and grief after the devastating Tsunami in 2004 is so inspirational for me. I won’t forget the smiling faces of the young children here.”
Foundation of Goodness founder Kushil Gunasekera was grateful following Missy’s swimming session with children: “Its unimaginable to even think that such a superstar, namely Missy Franklin the Olympic Gold Medalist, would visit the rural village of Seenigama in Sri Lanka.”
“We wish to acknowledge the exceptional gesture on the part of Missy, knowing very well her busy schedule and the training ahead of the 2016 Olympics for which we salute in admiration.”