Practicing Development as Freedom – Shanil Samarakoon

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Shanil Samarakoon is the founder of Empower Inc, an organization which enables entrepreneurs to build self-reliant communities. Empower enables a five-year vision for communities by providing access to capital, sustainable technologies and capacity for building and support.

Shanil spent much of his early childhood in Botswana and Malawi and was connected with rural life in Southern Africa from a very young age. However, it was only in the tragic aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami in his native Sri Lanka that he discovered a profound sense of purpose. A business undergraduate at the time, he began to question how he was contributing to the world as the extent of his privilege and fortune became abundantly clear to him. Not knowing where the path would take him, he made the decision to follow his desire to contribute.

This journey took him across many remote regions of Sri Lanka as it reeled from the devastation of the Tsunami and a 30 year civil war. Working across several relief and development projects, he was deeply touched by the courage and determination of people who had endured incredible hardship and pain. Thereon he pursued postgraduate education in Australia and drew upon his passion and experience to positively contribute.

Title: Practicing Development as Freedom
Speaker: Shanil Samarakoon
Format: Video
Year published: 2012
Publisher: TEDx Talks Macquarie Univeristy

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