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Government Gazette

Love for elders

In its 89-year history, yesterday's visit by the staff of the Daily News to the Gamini Matha Home for Elders at Hunupitiya, is bound to go down in the history of the newspaper as one of its most memorable and joyous moments. What better way to celebrate an anniversary than to bring joy and warmth into the hearts of the elders of this country.

The elders relished our acts of kindness towards them inasmuch as we enjoyed distributing among them a few gifts, to purchase which we used some of our personal income.

The event at the elders' home was one of the most meaningful ways to mark the 89th anniversary of the founding of the Daily News - an event about which we have already elaborately reported and commented on.

The rationale behind the Daily News staffers' visit to the elders' home was to highlight the need for continuous public reverence and respect for our elderly population. We hope we have helped in raising public awareness on this vital need by sharing the joy of our anniversary with the inmates of the Gamini Matha Elders' Home.

Thanks to the core values of our traditional culture, which is in turn fertilised by our major religions, the average Lankan continues to shower some kindness and respect for his or her elders, although there are quite a few exceptions to the rule.

With the withering away of the extended family, the practice of caring for elders has come under some strain in most family units but it would be quite some time before the ideal of respecting and caring for elders comes under a major assault, triggered mainly by mounting economic pressures.

However, elders' homes are gradually on the increase and this is proof of the fact that quite a few elders among us are going uncared for or are being neglected. This is a distressing trend which needs to be fully arrested if we are to continue to earn the label of being a civilised country.

Caring for elders is a natural outgrowth of the sacredness of the family and if we are continuing to care for our elders it only means that the institution of the family is still somewhat intact in the local culture. Therefore, the continued fostering of the family and connected values would ensure continued security for our elders because the family is the matrix in which love and consideration for humanity is fostered and perpetuated.

It is our hope, therefore, that the State, the private enterprise sector, the media and all those concerned with the future of the country would take it upon themselves to consider ways and means of consolidating family values in our culture.

We at the Daily News are happy that we have contributed our mite towards this noble cause. We hope the candle which we have lit 'in the darkness' would prove a guiding light in the worthy venture of bringing more and more love and kindness for our elders.

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