Youth Speaker entry #45: Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne (Sri Lanka)

Sustain Solutions is an organization that first came to being as a youth group after the 2004 Tsunami.

After research showed that mangroves could have reduced more than 60% of the impact of the waves that led to the death of over 18,000 people and destruction of over a million worth of property, we set about to replant Mangroves at grass‐root community level.

Anoka Primrose AbeyrathneMangroves are sensitive eco-systems existing in waters with salinity with rich biodiversity of flora and fauna.

Mangroves were being destroyed to create better views of water bodies, for farming and paddy lands, to create space to build houses and hotels. This also led to a major degradation of water quality levels, as mangroves provide water purification in addition to its many benefits.

When the effects of the Tsunami began to wane, to keep communities interested especially considering socioeconomic benefits and poverty alleviation, we facilitated better mangrove protection and biodiversity conservation through better land use methods and alternative sustainable livelihoods that attracted over 1 million in revenue of the like of eco-tourism, organic farming and sustainable handicraft creation.

With the help of more than 10000 students, schools, villagers and communities we were able to replant over 20000 Mangroves through our initiative “Growin’ Money” which received the Commonwealth Youth Award for its contribution to sustainable development.

Today in addition to our Mangrove protection campaigns and awareness creation, we focus on creating Mangrove protection measures through policy implementation especially buffer zones in lagoon and lake areas, stopping the usage of Mangrove lands and wetlands for housing development, as well as penalties being carried out against offenders while campaigning towards creating more RAMSA sites in Sri Lanka that will ensure the added international protection for it. We are present in fours countries in South Asia to collaborate and work towards a sustainable future for us all.

Text, photo and video are submitted by Anoka Primrose Abeyrathne (Sri Lanka) – apa4(at)

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as an application by the author, to speak as a youth representative at the World Forestry Congress. Have a look at the other entries too!

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