||The Sarvodaya Movement for Peace in Sri Lanka started in the 1950s when a young teacher, Ari Ariyaratne, moved into underprivileged villages and started working with the most downtrodden communities there, 'to dispel ignorance, inequality and powerlessness' through village development. 'From the beginning, I had faith in the common faith and small-scale activities,' Ariyaratne has said. His faith has been rewarded by the achievements of the Sarvodaya Movement, which established a model for village development currently extending to over 13,000 villages (of a total of 30,000) in Sri Lanka. With the help of Sarvodaya, these village communities build strong social economic infrastructures to meet their basic needs and eventually expand to become surplus generating entities.
'Sarvodaya Shramadana' means the awakening of all through sharing of one's labour, time, and energy. For Sarvodaya, development is a process of ongoing personal and social awakening of the individual, the family, the community, the national and global societies. Since its inception, Sarvodaya has tried to offer an alternative to top-down, sectional development.