We envisage a world in which underserved communities, have access to the necessary resources and opportunities to lead positive change with confidence and optimism.
To this end, we are passionately committed to empowering underserved communities to achieve their visions for greater resilience and self-reliance.
Empower creates platforms for communities to determine their developmental priorities, create their own vision and develop action plans to address their needs and aspirations.
We enable underserved communities to realise their collective potential. Across a 5 year partnership, we do this by:
1) Establishing and scaling cooperative models to address development challenges.
2) Supporting local schools to be sustainability hubs for the wider community.
- Community identified need and consent
- Building community capacity to self-manage through training and education
- Long-term social, economic and ecological sustainability
- Social inclusion of marginalised groups
- Impact evaluated by community
Our Founder and Executive Director Shanil Samarakoon 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.
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. It was in the midst of these profound experiences that he made the decision to pursue a life of contribution, one in service to addressing the deep social, economic and environmental challenges that constrain a vast majority of the world’s population.
Thereon as he pursued his postgraduate education in Australia, he considered how he could draw upon his passion and experience to build upon his capacity to contribute. It was in late 2009 that James, Shyamika and Shanil discussed their personal visions and started to sow the seeds for Empower Inc as it stands today. Their collective dream and values have shaped the organisation’s distinct values and approach. As of 2015, the organisation reaches over 15,000 people in Malawi and Sri Lanka.
We subscribe to the ethics of permaculture, a design science for sustainability.
People Care - A commitment to equality, enabling self-reliance, valuing community, and the power of collaboration.
Earth Care - Acknowledging that we are part of the environment and that we bear responsibility towards nurturing the systems that sustain us.
Fair Share – A commitment to sharing knowledge, networks and surpluses.