July, 13, 2015
Entrepreneur, fashion icon and animal lover Otara Gunewardene who exited the Odel business empire she founded and built to focus on matters closer to her heart, has set up a non-profit foundation dedicated to improving the lives of all animals, communities and the environment.
The Otara Foundation (www.otarafoundation.com) brings together the passion and acumen of Ms. Gunewardene, who famously combined the two things she was most passionate about- - animals and fashion, to empower everyone to be the voice of the animals who endure different forms of cruelty and abuse every day and to be agents of environmental conservation.
The foundation’s mission is to be a catalyst of sustainable change and transformation in Sri Lanka as well as other parts of the world, to combat climate change and extinction of animal and plant species through conservation, awareness, good governance and policy change.
“There is no business that we engage in which is more important than preserving the environment we have been blessed with,” Ms Gunewardene said, announcing the formal registration of the Otara Foundation. “This was always my belief and it has always been at the core of my business past and present. As people,as a country and as the world we have lost the importance of conservation and living in harmony with nature and all its animals. Ourincreased desire for more and more materialistic things beyond our daily needs, is making us lose the greatest asset we have and in the meantime hurting and inflicting so much pain and suffering on innocent sentient beings who don’t have a voice to speak for themselves. It is not too late to revive this connection and have a better balance between development and the environment.”
The Foundation lists as its principal objectives eliminating the suffering of all animals, improving animal welfare, being a lobbyist on animal welfare issues, policy amendmentand good governance, representing and being the voice of animals that are being abused, uplifting individuals and micro organisations that engage in conservation activity, partnering with government and non-government bodies that engage in conservation work, spreading awareness on animal welfare, animal cruelty and conservation bringing about a wave of value and attitude change in society and fostering a generation that is more responsible and committed towards environmental sustainability.
The foundation is also strengthened by its board of directors: Andorran investor and founder of the Bomosa Foundation Turi Mora, British milliner and fashion icon Stephen Jones, Swedish entrepreneur Karl Hoversjö and renowned lawyer ArithaWickramanayake.
The Foundation’s activities will be funded by Otara Gunewardene, as well as by donations from likeminded institutions and individuals, revenue from the Embark fashion retail operationand fund-raising initiatives.