By Jacalyn Bennett
In Gratitude of Mrs. Neetha Ariyaratne in her 80th year on our beautiful earth….
Dear Friends, Family and All who may be interested in Conscious Awareness & Wisdom:
I have so many deep, meaningful memories of Neetha Arivaratne who is, in my opinion, the Mother Theresa and female Ghandi of our time. Neetha is an amazing woman, an inspiration and healer for thousands in need.
I met Neetha 30 years ago when my teacher and lifelong guide, Dr. A. T. Arivaratne asked me to meet his wife. We took a walk and so began the journey of my life.
Neetha has dedicated her heart and soul to easing the suffering of countless broken children; abandoned, homeless and abused. She has given me the greatest gift in the world, by teaching me the meaning of gentle selflessness and tireless service to anyone in need. Healing broken hearts, broken spirits and broken bones she has offered acceptance and value to individuals who did not even know they were in need.
Listening with an open heart at her family table, a table used to feed more than hunger, Neetha has served endless visitors countless cups of famous Sri Lankan tea and a feast of spiritual wisdom. While thousands have come to learn the essence of her pure heart and the meaning of being truly alive, for me, as my loving mentor, she has been my friend, my mother and role model on how to design and run my lingerie company. She taught me how a Buddhist woman becomes a peaceful activist in our world of need.
I donate all the left over fabric from my factories to Sarvodaya so that they can continue sewing projects to train poor and abandoned women. I also teach these young rape victims how to measure, make patterns, sew, and hand bead sleepwear so they can find some sense of purpose. We are not the typical lingerie factory. We produce our products with humility and the hope of enabling a woman’s self-esteem. I am grateful to Neetha and the 28 years of leadership she has given me.
Happy Birthday, Neetha!