HelpAge Sri Lanka was established on the 26th January 1986 by a band of dedicated social workers led by Mr H P Gooneratne JP. Beginning of HelpAge Sri Lanka was initially influenced by Mr John F Pearson a Council Member of HelpAge International, United Kingdom who happened to be a close friend of Mr Gooneratne. At the same time Mr Gooneratne was influenced by the international intervention to concerning the ageing of population of the world, which was highlighted by the United Nations' by holding a World Assembly on Ageing in Viana in 1982. Mr Gooneratne being a social worker genuinely concerned of the destitute Older Person had convinced some of his social minded colleagues from different sectors of the community among private, legal, and public sector to form themselves into an association to form this Charity with a small staff consisting of six members.
HelpAge Sri Lanka commenced her activities with this dedicated six member staff and laid the foundation to build a Non-Governmental Organization to provide services to the marginalized Older Person through developing need based service programmes, training programmes for the carers and support programmes backed by a well designed fundraising programmes.
Mr H P Gooneratne JP headed the first Council of the newly formed Charity, as its Chairman. The other Members of the Council were Mr Sepala Illangakoon, Mr Sidat Sri Nandalochana, Rev Celestine Fernando, Dr Christopher Beer, Mr E John Mayo OBE, Mr John F Pearson and Mr Cyril Gardiner. The first working office was set up in the premises of Gamini Matha - an Elders' Home in the city of Colombo. Two months later on a suggestion made by Mr Cyril Gadiner now deceased, gave the necessary facility to set up a small office at the prestigious Galle Face Hotel of which he was the Chairman. With this small beginning the first ever meeting of the Council was also held at the Galle Face Hotel, shortly afterwards. With grateful thanks to him. HelpAge Sri Lanka commenced her crusade with six member staff headed by Mr Finaly Craig and his good wife Mrs Ursula Criag initiated the Age Care Training programme and developed the Day Care Center concept relatively a new model of care giving in Sri Lanka, to promote and propagate Day Care Centre concept.
HelpAge Sri Lanka set up a model Day Care Centre at Ratmalana with HelpAge Sri Lanka funds. The model Day Care Center was established in Ratmalana in 1998. Thus a Day Care Center serving 50 older persons from surrounding areas were provided with day care. Older Person who cannot attend the facility was fed a programme named meals on wheels service.
Within a short time HelpAge Sri Lankas' programmes began to be expanded especially there was an increasing need and urgent demand to improve the quality of care at the existing elders homes and to improve the infrastructure facilities.
Newly established HelpAge Sri Lanka took steps to develop progrmmes and services to improve the quality of life of older person and commenced fund raising activities both nationally and internationally. While developing need based age care programmes, HelpAge Sri Lanka began to launch projects to take services to the needy elders through local voluntary organizations and took steps to develop Age Care Training programmes basically to train carers in the Age Care with the increasing work load and the recruitment of new staff necessitated to move on to a large premises, just out side the main city of Colombo by renting out two adjoining houses - one to home the Age Care Training Centre unit with its' 7 member staff and the other one to house the balance staff.
Within four years in 1990 HelpAge Sri Lanka was expanding fast and there was an urgent need to find suitable accommodation to accommodate the expanding office in a suitable building. With a view to construct a suitable building the government of Sri Lanka was approached to obtain the land to build the HelpAge Sri Lanka headquarters. It was a positive response from the government. The government grant a land of 80 perches in its extend at Raththanapitiya, Boralesgamuwa on which HelpAge Sri Lanka build her headquarters with generous funding. It came from the Commission from the European communities which granted 168,000 GBP approximately it was amounting to Rs.10,000,000.
Thus HelpAge Sri Lanka moved to this new premises on 17th July 1993 and on the 1st October 1993 on the 'International Day for the Older Person' the new headquarters was declared open by His Excellency D B Wijethunga then President of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. This barrier free building complex presently houses nearly 60 member staff and all her programmes are operated from there. HelpAge Sri Lanka now operates all her national and international activities at 102, Pemananda Mawatha, Raththanapitiya, Boralesgamuwa.
All her activities are Awareness Creation, Age Care Training, Fundraising, Special Service Programmes like Eye Care, Home Care and Advocacy - promoting policies and programmes on the elderly by networking with government and international organizations.
Today HelpAge Sri Lanka has developed to be an apex non-governmental organization working with and for Older Person to change their lives to maintain a suitable quality of life and live with content until their death. At present HelpAge Sri Lanka's household name in the country enjoying the confidence and support of the government and non-governmental sector to work effectively to empower and ensure the older population to join hands with the rest of the community by improving their own quality of life and integrate in the development process to enjoy fruitful lives in a Society for All Ages.