To promote true friendship
To encourage the ideals of personal service
To foster international understanding
Inner Wheel began on the 10 January 1924 when Mrs Margarette Golding presided over a club formed of Rotarian wives. The roots from which International Inner Wheel has grown were established in 1934 when the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in Great Britain & Ireland was formed.
It was realised that unity is strength and members had the wisdom and foresight to form Clubs, later establishing Districts and then an Association. In 1967 International Inner Wheel was formed which gave an opportunity for qualified members in any country to serve as Officers e.g. President.
International Inner Wheel links together members in different parts of the world including Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia & the America’s. International Inner Wheel is established in approximately 103 geographical locations with over 100,000 members.
Who can be a member: Please go to www.internationalinnerwheel.org
The Governing Body is the Board of International Inner Wheel consisting of four Officers, President, Vice-President, Immediate Past President and Treasurer together with sixteen Board Directors.
All members of the Governing Body are subject to annual nomination and election. Members with the correct qualifications may be elected to serve from all over the world.
These are held every third year the next Convention will be in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2015. The Triennial Convention is the forum which considers and decides alterations to the International Inner Wheel Constitution and fixes the capitation fee to be paid by each member.
Introduced to Sri Lanka in 1965 by Mrs. Gerty Billimoria and Mrs. Jer Nilgiriya, the Inner Wheel Club of Colombo was formed. The pioneer Club received its Charter on 1st February 1966 and the ceremony was held at Hotel Taprobane. Amongst the speakers for the event were Mr. Jabir A Cader, Mayor of Colombo and Rtn. D. B. Ellepola, President, Rotary Club of Colombo.
We initially belonged to District 320 and 321 which included Tamil Nadu and Kerala. During this period six members from Sri-Lanka were District Chairman. They were late Mrs. Jer Nilgiriya – 1971/72, late Mrs. Lucille Amarasuriya – 1974/75, both from Colombo club. Late Mrs. Mahalakshmi Satkurunathan – 1976/77. Mrs. Nirmaiie Gunatilleke – 1980/81 both from Colombo West club. In 1978 / 79 late Mrs. Florence Pathinayake from Kandy club & in 1982 / 83 Mrs. Gnanapoo De Croos from Negombo club. Though some of these members are not with us any more we still recall the good times we had during their leadership.
Inner Wheel District 322 Sri Lanka came in to being in 1985/86 with nine clubs in its fold. The enthusiastic and dynamic leadership of Mrs. Nirmalie Gunatilleke paved the way for the bifurcation and she was the first District Chairman of District 322 Sri-Lanka. Thus giving a new beginning to Inner Wheel in Sri-Lanka and also giving our members more opportunity to represent their country in International Inner Wheel. As at today we have 19 Clubs with a membership of 430.
In the years 1997/8, 2002/3, 2005/6 and 2008/09, Mrs Nirmalie Gunatilleke, Mrs Chandrani Gunawardene, Mrs Renuka Amalean and Dr.(Mrs.) Carmel Fernandopulle were elected as Board Directors of International Inner Wheel respectively. In addition Mrs. Nirmalie Gunatilleke was one of the first recipients of the Margaret Golding Award bestowed by International Inner Wheel and was followed by late Mrs. Annie Samaranayake in 2002/2003 & Mrs. Kumari Kultunge in 2010-2011.
The 2nd South Asia Rally
First time Inner Wheel Sri Lanka hosted an international event
A meeting of ‘Unity in Diversity’ the second South Asia Rally was held in Habarana, Sri Lanka on 23rd and 24th of April 2011. Almost eight hundred members, family members and invitees attended this event. International Inner Wheel President Pallavi Shah graced the occasion with her distinguished presence. The untiring commitment of the Rally Chairman and the organizing committee produced a mega event that was commended by all, especially the overseas delegates from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia and Belgium. Though 23rd Saturday was rained out it could not dampen the enthusiasm that this event inspired. We were thankful however that the weather changed to allow the delegates to enjoy themselves with the second day bringing a beautiful day of warm sunshine ... The efficiently drafted programme included delightful cultural programmes by eminent local cultural troupes as well as by the visitors. Competitions, raffle draw and trade stalls with local sweetmeat, jewellery and embroidered articles enhanced the quality of the event. The delegates commended the sumptuous food and service and most importantly meeting and making friends and creating lasting memories.
Significant Achievements of Past Leaders in District 322
World Inner Wheel Day saw the gifting of a fully equipped computer room and of water tanks and taps to Galapitigala School in Habarana. Funds remaining from the South Asia Rally paid for the initiative.
Mrs. Nirmalie Gunatilleke (1985 / 86) was the founder Chairman of the newly formed District 322 and the guiding star who was responsible in the formation of many clubs. She is a member of the IW Club of Colombo West. Her hospitality is experienced even now by many Inner Wheel members at home and from abroad. She has given leadership to many Inner Wheel programmes over the years, in true Inner Wheel sprit. She received the Margaret Golding Award in 2001. She served as I IW Representative and Board Member for two years - 1987 / 88 & 1988 / 89. In 1997/98 she served the IIW governing body as a Board Director.
Late Mrs. Annie Samaranayake (1986/87) then took over. A member of the IWC of
Ja-ela / Kandana. During her tenure the IWC of Maharagama was formed. She was privileged to have had the I IW President as the Chief Guest at her District Conference. It was the first time an I IW President visited Sri Lanka. Coincidentally this was also the first year an Indian was selected to the high office of I IW as President and that was Mina Kapoor! Annie was IIW Representative and Board Member in 1989/1990. She ran a home for destitutes in Dankotuwa and was a recipient of the Margaret Golding Award in 2002.
The IWC of Mt. Lavinia was chartered under the Chairmanship of Mrs. Indrani Atukorale (1987/88. The project called “The Breath of Life” was started by her when she saw how her mother’s life was saved by the timely availability of Oxygen in a cylinder in the Cardiology ward she was in. Another patient in the same ward was not that fortunate when he needed Oxygen, because there was a delay in getting the Oxygen cylinder to him in time. This inadequacy in medical facility made her want to provide piped oxygen to an Emergency Ward. She greatly appreciates and is thankful to Mrs. Gwendoline Tissera for completing the project. ). She was the IIW Representative and Board Member in 1990/91.
Mrs. Gnanapoo De Croos of IWC of Negombo was the District Chairman in 1982/83 before the bifurcation. Then in 1991/ 92 she represented District 322 Sri Lanka as IIW Representative and Board Member. Still Continues to be an active member in her club.
Times were turbulent when Mrs. Nadine Mediwaka (1988/89) took over the helm of office. She hails from the IWC of Kandy. Though she wanted very much to continue the District project started the previous year circumstances prevented her from doing so. During this time IWC of Kurunegala was formed. In 1992/93 she was the IIW Representative and Board Member. At present she is a member of the IWC of Colombo Mid Town.
The next change of leadership saw Mrs.Gwendoline Tissera (1989/90) taking over. She is from the IWC of Ja-ela / Kandana. She had a very successful fund raiser to complete the “Breath of life” project started by one of her predecessors Mrs. Indrani Atukorala. It provided piped Oxygen to 10 beds in the new Intensive Care Unit of the Colombo North General Hospital in Ragama. IWC of Wattala and Nuwara-Eliya were formed during this time. She was the IIW representative and Board Member in 1993/94.
Mrs.Yvette de Silva (1990/91) took over from Gwen. In keeping with the theme “Give Our World a Future”, the emphasis was on children and the conservation of the environment. A chain letter on saving our environment was launched and it went round to many countries. She is a member of the IWC of Colombo West. In 1994/95 she was the IIW Representative and Board Member.
Mrs. Pearl Masilamani (1991/92) took the lead next. She encouraged the clubs in the District to engage in personalized service projects in keeping with IIW Theme for the year. She demonstrated a uniquely quiet efficiency during her period of office. She was the National Representative in 1996/97. She is a member of the IWC of Colombo.
Mrs. Lillian Pereira (1992/93) The next change of leadership saw Mrs. Lillian Pereira (1992/93) as Chairman. The Theme “Understanding” was encouraged to be practiced in all Club projects and activities. Being a Fashion Designer by profession she organized a very successful Fashion Show at the Conference. She is a member of the IWC of Kandy.
The next Chairman was Mrs. Goolbai Gunasekera (1993/94).Despite her varied activities in the sphere of education she found the time to lead the District with efficiency and strengthen fellowship. She is a member of IWC of Colombo West.
During the tenure of Mrs. Chandrani Gunawardena (1994/95) the IWC of Batticaloa was chartered.. She laid emphasis on clubs doing personalized service to assist the needy and the under privileged. Members were encouraged to purchase specially designed IW Greeting Cards and mail them to foreign clubs to promote Inner Wheel camaraderie and widen our horizons to mark the IIW Day. She organized a special training program for club Presidents to promote efficient club leadership. She was the National Representative in 1997/98. She was elected to the IIW Governing Body as a Board Director in 2002/03. She continues to be a very keen and active member of the IWC of Colombo Mid Town.
The next change of leadership saw Mrs. Thangam Fernandopulle (1995/96) taking over the reins of office. She is a member of IWC of Negombo. With the proceeds of the Conference and the Raffle draw a District project was financed. This took the form of fencing and equipping fully the playground for the differently able child patients of the Colombo North Hospital. She was the National Representative 1998/99.
Mrs. Gladys Perera (1996/97) succeeded Thangam as Chairman. She encouraged clubs in the District to foster children who had lost their fathers in the North – East war. The female inmates of the Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Hospital Ragama, the only one of its kind in the country, were assisted with the proceeds of a Raffle Draw. The IIW President Mrs. Beth Mc Neil was the Chief Guest at the District Conference. Gladys used this opportunity to promote Inner Wheel by arranging an interview with her on National TV. She is a member of IWC of Ja-Ela/Kandana. She was the National Representative 1999/2000.
During the leadership of Mrs. Lalini Alwis (1997/98) a handsome donation was made to the “Children’s Heart Program” headed by Cardiologist Dr Nihal Thenabadu a Rotarian. She obtained wide publicity for Inner Wheel Fellowship activities in the media... She is a member of the IWC of Colombo and was the National Representative in 2000/01.
The 75th Anniversary of IIW saw Mrs. Kusum Samarasinghe (1998/99) as Chairman. A donation of Books, Stationary and Uniforms were given to 75 students to commemorate this event. A contribution was made towards the purchase of a MRI Scanner for the National Hospital Colombo. A scholarship was initiated to educate a girl child from grade 5 up to A/L. This student was successful in obtaining 3A grades at the A/L examination held in 2008. Kusum was the National Representative in 2001/02. She is a member of IWC of Maharagama.
Mrs. Renuka Amalean (1999/2000) was the next to take over. She is a member of IWC of Colombo. The IWC of Colombo South was formed during this period. She is well known for the Inner Wheel International cook book she compiled and titled “A Gastronomical Journey Around The World”. The proceeds from the sale of this book were used to refurbish the Junior School of the visually impaired at Ratmalana and to donate to the Neurosurgical Ward of the National Hospital an Intravenous Infusion Pump, 6 Blood Pressure Meters for individual beds and 5 Water Mattresses. The Millennium District Conference was attended by the IIW President Mrs. Lillian Pettigrew as Chief Guest and the Guests of Honour were a group from the Indian Inner Wheel Forum consisting of Past IIW Presidents Mrs. Minna Kapoor and Mrs. Anita Aggrawal and the forum President Mrs. Saroj Lalwani who was the keynote speaker. Renuka was the National Representative in 2002/03 and was elected to the IIW Governing Body as Board Director 2005/06.
Mrs. Mohini Gunasekera (2000/01) focused mainly on the disadvantaged woman. In an effort to raise public awareness to the abuse of women as a consequence of drug and alcohol abuse a seminar was organized on this subject. “The Welcome House” a center for women in crises was refurbished. A visit to the female section of the Welikada Prison was arranged for the members of the District and the inmates presented with basic necessities. She led a 23 member delegation to the Triennial Conference in Chennai. Their efforts at entertainment with Baila made some of the Indian audience and the IIW President Mrs. Vivienne Bolton to come on stage and dance!!. Mohini is a member of the IWC of Colombo Central. She was the National Representative in 2003/04.
Mrs. Rohini Tudawe (2001/02) succeeded Mohini as Chairman. She encouraged the clubs to work in keeping with the Theme for the year “Enthusiasm Creates Action”. The Maternity ward of the Nagoda Hospital Kalutara was refurbished as a District project. A very successful fund raiser – a Baila Night brought in the finances for this project. She is a member of the IWC of Colombo. She was the National Representative in 2004/05 when the devastating Tsunami struck Sri Lanka... Rohini chaired the Tsunami Committee whose efforts succeeded in building many houses, initiated self employment and provided basic needs to start life again thereby giving relief to many.
It was Dr. Carmel Fernandopulle (2002/03) who took up the mantle of Leadership next. She is a member of the IWC of Negombo. She made a contribution to the building fund of the Rotary District Center in Battaramulla which made IW District 322 a Life Member of the Center. A handsome donation was made to The Mammography Fund of the National Hospital Colombo, for early detection of cancer of the breast. The IW Clubs of Trincomalee and Kurunegala were formed during this period. Carmel was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International. She was the National Representative in 2005/06. Currently she is a Board Director of the International Governing Body.
The next chairman was Mrs. Diana Rahaman (2003/04). A financial donation was made to The Federation of the Visually Handicapped to transcribe textbooks into Braille for undergraduates. Donated a Perkins Brailler and Braille stationary for the visually handicapped children in Dharisanam School Batticaloa. Organized a Coffee Morning as a fund raiser to purchase a surgical drill for the Department of Neurosurgery of the National Hospital Colombo. IWC Ethugalpura and Kurunegala received their Charter during this time It is noteworthy to recall the publicity given to IW in the local newspapers with a full page supplement to mark the District Conference and the visit of the IIW President to Sri Lanka.. Also the official website of our District www.innerwheel.lk was launched during her year of office. She is a member of the IW Club of Maharagama and was the National Representative in 2006/07.
Mrs. Kanthi Fernandopulle (2004/05) took over from Diana. The much needed refurbishment of the Maternity Hospital in Maligawatte was completed. In keeping with the theme “Work Together and Give Hope” she presented 18 wheel chairs to clubs to be handed over to disabled people. Spectacles were presented to all clubs according to prescriptions. Two Anaesthetic machines were donated to Jaffna and Kurunegala Teaching Hospitals. A program was initiated to build houses in Ambalangoda and Kosgoda for the Tsunami victims. This project was continued by the Tsunami Committee and completed in about eighteen months, with a total of 36 houses, a Community Center and a School for IT and English. She is a member of the IWC of Negombo. She was the National Representative in 2007/08.
Mrs. Vinitha Guneratne (2005/06) embarked on a project to give sight to the poorest of the poor by collecting sufficient funds to obtain 125 sets of lenses to be implanted at Cataract surgery done at Matale Base Hospital and Vijaya Kumaratunge Hospital Seeduwa. The Kosgoda Community Center, financed by well wishers and many International IW Clubs on the initiative of the IWC of Colombo West and IW District 322 was officially opened by IIW President Erna Fandal. Vinitha is a very active member of the IWC of Colombo West and was the National Representative in 2008/2009. She currently holds the position of the IIW Board Director.
Mrs. Mangales Pathmanathan (2006/07) undertook to rebuild a Community Center, which was washed away by the Tsunami, in Batticaloa. The funds for this were received from IW France. She arranged to distribute 19 boxes of valuable books on IT and English, to 19 Girls Schools in keeping with IIW – UNICEF project “Educate a Girl Child”. She initiated the formation of the IW Club of Colombo Mid-City during her period of office which also saw a 7% growth in membership. She continued the close friendship IW District 322 members maintain with Inner Wheel friends in India, by leading a group of 22 members to attend the Triennial Conference in Mumbai. She is presently the Deputy National Representative and is an active member of the IWC of Colombo South.
Mrs. Priyanthi Perera (2007/08) took over the District leadership from Mangales.At present she is the Imm. Past District Chairman. She is an active member of the IWC of Wattala. ”Plant a Tree and Save Mother Earth”. With this in view she embarked on a tree planting programme in Kelaniya, Kosgoda and Kurunegala. The Tsunami house recipients were given dry rations and coconut seedlings to plant in their compounds. A sewing machine was donated to a poor woman to earn her living and a wheel chair to a disabled woman. 25 spectacle frames were donated at an Eye Camp in Kurunegala. 3 Water Filters were donated to the Kurunegala Hospital. Essential equipment was donated to the Paediatric Unit ICU of the Cancer Hospital Maharagama.
Mrs. Indira Kandasamy (2008/09) Priyanthie was succeeded as District Chairman by Indira. She encouraged the members to “Realise their Vision and Make a Difference” in the lives of the under privileged. Funds collected by her were divided between clubs to carry out their own projects in favour of girl children. District executives along with Members of Colombo Mid City organized a project to mark, ‘World Inner Wheel Day’ at the ‘Welikada Prison’. A demonstration was carried out for about fifty women prisoners showing them how to make these bags which could be sold to shops to procure some income. Four Hospital Trolleys were presented to the Prison Hospitals. This was a joint project by the District and the IW Club of Wattala. The first South Asia Rally was held in Kochi, South India during Indira’s tenure. Thirty including family members attended this event and had a great time mingling with more than 1000 delegates who participated in the event.
The 14th IIW Convention, in Kottakinabalu, Malaysia was also held during Indira’s time as the Chairman.
Mrs. Swarna Soysa (2009/10) She took over the leadership for the year 2009/10. Her main project for the year was to rehabilitate the families of 19 widows. Each club selected a widow with school going children and 19 widows were found self employment and the children were given assistance to continue their education. Each Club was given Rs. 15,000.00 towards this project by the District. Inner Wheel Club of Kandy Heritage was formed during this year and their Charter was presented at the District Conference by the IIW President Mrs. Anne Fryer who also attended a press conference. As it was the silver anniversary year of District 322, 75 members were given 25 year service badges by the IIW President at the District Conference. 19 Inner wheel members and 6 Rotarians from District 330 Malaysia /Singapore were hosted to high tea in Colombo and Kandy and also 25 Inner Wheel members from District 340 Pakistan met the members of District 322 the same day in Colombo. 30 members from District 322 attended the Triennial Conference in Varnasi , India and 17 members visited Budhagaya after the Conference. 50 families affected by floods were given dry rations.
The 26th District Chairman, Mala Edirisinghe (2010/2011) joined Inner Wheel in 1986. Her main project was to support the International Inner Wheel Social Project “Educating the Girl Child”, for she believes that educating the girl child is a long term successful investment for any family, community or country; as educated girls become educated adults and mothers, who positively contribute to the development, progress, safety and well-being not only of the family, but also that of the community and the country at large. In this context, 60 girls were identified, from Central, North Central and Southern Provinces; 20 from each province and each was given an Educational Kit, consisting of educational materials and other necessary school supplies, in order for them to attend school to receive a proper, good education. Apart from this, A cash contribution of Rs. 25,000/- and a donaton of T-shirts and caps were handed over to Sri Lak Saviya Foundation, to help 55 flood victim children in Rajagiriya. Similarly, a sum of Rs. 30,000/- was handed over to Rotary District 3220 towards the requirements of flood victims in Batticaloa. A donation of T-shirts, jackets and caps were also sent to the East through the IWC of Batticaloa & Trincomalee. The 2nd South Asia Rally was held in Habarana, Sri Lanka during Mala’s tenure. A total of 800 delegates participated from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Belgium and Sri Lanka.
Mrs Roshani Peiris (2011 – 2012) was inspired by the theme “Think Ahead – Aim High” to launch a District project entitled “Hope for Tomorrow” which encouraged clubs to extend a hand of friendship to young rape victims, helping re-build their shattered lives. Fund-raisers undertaken by IWC Kandy financed the project. Other projects also contributed to providing a better future for girls. District 322 joined forces with Districts 305, 306 and 314 (India) and IWC Bangalore South to fund an automatic chapatti-making machine for a school for visually impaired girls. Educational materials were donated to needy children identified by the IW clubs of Colombo South, Maharagama and Negombo and English books were donated to school libraries through the IW clubs of Kandy, Matale and Wattala. World Inner Wheel Day saw the gifting of a fully equipped computer room and of water tanks and taps to Galapitigala School in Habarana. Funds remaining from the South Asia Rally paid for the initiative. An eye camp in Bakmeegahawatte screened 675 people for spectacles and cataract operations.
Cross-border friendship and networking also marked the year. Roshi and two Past District Chairmen attended the District Chairmen’s Institute in Ahamadabad in September 2011 and a 19 member Sri Lankan delegation participated in the 15th IIW Convention in Istanbul in April 2012. A delightfully informal District Rally marked the visit of IIW President Catherine Refabert in September 2011 and an irreverent skit of village life written and performed by the three IW clubs of Kandy with their sisters of Katugastota and Negombo so impressed her that she mentioned it in her address at the Convention.
The more formal District Conference held in Kandy in February 2012 showcased the traditions of the hill capital and was marked by the ceremonial presentation of its Charter to the newest - and 20th – club of the District, the Inner Wheel Club of Battaramulla.
District Chairman 2012/2013 Joan Jayamanne’s vision for year 2012/2013 was to take the District forward to establish a strong, well recognized District with a professional outlook, through:(1) Growth and membership development (2) Image Building and (3) better educate the membership Inner Wheel. The most notable achievements made in this regard were: (a) the significant growth seen in 2012/13 with a record increase of 73 new members (b) the birth of Two Next Generation Clubs, a new concept introduced for the first time to the District, to infuse a vibrant new generation, to revitalize and modernize our Organization and (c) the positive impact made nationally and internationally through the concerted efforts made on publicizing District 322 through all possible media and the Web, specially the New Gallery page opened this year which gave the District wide exposure.
Although achieving these goals required focus and hard work throughout the year, we were always mindful of our commitment to the main object of Inner Wheel “Friendship and Service.”Our inspiration was certainly the beautiful theme “Be A Friend” given to us by the IIW President 2012/13 Carole Young.
District 322 addressed a burning social issue which received wide publicity early part of 2012/13 on – the unabated sexual abuse and other such crimes committed against the innocent Girl Child of our Nation. The district swiftly embarked on an Awareness program aimed at “prevention of such crimes,” rather than trying to “salvage” physically and psychologically damaged young lives, after the act. The resource persons were experts in the field from State Organizations, who provided Age appropriate sex education to Girls to create awareness on their right, the need and the know how to protect their bodies, while assuring them that help is at hand and that they are not alone. This program was carried out through the network of 22 Clubs in schools around the country. This project is in keeping with the IIW social project 2012/2015- “Happier Futures for Children.”The District is happy it had addressed not only a grave social issue satisfactorily but helped bring out into the open an issue which was hidden due to the social stigma and cultural sensitivity attached to such crimes. Cost of Project-Rs.110,000/. An extension of this program was carried out on International Women’s Day, for 250 MOTHERS of school children to make the Girl child project more effective, where the resource persons emphasized the dangers their children are exposed to through the internet/ social media and the mobile phones. Cost of ProjectRs.50,000/-
Flood Relief Project – The victims displaced in the worst affected areas of Sri Lanka by the major flood of December 2012 were provided necessary relief and other essentials. The project was done jointly with the Clubs. District Funds allocated for Natural Disasters amounting to Rs. 50,000/- was utilized.
A note from Mohini and Gwen who compiled the above in 2008/09 which was updated in 2011/12
The achievements of our past leaders are numerous. The advice and guidance they have extended to the District over the past twenty three years are much appreciated. We know their continued support will always be there to carry this District forward in upholding the Inner Wheel motto “Friendship and Service”.
This article was compiled by both of us at the request of Indira Kandasamy, District Chairman (2008 – 2009) who also provided the format for it, during her tenure as the Chairman.
Mrs. Mohini Gunasekera (Past National Representative)
Mrs. Gwendoline Tissera (Past IIW Rep. & Board Member)