Books for the mind as food for the body




CCBS was formed

The CCBS was formed by Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya as the founder president. He left no stone unturned to get this concept accepted by the Parents around Sri Lanka.


Expanded to schools

The Plan was progressing as per schedule and had been expanded to schools. The Education services Minister provided every facility


Children’s Book Day

This is a year very special to the CCBS as well as to when it was decided by him to hold the First Children’s Book Day in Sri Lanka. This idea was the conceived by Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya. And was praised by top professionals like Prof. Sunanda Mahendra, Expert Media Consultant in Sri Lanka Mr. Edwin Ariyadasa, Senior Lecturer Daya Rohana Athukorala and Eminent Lawyer Mahinda Relpanawa and many more under whose participation this Chidren’s Book Day was held at the Colombo Public Library.

This happens to be the first ever Chidren’s Book Day held in the whole of Asia and is recorded as such in UNESCO records. This day commenced with a procession of the children and ended with Awards distribution ceremony to those who have shown exceptional fetes in literacy skills with dedications to those authors local and foreign, who had contributed significantly to improve the literacy and book reading habits among children. Further, towards children’s skill development programme a Children’s Summer Camp was held on 2nd of April 1985 as a complimentary activity to the ‘Children’s Book Day’.


Plan was submitted

The results of the FIVE-Year plan was submitted to the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.


Reading Clubs were established

The CCBS-UNESCO societies of Children’s Reading Clubs were established – 189 was established around the Island – (This number had grown to 700 clubs by the year 2005 – Largest in the World for a single country – an achievement unparrolled).

Received the Most Outstanding UNESCO project on Child Literacy Development in the World. After receiving the world awarld, Prof Ananda Guruge stated that “This is not only the award for your society. It is the great award of whole country.”

UNESCO Head Quarters presented US$ 2500 as a gift for the society.

At the World literary Festival for Children held at Boston University in USA in 2003 CCBS received recommendation for setting up the largest number of Children’s  libraries & reading centers.


Meeting with Nelson Mandela

CCBS had a rare opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the International conference.

 Commonwealth Forum organized International conference on “Human Rights” in Harare, Zimbabwe in June,1995.As a world conference Commonwealth wanted to ger participate every country. But then Sri Lanka had a problem. Then the Sri Lanka was firing with civil war. International diaspora was against to have Sri Lanka representative to the conference. But commonwealth wanted a representative from Sri Lanka. Finally diaspora agreed to have a representative from Sri Lanka- but not from Sri Lanka Government. CCBS selected to represent Sri Lanka as a world winner. Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya had a very rare opportunity to meet and express our idea at the present of late Mr Nelson Mandela. We could open the real picture about Sri Lanka at the world conference.


5 year plan

The CCBS under the able leadership  set a 5 year plan for the society to spread the concept and to develop the reading habits of the children around Sri Lanka and to plan a strategy to improve the literacy among the poor and sundry

The 5 year plan handed over by Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya to Prof. Ananda Guruge Hon. Ambassador & UNESCO Representative in France Prof.Ananda Guruge was very satisfied this literacy pan and asked Mr Lionel Jayatilaka, Minister of Education services to assist success the plan.


Improvements suggested

The monitoring of the plan and improvements suggested and implemented to improve the growth of membership


Queen's recognition

HM the Queen of Denmark recognized the efforts of society and the society and was full of praise for the dedicated services carried out in 1985. In 1986 a special award was made by Her Majesty in recognition of the work carried out by the CCBS in appreciation of the Denmark Born famous author of children’s books, Hans Christian Anderson at the  Children’s Book Day celebrations held in 1985 in Sri Lanka by the CCBS.


Savings System for Children

The continuance of the program was ensued with the concept of Children’s Reading Clubs The UNESCO Head sent to Sri Lanka Dr Bruce Cahill, an UNESCO expert to examine CCBS activities under the 5 year plan. Dr Cahill examined our children’s library net work and met library representatives around Sri Lanka  He stated I have never seen like this UNESCO giant works at any country around the globe.

Dr Bruce Cahill suggested and told:

We accepted the Br Cahill’s challenge. We circulated a letter to start children’s savings system. Parent highly appreciated CCBS requests. CCBS couldn’t controlled children’s savings from Colombo. So we asked to Government Bank to protect children’s savings. Later it called as “Sisu Udana” and became 1st children savings system of Sri Lanka. 1st children’s savings system opened at Po/Viharagama Primary school which school was opened present President Hon. Maithripala Sirisena. After that every bank opened various savings system for children.


South Asian Forum for the Rights of Child

Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya personally assisted in Nepal to start the “South Asian Forum for the Rights of Child” under the auspices of SAARC Secretariat. It was the first organization for child rights in South Asia.

During this time as CCBS president Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya could visit many SAARC countries and meet and discussed with SAARC leaders like Rajeew Gandhi-India Prime Minister, Koirara and King Birendra in Nepal, President Ershad in Bangladesh.


International Child Art Foundation

CCBS could introduced 1st international awarded child artist to the country. She was Chatura Kalpani Sooriya Arachchi of Rathnawali Balika at Gampaha. Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya could visit USA with Child artist and her father to attend world children festival which was in Washington,US. Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya had an another chance to represent Sri Lanka and address the World Children Forum in Washington. He wanted to say something new. So He told “Batakola Achchi’s story” Then Hillary Clinton also was on the stage. She excited to listen Sri Lanka’s speech and turned her chair. In the evening Dr. Dhammadesha Ambalampitiya also invited for the dinner with President Clinton.

International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) appointed CCBS as the country partner of ICAF.

1990 – Today

New Hope, New Century

The strides made during this decade are of enormous important to the mental health of the children. It is a fact that the child is in school for only about 8 hours. Most of the balance 16 hours is spent outside the school. It was decided to develop an informal education system to develop the child mentally.

A systematic set of programmes were developed  and implemented through his now recognized society “Colombo Children’s Book Society”.

To name some of them: –

  • Organized with the Ministry of Education an island wide (competition) Program, called “ Buddhi Pradeepa” – (Light of Intelligence)
  • Representative in Sri Lanka for International Child Art Foundation
  • Continues to expand the number of Children’s Book Societies affiliated to the CCBS  (from 700 in year 2000) – targeted a continuous growth of minimum of 100 societies per year.
  • Trained and introduced 1570 new Authors proficient in the production of Children’s Books
  • Introduction of “Sisu Udana” Children’s Savings Account – to encourage the student to save money
  • Received the Most Outstanding UNESCO project on Child Literacy Development in the World  at the World literary Festival for Children held at Boston University in USA in 2003 for setting up the largest number of Children’s Book Societies.
  • Children’s Summer Camp held annually for the 32nd time in succession on 02nd  of April 2016 – to develop the literacy skills of children and to appreciate the great authors (Local & Foreign) who have contributed to the development of children’s literature
  • Planned translation of Sinhala Children’s Literature to Tamil language and to develop and extend the societies to the other ethnic groups (planned to take effect when normalcy returns in the affected area)
  • Now we have introduced to our members monthly programs to attend. They will attend them very happily. They show their talents and they are in top level in every place – every where. It is called as “12 Mahe Pahana”  now our members are interesting to follow this annual activity program.

CCBS started new system to offer children’s books at low rate-Rs 10/= per book. Education Ministry fully supported this system and they issued circulars to the school to buy this low cost quality books . It was very popular and Book Traders fighted against this system.

They planned to CCBS draw form the Ministry. They were more powerful and CCBS has to limit it’s more valuable services.

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