Anandapura Farm, situated in Katana off Negombo in the Gampaha district, was started in 1978 as a place where the more able young adults from the Prithipura Infants Home could graduate. At its inception the plan was for a small group of people to live and work on the farm striving towards self-reliance and independence through practical work and skills training in the School and Workshop.

At present there are about 40 residents.   Some are more able and independent so living accommodation is provided for them separately.

This 12 acre site is mainly a coconut plantation. Facilities have been erected for a cattle shed and a pigsty. The more physically able residents help with various aspects of raising these animals and with agriculture. The residents consume the milk, eggs and various fruits and vegetables produced on the farm while the surplus is sold in the local market.

There are 6 residential assistants who help with the daily running of the Farm, education and with personal hygiene issues. It is worth stressing that the residents work on the farm using their own initiative and intervention is rarely needed except in a supervisory capacity. Accommodation is available for volunteers who wish to contribute to the work of the centre.

Paper Making

Two days a week the residents take a break from making brushes and make recycled paper instead.

Waste paper is cut into shreds and then soaked in water and dyed before being pulped, prepared on a mould, compressed, and then dried.

The paper produced is then used for a variety of commercial purposes, the most significant of which is its transformation to invitation cards, greetings cards and other items at Cotagala.

Many of the residents at Anandapura have previously grown up at Prithipura and spent time at the school at Cotagala, and the use of the paper produced at Anandapura by the school at Cotagala to produce value added items is another example of the interconnectivity that makes the Prithipura philosophy and practise such a success.

Animal husbandry & farming

At Anandapura pigs, cattle, and goats are farmed, and a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown for consumption.

The cattle are used for milk and some of the more able residents are responsible for the care of these animals, milking twice daily etc. The cattle graze between the coconut trees, doing their bit to keep the coconut plantation neat, tidy and productive, and their dung is used as fertilizer for the homes organic garden where a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, and herbs are grown.

The pigs are kept for breeding purposes with the boar mating alternately with the two sows so that a steady supply of piglets can be reared for sale. The piglets are sold on at the age of two months, with some females kept when exceptionally large litters are born so that another boar can be purchased and introduced to the breeding program to expand production.

The keeping of goats at Anandapura is a relatively new development. The space that had been used for keeping chickens is now being used to keep a small goat herd, and future possibilities of expanding the goat herd are being evaluated.

Brush making

While the most able-bodied of the residents work on the farm the lesser able focus their energies on brush making.

The workshop is used in the mornings as a classroom between 9:00 and 12:00, and after lunch, three times a week between 15:00 and 17:30 the classroom becomes a workshop where brushes are produced.

Coconut leaves are collected from around the plantation and then stripped of their leaves in the workshop.

Once the leaves have been stripped the fibre making up the central stem is then extracted from the leaves in the workshop, stripped, cleaned, and cut into equal lengths before they are then assembled with the help of nails, old tuna cans and a length of wood to create the brushes.

All of this is overseen by the foreman - one of the residents, selected on a rota-basis, who makes sure that work starts and finishes when it is supposed to, and that tea-break happens on time!

In a remarkable example of how the local community has supported Anandapura the local villagers no longer buy tuna in the smallest can size (which is unsuitable for brush production) but instead buy their tuna in larger cans so that the used cans can later be used in the workshop for brush production.

The villagers later purchase the brushes directly from Anandapura as they have found the quality of the brushes produced there to be better than those available for purchase elsewhere.

On average three brushes are produced each day, which are then sold for 50 Rupees to local villagers.

As most of the materials used in producing the brushes is waste, and as such free, the cost of materials for the brush is about 5 Rupees, so each brush is produced at a healthy 1000% mark-up!

While the money generated from this activity is largely inconsequential, the involvement of the residents in the process is a great example of how the Prithipura philosophy and practise enables these lesser-abled residents to contribute to society in a way that provides them with a sense of fulfilment and worth.

Coconut harvesting

When Anandapura was purchased in 1972 Brian de Kretser and Siripala Ramanayake had been able to negotiate a very good price for the 12.5 acre plot that had already been planted with coconut trees, but the land was in a poor state of repair and there were no domicile structures.  In the 30+ years since then there have been many changes, but the coconut remains at the heart of Anandapura!

The Coconut plantation provides fuel for the fires that prepare the meals (the dried stems of the harvested bunches of coconuts), the raw material for the brushes produced in the workshops (made with fibres from the fallen leaves), and the harvested coconuts provide a valuable source of income to Anandapura.