The Samarakkody family’s influential presence in civil service runs nearly unbroken through three hundred years of Sri Lanka’s history. It began with Samanakkodi Uda Gampaha, an Adigar under King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe of the Kingdom of Kandy. And the role of service to one’s community followed down the line of descendants in the Samarakkody family all the way to the youngest member, Anarkalli. Passed from one generation to the next, the importance of being hard working, honest and genuine could be said to be in her family’s DNA.
Since she was young, Anarkalli’s family had acted as special influences on her. Her grandmother Effie Samarakkody served as chairman of the Urban Council in Nawalapitiya, where she was the first woman in Sri Lanka to head an Urban Council. Her brother Edmund Samarakkody was also a well respected political figure who helped to found the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. Anarkalli’s grandfather, Robert Edward “R.E.” Jayatilaka, was a progressive politician who fought for education rights for underrepresented people in the nation. One of the many notable projects from his service was to create a public sports complex that was later posthumously renamed the R.E. Jayatilaka Sports Complex in his honor.
Anarkalli always looked up to the humanitarian service her grand parents were involved in and when she looked back on her family history, she felt compelled to act on the strength she saw in her ancestry. She wanted to give back, to prove that when people work hard, they are able to make lasting change, for themselves and for the people around them.
Aged 18 , the young star had grown up to become a staunch patriot and she decided to start campaigning for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a time when many were hesitant to come forward and support the leader . The 2004 Presidential campaign was a success and Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the new President of Sri Lanka. Following the victory of the election Anarkalli accepted the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera’s appointment to be the public relations officer to serve in the Ministers Bureau at the Ministry.
In 2009, at the height of her success, Anarkalli was elected as a provincial councilor for the Galle district. The only female on the 54-member council and the youngest woman in Sri Lanka’s history to hold the position. She had followed in her grandpa and grandma’s footsteps and was now leading by example like they had. Anarkalli served as a Provincial Councillor for a term of five years .