Sahana software was originally developed by members of the Sri Lankan IT community who wanted to find a way to apply their talents towards helping their country recover in the immediate aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. The word “Sahana” means “relief” in Sinhalese, one of the national languages of Sri Lanka. Our community has since grown to include experts in emergency and disaster management as full partners in the software development process. This is extremely unique in the governance of software projects, and a unique strength of the Sahana Software Foundation.
The Lanka Software Foundation (LSF) was the first owner of the intellectual property making up Sahana software, and under its stewardship, Sahana software grew into a global free and open source software project supported by hundreds of volunteer contributors from dozens of countries and it supported national and local authorities and relief agencies in their response to numerous large-scale, sudden-onset disasters. In early 2009, the directors of the Lanka Software Foundation decided to allow Sahana to spin off into its own organization. The Sahana Software Foundation was established in 2009 by an initial board of directors as a non-profit organization registered in the State of California to serve the needs and requirements of a diverse group of customers. SSF partners with disaster and technologies experts, technology, professional services and disaster response organizations and to better address information needs and the following questions:
- How can conditions and urgent requirement be effectively communicated to the international donor community?
- How can responsible authorities understand where hospitals that can accommodate additional patients are located?
- How can family members remaining in villages be reunited with their parents, spouses, and children separated by evacuation?