January 2015

The VACD team extends to you, your families, loved ones and colleagues our warmest greetings and very best wishes for 2015 and beyond. We look forward to 2015 with confidence, knowing that your guidance, support and assistance will enable us to build on our past successes and expand our activities and programs across the Uva province while reaching out to many more disabled children and their families to make a true and meaningful difference in their lives.

Dear All,
 
The VACD team extends to you, your families, loved ones and colleagues our warmest greetings and very best wishes for 2015 and beyond....
 
We look forward to 2015 with confidence, knowing that your guidance, support and assistance will enable us to build on our past successes and expand our activities and programs across the Uva province while reaching out to many more disabled children and their families to make a true and meaningful difference in their lives.
 
News in Brief:

  1. The Annual General Meeting of the VACD Mothers’ Union members in Sri Lanka was held in late December. Please visit the Team page where you will find the new team and the respective committees.
  2. The Annual General Meeting of the VACD Sri Lanka team will be held either in late January or early February 2015.
  3. The total number of children presently registered with VACD is around to 300 from close to 350 last year. The decline in numbers is due to families leaving the region, some children reaching adulthood and sadly, the demise of some disabled children.  
  4. Yasmin and I are scheduled to spend time with our Sri Lankan volunteers, parents, children and various medical and provincial administrative authorities from mid February through till mid March.
  5. The implementation of the Fixed Term Deposit (FTD) and Educational Assistance Program (EAP) had to be postponed by a approximately month for reasons explained below. These two programs are driven entirely by the “Family Budgeting & Finances Committee” with inputs from the “Education and Training  Committee” and close oversight by the “Project Steering, Planning & Implementation Committee”.

IN PROGRESS:

Fixed Term Deposit Program – (FTD):

  • The Mothers’ committee members are responsible for the strict application of the criteria and guidelines that determines the eligibility of children for FTD assistance. Of the close to 300 registered children, approximately 180 children are eligible to receive FTD assistance. However, due to significant discrepancies and inconsistencies in registered names as they appear in school registers and on birth certificates, lack of acceptable documentation, inconsistencies in names of parents/guardians, dates of birth, addresses etc. and good, sound and professional advice given by the officers of the National Savings Bank, meant that the implementation of this program will take place only when all the required criteria has been met. We will keep you closely informed of progress on this front. We will soon furnish you with a list of FTD recipients with personal information that contravenes privacy and child protection laws and guidelines being omitted from this list.

Educational Assistance Program- (EAP):

  • We have thus far received 51 sponsorships while approximately 130+ children require assistance under this scheme. We urgently seek your sponsorship to help us meet the needs of the rest of the children.
  • The mothers’ committee have allocated sponsorships on a needs and priorities basis to the 51 children. 
  • As in the case of FTD, the EAP program faces significant challenges with the additional need for verifiable information being submitted to the VACD leadership regarding household income and other important information by parents/guardians.
  • The VACD team continue to scrutinise each application with extra care in order to eliminate misuse or abuse of the scheme.
  • The administration and reporting of the program to the VACD leadership rests entirely with the mothers’ committee who will be furnished with a monthly statement of opening and closing balances of the savings accounts of the children under EAP by the National Savings Bank.
  • The parents/guardians will have to provide documentary evidence on the use of funds under this program to the mothers’ committee on a monthly basis while the misuse or funds (other than for educational purposes) or non reporting of expenses for more than three consecutive months will force an automatic cancellation of the benefit to the child; another child on the waiting list will then receive the allowance 
  • We will soon furnish you with a list of EAP recipients with personal information that contravenes privacy and child protection laws and guidelines being omitted from this list.

Micro financing: We will keep you posted on progress being made on this front.
 
Other Activities & Observations: The VACD Centre in Bandarawela continues to provide children with education, life skills training, dancing and music training while the parents are given sewing, knitting, craft and other similar income generating training. The parents and the local community along with local businesses, medical and administrative authorities are gradually beginning to play a visible role in most VACD activities in the UVA province, which is precisely the “core” of the VACD model.
 
CREDIT CARD PAYMENT FACILITIES: Please visit our webpage to make your donation. 
 
TOP PRIORITY: We need more sponsors for our Educational Assistance Program (EAP) to meet the significant demand for education related financial assistance as per above, requiring a monthly donation of A$20 or Rs.2,000/child.
 
We thank you for your continued support and look forward to this rewarding and fulfilling journey we take with you in 2015 and over many more years.
 
Many thanks, best wishes, warm regards, love to all from all of us to all of you and God Bless......Felix & Yasmin