March April 2016

News Flash.. !!

Milestone:

We are proud to mention that on 27th March 2016, VACD reached another milestone – the first year anniversary since VACD Ltd was incorporated as a not for profit, non-government, limited liability public company/ public benevolent institution, during which time we continued to slowly but surely make steady progress towards achieving our vision and mission to uplift the lives of children with disabilities and their families in the Uva province of Sri Lanka and breakdown existing discrimination, social isolation, stigma and myths associated with disabilities.

Milestone:

We are proud to mention that on 27th March 2016, VACD reached another milestone – the first year anniversary since VACD Ltd was incorporated as a not for profit, non-government, limited liability public company/ public benevolent institution, during which time we continued to slowly but surely make steady progress towards achieving our vision and mission to uplift the lives of children with disabilities and their families in the Uva province of Sri Lanka and breakdown existing discrimination, social isolation, stigma and myths associated with disabilities.

 

Thank you:

Of course quite a few like minded individuals (apart from our untiring Aussie and Sri Lankan leadership and teams) made their invaluable contributions over the past years, and our sincere thanks go out to the following (in no particular order):

 

·        Mr. Kumar & Mrs. Kathy Palghat and the staff at Kapstream Capital for their annual fund raising event that has financially sustained VACD over the past three years;

·        Former Consultant Paediatricians at the Diyatalawa Base Hospital Dr Kumuduni Cooray (founder) and Dr Chandana Kekulawala, Dr Ranjith Amarakoon – Medical Superintendent  Diyatalawa Base Hospital and Dr Amitha Sumanasekara – Assistant Secretary (Medical Services) Uva Provincial Council for their support and guidance;

·        Ms Shiromi Aluwihare, Ms Asanthi Indunil Gangodawila, Ms Gabriella Ann Vascotto and Mr. Phil Quinton for conducting workshops and providing advisory work, and the Entrust group for providing medical equipment for the Bandarawela VACD Paediatric Clinic;

·        Other supporters and donors who wish to remain anonymous but continue to support us financially and sponsor children under our Educational Assistance Program (EAP);

·        Our web administrator and technical advisor, Mr. Chris Thomas who has since the very inception of VACD designed and administered our webpage and most recently added PayPal to the range of payment options now available on the VACD website;

·        Mr. G. Kannan, old boy of St Joseph’s College, Bandarawela who very generously donated a much needed new fridge/freezer for use in the new VACD centre in Bandarawela;

·        The staff at the Australian Charities & Not for Profits Commission who smoothed the way for VACD to be granted Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status in record time;

·        Mr. Basil Harischandra of Ranketha Rest, Pannagamuwa, Weeravila  who through his association with a VACD registered family took it upon himself to supply both breakfast and lunch to three busloads of VACD children, their families and members of the team when they undertook their annual day long pilgrimage/excursion;

·        Lak Saviya Foundation Australia Inc, team members who guided and supported us when we most needed it, especially Mr. Prabhath Amarasinghe, Treasurer for his patience and hard work in handling VACD transactions and accounts;

·        Our family friend and former colleague at Bank of Ceylon, Colombo, Ruwan Cooray who very kindly donated a laptop computer and arranged for a new printer/scanner/photocopier to be donated to the centre;

·        The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia, the Deputy High Commissioner, and Consul Generals in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane for providing behind-the-scenes support for our programs;

·        Officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra for working to provide services for the children through their Australian Volunteers in Developing countries (AVID) program;

·        Uva Provincial Councillors and Secretaries to the Ministries for their endeavours to institute a collaborative partnership with VACD in order to optimize services to disabled children in the province;

·        Ms Apsara Kapukotuwa Perera for her assistance in publishing an article about VACD in ‘Ceylon Today’ newspaper;

 

Sad News:

It is with great sadness we announce the death of Educational Assistance Program (EAP) recipient Miss Nethmi Dissanayake, 13 year old student of Visakha Girls College Bandarawela, sister of registered disabled child Miss Asinsani Chathumi Dissanayake (11 years old). Miss Nethmi was a joyful, bright young girl who very proudly proclaimed her intention to do well academically so that she could take care of her little sister. Tragically, young Miss Nethmi went into a diebetic coma on 20st April and despite every effort of the medical staff at the Diyatalawa Base Hospital, passed away on 21st April. Our love, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and their loved ones.

 

Uva Provincial Council/VACD collaborative Partnership update:

 

Mr. Ananda Wijitha Kumara Mapa – Deputy Chief Secretary (Planning), other Secretaries/representatives from the Uva Provincial Council and the VACD leadership met on Tuesday, 26th April and agreed on the following (in brief):

 

·       The Social Services department together with VACD to conduct a comprehensive survey to determine the full extent of child disability in the province;

·       Provincial authorities to assist VACD to set up centres in townships where the survey reveals 25+ disabled children living in the area;

·       Resumption of the VACD Paediatric clinic at the Bandarawela General Hospital with immediate effect;

·       Department of Small Industries to provide vocational training to disabled children and parents while paying them an allowance of Rs.4000 per month for their incidental expenses, and on completion of training program we will collectively seek to secure suitable employment for the trainees;

·       Education, Child Probation Services and Social Services Departments in collaboration with VACD to organise an annual event to celebrate World Children’s Day/Disabled Children’s Day;

·       Child Probation Services and Women & Children’s Protection Bureau of the Police Department to share data pertaining to neglected disabled children in the Tea Estate sector with VACD;

·       All departments to coordinate efforts to organise disability awareness programs for parents in collaboration with VACD;

·       Health Department to organise programs to educate young couples on disabilities and their causes in collaboration with VACD;

·       Department of Planning to take steps to modify Special Education Units in schools to make them user friendly for disabled children;

·       The authorities to look into the possibility of provision of travel concessions for disabled children;

·       Representatives from all departments and VACD officials resolved to meet every three months to consolidate and review progress and plans;

 

Make Some Change – Nutritious Meal for a disabled child:

Since information about our inclusion on the crowdfunding website Make Some Change went out, our thanks also go out to those who have supported us to generate funds to provide a nutritious meal for our disabled children as suggested by a health inspector who visited the VACD centre. Please keep playing as the entire game/process takes only a few minutes of your time and does not cost you any money.  All you need do is watch some inspiring video clips on the website:

https://makesomechange.com/give/to/vacd/provide-a-nutritious-meal/ and earn virtual coins, which you can donate to a cause of your choice (the VACD clip reads ‘provide a nutritious meal for 30 disabled children’). Also, please encourage your family, friends and colleagues to join the game by giving them share coins, as we need as many players as we can get to expand this funding initiative.  You are sure to enjoy participating whenever you have a few minutes to spare and are online.

 

Please visit our webpage: http://www.vacd.org.au/ for more information on VACD and to support, assist and join us in this challenging but rewarding journey to help those for whom VACD is the only hope.

 

Thank you, blue skies to you all always, and God bless – Yasmin