January 2018 Newsletter

"We are making a meaningful difference in the lives of Children with Disabilities"

Here’s hoping the new year has started wonderfully well for you all, and will continue to be so throughout the coming years.

What we are proud of

The United Nations International Day for People with Disabilities was commemorated by VACD Sri Lanka on Sunday, 3rd December 2017 by the first ever procession of its kind to be held in the Uva District, with nearly 300 children with disabilities and their friends, families and supporters participating in a procession.   The procession began at the VACD centre in the morning, led by the smartly attired college band from Seevali Navodya Maha Vidyalaya, Bandarawela (Thank you!) and made its way along the main street and ended at the Municipal Grounds at mid-day.

As the photos show, the incessant rains of the previous days cleared up as if on cue for this event and brought together the entire community regardless of race or religion.  This was an opportunity to generate publicity and awareness of the plight of children with disabilities and the work VACD does to uplift their lives and those of their families.  The procession was also covered by reporters from national newspapers.

A sincere ‘Thank you’ to all who participated and served the community on the day, including the Sri Lanka Police Bandarawela, St John’s Ambulance team from Police Kanda Maha Vidyalaya, Diyatalawa and staff and students from local schools and our dynamic VACD Sri Lanka leadership team.

College band from Seevali Navodya Maha Vidyalaya, Bandarawela leading the procession.

VACD Children, their families and loved ones along with the public marching across the main street of Bandarawela.

A wheelchair bound VACD Child being pushed along by his mother.

Members of the St. John's ambulance team from Police Kanda Vidyalaya Diyatalawa walking with the diverse local community.

Many thanks to Mr. D A Sunil for his kindness and generosity in donating a nameboard for the VACD Centre in Bandarawela.

“Congratulations & Well Done!” to Thakshila Dilrukshi Dayana Kumari a VACD registered child who won first place in a general and folk singing contest for special needs children conducted by the Social Services Department of Uva District.

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Annesley Caspersz and his wife Franzi who travelled to Sri Lanka from Melbourne, and very kindly took time out of their busy sightseeing and touring schedule to visit Bandarawela and entertain our VACD children with a demonstration of magic and circus skills. The feedback from the children, parents and our leadership team were very positive. 

New program to assist families

While some families receive financial assistance under the VACD Educational Assistance Program extended to eligible and needy children with disabilities or a sibling who shows academic potential to ensure they continue their education and eventually support their families, there are families in dire need of help due to various reasons who do not receive any financial relief.

To assist these families, we are taking the initiative to establish the ‘Family Assistance Program’ (FAP) and solicit monthly tax-deductible sponsorship support payments of A$ 20/US$ 15 to A$ 25/US$ 20) per eligible family.

Eligible families will be selected by the Finance & Budgeting Committee on a case by case basis based on family structure, household income, number of children in the family, age of the disabled child, cost of supporting and providing medical assistance to the disabled child etc. and once approved by the Executive Committee will be entitled for FAP support. As and when sponsorships are received a family from the prioritised list will be given the allowance, thus making this program self-sustaining.

Please do consider committing to sponsoring a family/families under this program and please also look for potential sponsors from among your family and friends and get in touch with us for more details.

Our sincere thanks, best wishes and warm regards to all of you for your continued invaluable support, guidance and assistance and for being part of this incredible and challenging journey.

- Yasmin Stephen, Administration & Communications Secretary