VACD July 2020 Newsletter

"When we give alms with our hearts, we give well"

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and collaborative partners,

We trust and pray that this newsletter finds you and your loved ones safe and well.

News Flash!!! – We are to open our 3rd VACD Centre in the Uva Province in Sri Lanka and need your support

The VACD Australia board approved the establishment of a new centre by early 2021 in the township of Welimada in the Uva province that will be administered similar to the existing Bandarawela and Badulla centres. The estimated cost of this venture in the first year is A$ 15,000 and A$ 10,000 per annum thereafter. Please help us to raise A$ 15,000 for this exceptionally worthy and humanitarian undertaking.

Why Welimada?

Our decision to open the Welimada centre in the Uva province is based on hard evidence shown on the table A below and repeated requests by medical and provincial authorities in the region for our sponsorship to help these unfortunate children and their families overcome many adversities and challenges.

As per Table A, latest available data shows that there are 505 children with wide-ranging disabilities between the ages of 5 and 20 in the Uva Paranagama and Welimada administrative districts. However, for social and cultural reasons many parents are reluctant to notify the authorities of their children with congenital impairments. Local medical and social services officials believe that the actual number of children with congenital impairments is substantially higher than what these official indicators reveal.

Our VACD Badulla centre takes care of children from the divisional secretariats colour coded in blue, the Bandarawela centre from the areas colour coded in yellow while the proposed Welimada centre will take care of children from the areas colour coded in green.

Table A: Disability Statistics for the Badulla District of the Uva Province:

Source: Department of Social Services

Why the Uva Province?

According to a World Bank report “Understanding Poverty in Sri Lanka” dated 2nd March 2017, the three main pockets of poverty in Sri Lanka are the former conflicts districts, the Batticaloa district and the Monaragala district in the Uva province. The Uva province has two administrative districts namely Badulla and Monaragala. As per the Central Bank of Sri Lanka report, the provincial share of national GDP of Uva was 5.7% in 2018.

Our long-term strategy is to first be successful in the Badulla district where we can establish our centres with proper infrastructure and adequate support facilities and then focus on the Monaragala district.

What do we do?

Most children with disabilities are from impoverished single parent rural communities where the breadwinners are low skilled casual labourers or subsistence farmers. In a majority of instances, it is the maternal grandparents who care for these children so that the mother can generate an income for the family.

Given that these parents lack the means or facilities to care for their children or even take them for medical assessments, health checkups, medication and rehabilitation etc. at government hospital clinics, we intentionally established our centres in townships bordering areas where the numbers of children with disabilities were known to be significantly higher.

VACD centres provide our children with training in numeracy, literacy, personal health, life skills, computer literacy, sports, music, vocational and leadership, and children with academic potential are given monthly allowances for educational purposes.

We provide nutritious meals and give financial aid for medication, medical aids, and travel for specialist consultations. Health records of individual children are maintained at our centres, and our staff liaise with the local pediatric clinics to ensure that our children undergo regular checkups, medication, and rehabilitation and coordinate visits to our centres by medical specialists.

We provide the parents with financial support, leadership and vocational training and arrange microfinance for their homebased income generating ventures. We conduct seminars and workshops for our parents and hold regular health, rehabilitation and educational camps for children and parents.

Cultural, social and community awareness programs are conducted by us to eliminate community and public discrimination and abuse of children with disabilities and their families.

Photo Gallery:

The above photos show our Young VACD Club members leading a procession to mark the UN International day of persons with disabilities, children having a break in the play area, classroom scenes, dancing, doctors and staff meeting, parents meeting, cultural event, computer training and a child arriving for the health and rehabilitation camp.

VACD Expenses:

Tables B, C & D below provide you with detailed expenditure/analysis and highlights that your donations are being deployed diligently and exclusively in Sri Lanka in keeping with our mission statement: https://www.vacd.org.au/index.php/about/mission-vision

Table B: FY 2019/2020 Expenditure:

Total allowances paid to VACD Sri Lanka staff during the Australian 2019/2020 financial year is listed under "Sri Lankan Staff Allowances” and total incidental work-related expenditure reimbursed to Sri Lankan Board members and Staff is listed under “Work Travel, Accommodation & Meals". VACD Australia board members have not been reimbursed for any expenditure incurred by them on account of our mission since inception.

Table C: VACD Expenditure from FY 2015/16 to FY 2019/20

Table D: VACD Expenditure Ratio from FY 2015/16 to FY 2019/20

VACD Financial Expenditure & Expenditure Ratio:

Table C highlights trends in key expenditure from FY 2015/16 to 2019/20. We are particularly delighted by our financial expenditure ratio (Table D) which shows that as at the end of June 2020, 89% of your donations to VACD Australia and Sri Lanka were deployed directly and 10% indirectly for the benefit of our children and their families while admin costs remained at 1%. This was possible only because our unique operating model enables us to keep overall costs down since our mission is administered by a team of dedicated and committed volunteers and the admirable management skills of our leadership team in Sri Lanka who have determinedly restrained unwarranted expenditure over the past few years.

The broader VACD Structure & Teams:

Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities (VACD) are based in Australia, Sri Lanka, and the USA with a mutual motivation to help and uplift children with disabilities and their families in Sri Lanka.

However, the three missions operate as autonomous, legally constituted and separate benevolent bodies that are independently administered by their respective boards, registered with their respective national/local oversight authorities and report, operate and function under the legal framework and statutory guidelines/jurisdiction of the domiciled state/country.

Our Australian and Sri Lankan teams consists of a total 115 members, of whom 107 are volunteers and only 8 are salaried staff. The number of teaching staff will increase by another seven later this year to cope with increasing needs. We presently have 330+ children registered with us across the Uva province in Sri Lanka and expect the number of children in our fold to grow significantly as we broaden our outreach across the Uva Province.

Donations can be made to VACD Australia (with tax deductibility for Australian taxpayers only) in the following ways:

Via the VACD webpage: (from any country)

https://www.vacd.org.au/index.php/donations/cba-credit-cards where you can make regular or ad hoc donations via your credit card, PayPal, electronic transfers, or a direct bank deposit.

Via Good Company: (Workplace giving) – (only within Australia)

https://www.goodcompany.com.au/charity/Volunteers-to-Assist-Children-with-Disabilities where you can make regular or ad hoc donations that will be matched by your participating employer.

Via the VACD Bank account: (online from any country by electronic/ direct deposits)

Name of account: Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities Limited
Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Branch: Cnr of Liverpool & Castlereagh Streets, Sydney NSW 2000
Account No: 1130 2156
BSB: 062-016

Donations in Sri Lanka rupees can be made via the VACD Sri Lanka bank account as follows (within Sri Lanka):

Name of account: Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities Private Limited
Bank: Seylan Bank
Branch: 240 Badulla Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka
Account No: 046035439722001

We will consider granting any major sponsor/supporter the naming rights to the new Welimada centre, similar to how it was done with our Bandarawela ("Sir Robert Clark Centre for Children with Disabilities") and Badulla ("Dora Jeanne Centre for Children with Disabilities").

Thank you very much all:

Your generosity and the commitment, dynamism and dedication of our teams have enabled us to achieve our objectives for children with disabilities and their families since we began our journey on 27th December 2011. We remain deeply appreciative of the support all of you have given us to sustain our mission and accomplish much over these past years.

We welcome you to be partners with us on this benevolent journey:

Please continue to support us in our efforts to uplift the lives of children who need your love, support and assistance, and reach out to us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please also share this newsletter with your family, friends, loved ones and colleagues so that together we can make a difference in the lives of children with disabilities, one by one!!!

Many thanks, best wishes and warm regards…. Felix

Felix Stephen

Chairman of the Board of Directors - VACD Ltd. Sydney – Australia - http://www.vacd.org.au/
Member of the Advisory Board – VACD USA – http://www.vacdusa.org/
Member of the Advisory Board – VACD Sri Lanka
Senior Associate – Cognoscenti Group – Sydney – Australia- http://www.cognoscenti.global/
Consultant - Investment Committee - Lonsec - Sydney – Australia - https://www.lonsec.com.au/
Member of Investment Committee - Arrive Wealth Management - Brisbane – Australia - http://brisbane.arrivewealthmanagement.com.au/
Consultant - Global Financial Market Investment Research & Investment Strategy
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.