It gives our team of volunteers, Yasmin and myself immense gratification to inform you that the National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka (NSB) have agreed to partner VACD and they will open Fixed Term Deposit accounts and Savings accounts for our children while also providing micro financing to the parents of these children.
We wish to place on record our deep appreciation for the guidance, support and assistance given to us by Mr Gamini Karunaratne – Director/General Manager Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka who liaised on our behalf with Ms W A Nalani – Chairperson National Savings Bank of Sri Lanka to make this partnership a reality, and in particular the enthusiasm and dedication shown by Ms Nalani for our humanitarian, philanthropic and altruistic endeavours to assist children with disabilities and their families in Sri Lanka. We are also grateful to Mr Janaka Herath – Senior Manager Marketing, NSB and Mr Tyron Gomis – Regional Manager – UVA NSB who have literally “hit the ground running” and are already working closely with our leadership team on these three projects.
In order to recap, here are our three projects that have now been modified slightly:
- Educational Assistance Program: This sponsorship program has been modified and will be made available to a larger group of children on a sliding scale where children in the lower grades will be given a lower monthly allowance relative to children in higher grades. Details of this sliding scale will be shared with you no sooner it is finalised. This program will be implemented prior to the commencement of the new educational year 2015 and will be extended to disabled children with the ability to further their education and academic potential or in the case of a disabled child not being intellectually gifted, we would consider assisting a gifted sibling in the hope that the latter would then be able to support and care for his/her less able brother/sister in the future. Each child will be given around Sri Lanka Rupees 2,000 per month which will be deposited to a savings account at NSB in the child’s name. The leadership team have also decided that parents and guardians of the children receiving this allowance will have to account for how the funds were deployed on a monthly basis, duly supported by documentary evidence of these expenditures in order to prevent the misuse of funds. We thank all of you who have pledged your support for this program that costs around A$ 20 per month. Given that the implementation of this scheme is time critical, we would urge those who have not yet responded to our appeal to support us in this effort. Funds will be required by around early December onwards as the project implementation will be around mid December;
- Fixed Term Deposit Accounts: We are working with NSB who suggest that the initial deposits for the Fixed Term Deposit Accounts be on a sliding scale given the large dispersion in the ages of our children. The sliding scale will be shared with you no sooner its ready. VACD will provide around an initial deposit of Rupees 2,500 with NSB matching this amount so that each child will have a Fixed Term Deposit of around Rupees 5,000 with the maturity of the term deposit being the day each respective child turns 18 years of age. In the case of a child in his/her mid to late teens the date of maturity may be extended to 21 years with a view to ensuring a higher yield which would hopefully be of more value for his/her future. In order to prevent these funds from being squandered and given that these funds should serve as “nest eggs” for the children so that they can reach some level of financial independence in the future and not be a burden on their families, we have suggest to NSB that original Fixed Term Deposit certificates should be held in their vault to ensure the safety and security of the instrument. Copies of these certificates will also be kept by the VACD leadership for our own records.
- Micro financing: We are having ongoing discussions with NSB on this project where a parent of a disabled child will be given micro financing facilities to start a business venture that will give the family additional income to support their child. We have suggested that a parent will have to contribute 1/3 of the amount required, 1/3 will be provided by VACD as an interest free loan (given that we are a not-for-profit charity) and NSB will provide the balance 1/3 which will attract interest charges. It is envisaged that VACD’s one third share of the loan would be limited, with the limit yet to be decided. We will keep you posted once this decision has been made. The project will be administered by NSB in close collaboration with our VACD leadership. We will keep you posted on progress being made on this front.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENT FACILITIES: We are delighted to remind you that our webpage: http://www.vacd.org.au/ has now got “Credit Card Payment” facilities that will make it far easier for you, in particular international supporters of our charity, to make donations and be part of our long but rewarding journey to help children with disabilities and their families achieve their dreams and aspirations. Please visit our webpage to make your donation.
We thank all of you for your continued invaluable support, assistance and guidance.
Many thanks, best wishes and warm regards…Yasmin & Felix