Trust this finds you and all your loved ones well.
Felix’s Sri Lanka Tour Brief:
- Uva Provincial Council,Badulla: A special meeting was convened and chaired by M M Ananda Wijitha Kumara Mapa – Deputy Chief Secretary (Planning), attended by the Chief Secretary Uva Provincial Council, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Assistant Secretary – Medical services, Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Director Department of Industries Development, Director Social Services, various other officials from the Uva Provincial Council and the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary of VACD Ltd Sri Lanka along with Felix – Chairman VACD Australia. Felix delivered a PowerPoint presentation on VACD’s achievements to date, past and future projects and mission and vision, that led to a healthy and productive discussion and agreement.
- A steering committee made up of secretaries to key ministries, directors of key departments and key VACD officials was established and would meet once every two months to review, plan and implement various projects.
- The Chief Secretary suggested that VACD present a formal proposal to the Uva Provincial council so that a partnership agreement between VACD and the Uva Provincial council can be tabled and ratified at a Provincial Council meeting. This proposal is being prepared by the Chairman VACD Sri Lanka to be submitted to the council shortly.
- Business Community, Bandarawela: A meeting of VACD officials and the Bandarawela United Traders Association was held where K Kumaravel – Treasurer (Founder Owner Janalanka Textiles), Upali Ekanayake – President (Founder Owner Sarasavi Osusala) and
- Kingsley De Silva – Immediate Past President (Owner Agency Post Office & Printing) were briefed of VACD projects and programs. They pledged their support to VACD programs and projects which was extremely encouraging because the success of VACD activity partly relies on local business and community assistance and support.
- Rapid progress has since been made to provide financial and other support to parents of VACD children with the cooperation and assistance of the Regional Development Bank (www.rdb.lk), Tea Small Holdings Development Authority (www.tshda.gov.lk), The Uva Provincial Department of Agriculture ( www.agridept.up.gov.lk) and the Department of Industries Development, Uva Province (www.industrydept.up.gov.lk)
- Discussions are underway with the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority (TSHDA) to assist parents of disabled children who are already involved in tea small holding operations or those who wish to enter this field and obtain outright grants from TSHDA. Four parents have already been chosen to participate in this project and the final outcome will be known once the project evaluation is completed.
- Discussions are quite advanced with the Uva Provincial Department of Agriculture (UPDA) to provide assistance to parents of disabled children to receive guidance and assistance from the UPDA to participate in horticulture, bee keeping (RDB financing wherever required), food preservation industry etc. while UPDA will also provide parents with training in these fields.
- Ajith Dissanayake, Provincial Industry Director Department of Industries Development who has been closely associated with VACD is considering many projects and varied assistance programs for VACD parents, one of which is to make available handloom machines and training to parents of disabled children.
Micro financing by the Regional Development Bank: The Regional Development Bank (RDB) for the first time ever has embarked on a pilot project to partner VACD by evaluating the viability of projects that VACD parents wish to pursue, providing guidance, training and advice on these eligible projects and extending financial support to parents under the Grameen Banking concept. The VACD leadership will act as coordinators to the scheme with the VACD Family Budgeting and Finances Committee playing an anchor role.
- Some of the projects that have been identified for support are: Mushroom cultivation, manufacturing footwear, making doormats and carpets, sewing, Saree embroidering, candle making, establishing retail shops, packaging of tea leaves, pepper cultivation, seed paddy and seed vegetable production. The RDB is also considering financing the establishment of a hair dressing salon and a bee keeping project which will require a higher level of financing.
- The RDB have formed 3 teams of 5 VACD parents with a “Team Leader” who will be responsible for the rest of the team’s loan repayments, servicing and financing while the team will be individually and collectively responsible for the success of their individual and group projects under the Grameen Banking concept.
- Janaka Padmasiri – Assistant Manager RDB Bandarawela, Roshini Karunaratne – Entrepreneurial Development Officer Bandarawela Divisional Secretariat, G M Nadika Hemamala – Field Officer RDB Bandarawela will be actively involved in this project providing training, advice and monitoring of all projects. Monthly meetings will be held between the borrowers, RDB and the VACD leadership team, while the Divisional Secretariat will work closely with all parties to ensure its success.
- Should any VACD registered young adult need financing for a feasible project, VACD will consider on a case by case basis the type of assistance and financing that is required and appropriate terms of credit etc. and will seek guidance and assistance on these matters where possible.
UN’s International Day of persons with disabilities
On 10th October VACD children trained by our dance teacher Mrs Manori Priyangika gave a public performance of a series of dances choreographed by her to celebrate this Day. The item depicted below is the famed “Peacock Dance”
A dental clinic for VACD children was held at Vishaka College premises Bandarawela, thanks to the mobile dental clinic from the General Hospital Badulla.
a) The VACD leadership team in Bandarawela are very busy putting into place the requirements for the establishment of VACD centres for children with disabilities and their parents in the townships of Welimada, Mahiyangana, Badulla and Wellawaya following urgent requests for our assistance from parents and government officials alike. Officials at the Uva provincial council have also pledged their assistance and support for this project.
b) An art competition will be held sometime next year with the assistance of the Uva Provincial Ministry of Education across the Uva province under a theme “Every Child is Creative” with the finalists being awarded prizes and the winning entry being used by VACD for promotional purposes. The banking and finance industry in Sri Lanka have pledged to donate prizes to the finalists.
On 21st August the VACD account had been credited with $500, with no identifying reference/donor’s name. While we deeply appreciate this donation we would like to thank the person who made this great gesture and ask that he/she contact us so that we can issue an official receipt for these funds.
Please visit our webpage for more information on VACD and to find out how you can support our children, in particular the educational Assistance Program, via direct credit or through the credit card payment system.
As always, thank you for joining us on this most rewarding of journeys, and we wish you all blue skies.
Many thanks, best wishes and warm regards…Yasmin