March 2018 VACD Sri Lanka Tour Report
March 31, 2018

We are back after the most successful trip so far! ….. and feeling like we have finally managed to blow the cobwebs away and let the blessings flow in and suffuse all our activities.

Firstly, we are proud to announce that we have a new leadership team at VACD Sri Lanka that were appointed at the Annual General Meeting at which we were in attendance. This new team are well respected among the local community, have great professional profiles, skills and experience that can take VACD to the next phase of our journey:

Executive Team

Chairman –  Mr. Sunil Fernando (Past Local Council Member, Past President Rotary  Club Bandarawela and Assistant Governor Rotary Club)

Secretary –  Colonel Kumarasinghe (Retired Sri Lanka Army)

Treasurer –  Mrs. Sunethra Deepthi (VACD parent)

Deputy Chairman –  Mrs. Prabha Karunarathne (Teacher, St Thomas’ College Gurutalawa)

Assistant Secretary – Mr. Sujeeva Abeynayaka (Teacher, St Joseph’s College


Assistant Treasurer – Mr. Thushara Serasinghe (Accountant, Tea Smallholdings Authority)   

Director Education & Training – Mrs. Nandawathie Ranaweera (Retired Special Education Teacher, Dharmashoka College Bandarawela)   

Advisory Board

Mr. Nanda Mathew, (ex- Governor of Uva Province) – Patron VACD Sri Lanka

Mr. Sisira Ratnayake (Retired High Court Judge)

Mr. D M Ranathunge (Principal Central College, Bandarawela)

Mr. Felix Stephen (VACD Australia)

Mrs. Yasmin Stephen (VACD Australia)

Left photo – Executive Team (left to right): Mrs. Sunethra Deepthi, Mr. Thushara Serasinghe, Colonel R M Kumarasinghe, Mr. Sunil Fernando, Mrs. Prabha Karunarathne & Mr. Sujeeva Abeynayaka and Board (right photo) 

We are delighted to announce two new collaborative partnerships that have been established between VACD and Foundation of Goodness (FoG) and VACD and the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka

Photo: (Left to right) Ms. Fazana Ibrahim, Mr. Kushil Gunasekera, Felix, Yasmin and Joel Fernando

Foundation of goodness (FoG) are ready to open their 10th Village Heartbeat Empowerment Centre in Bandarawela. VACD and FoG have agreed to collaborate and support each other so that we can better serve the communities in Bandarawela by combining our strengths and expertise with common visons and goals..


Left photo: (Left to right) Rev Rohitha De Silva, Yasmin, President / Bishop Rev Asiri Perera and Felix.

Right photo: The building in Badulla that the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka have offered us along with a building in Welimada,

The collaborative partnership between VACD and the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka will  enable us to open two new VACD centres that will be managed under joint oversight in two key townships in the Uva province. There are a large number of disabled children who are in dire need our support in these two regions. Plans are under way to open these centres as soon as possible

The building in Badulla is ideally located and has many unique features that would give VACD a great opportunity to establish a well-resourced centre for our children and their families in the Badulla region.

Repairing and refurbishing the Badulla building is estimated to cost Sri Lanka rupees 1.5 million or around US$ 10,000 or A$ 13,000. We are reaching out to our sponsors, supporters, families, friends and colleagues for their assistance to raise required funds. The Methodist Church have agreed to give the donor who offers to repair and refurbish this building the right to name the building.  Please help us to raise these fundsby visiting our webpage: and using the “Donate” tab making your donation using an option of your choice. Thank you!!!

The Uva Provincial Ministry of Health continue to support our mission and urge us to open more centres across the province so that we can offer specialist services to children with disabilities and their families. We are delighted that we are given excellent support for our mission by Mr. Anil Wijesiri – Secretary to the Provincial Ministry of Health – Uva, Dr Amitha Sumanasekara – Assistant Secretary (Medical Services) Uva Provincial Council, Paediatric Consultants who care for our children, in particular, the consultants in Diyatalawa, Welimada and Badulla. Thank you, Neel, Chaminda and Tiraj.

Left photo: (left to right) Yasmin, Felix, Dr. Chaminda Liyanage – Paediatric Consultant – Base Hospital Welimada, Mrs. Nuela Mendis, Dr. Tiraj Mendis -Paediatric Consultant General Hospital Badulla, Colonel Kumarasinghe – Secretary VACD Sri Lanka & Mrs. Hemali Kumarasinghe. Right photo: VACD children having fun at the Bandarawela centre during their tea break.

Left photo: (Yasmin, Sunil, Felix) Mr. Sunil Perera – Manager and Band Leader – Gypsies (Musician and philanthropist) has very kindly made arrangements to make monthly donations to VACD, for which we are very grateful as having a regular stream of donations will ease the burden of our recurring monthly expenses. Sincere thanks for your continued generosity, Sunil!  Web:

Right photo: (Felix, Neil, Yasmin) Mr. Neil Fernando, Chairman Penthouse Group of companies (Neilmarine) and his wife Mrs. Manel Fernando (not in photo) honoured an earlier pledge to help VACD, by making very generous donations. A heartfelt “Thank you” to you both. Web:

Left photo: (left to right) Mr. Tharanga Gamage, Mr. Asanth Sebastian & Mr. Sharad Sri from Arpico Ataraxia Capital have long supported us, and we are grateful for them placing money boxes for VACD at Subway and Oporto fast food outlets in Colombo and offering to train our children in hospitality and tourism. Thank you Arpico Ataraxia.


Right photo: (left to right) Felix, Mr. Martin Gnanamuthu  (very dear and long-time family friend) , Yasmin and Mrs. Deanna Sanderson (Lawyer – daughter of Martin) who live in Bandarawela have pledged to support our VACD mission. Thank you, Martin, and Deanna.

Mrs Rohini Nanayakkara (former General Manager, Bank of Ceylon) has pledged her support for our humanitarian mission in Sri Lanka. Thank you, Mrs. Nanayakkara.

Mr. K. Kumaravel (Proprietor, Janalanka Distributors & Textiles) – has pledged to donate building material towards the refurbishment of the Badulla centre. Thank you, Mr. Kumaravel.

Mr. Gamini Kannangara – Managing Director – Trico International whose family hail from the Welimada region has pledged to support the VACD Welimada centre when its in operation. We deeply appreciate your generosity, commitment and support for our children in the Welimada region, dear Gamini.


Please stay tuned for more VACD news as we have now set things in motion with new projects and programs under the stewardship of our new leadership team that will take our mission to a new level and offer a brighter future full of hope and optimism for our children. 

Our sincere thanks to all of you for your continued invaluable support, guidance and assistance and for being part of this incredible, challenging and immensely rewarding journey. You will be delighted to know that 97% of all your donations go directly to benefit our children and their families because we have over the past years reduced non-essential and unproductive expenses from around 13% to 3%, as at end of March 2018.

Please 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 and our humanitarian mission a success.

Meanwhile, take care and blessings to each and every one of you!

Best wishes and warm regards…. Yasmin

Yasmin Stephen

Administration & Communications Secretary

Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities Limited, Australia

& Member of the Advisory Boards of  VACD USA & Sri Lanka