October 2018 VACD Newsletter
October 31, 2018

A warm welcome to my LinkedIn network members to our regular VACD newsletters:

New LinkedIn network members and others can learn more about our mission for children with disabilities in Sri Lanka by visiting:  http://www.vacd.org.au/ and partner us on this remarkable journey of empathy and benevolence. 

Broaden your scope:

I strongly urge all my LinkedIn network members to extend your own network, enhance your expertise and profile and create opportunities for yourselves and others by posting high quality, enlightening and insightful articles, engaging, sharing, discussing views and broadening your perceptions of this challenging, complex and ever-changing global landscape. 

Developing business relationships between Sri Lanka and Australia:

I have had many requests for assistance to establish business relationships in Australia from members of my LinkedIn network based in Sri Lanka and have discussed this subject with H.E. The Sri Lanka High Commissioner for Australia in Canberra who has suggested that those of you who wish to pursue such opportunities should make direct contact with:

Consul Commercial at the Sri Lanka consulate in Sydney via his email address:

slcgsyd-trade@bigpond.com and Consul General at the Sri Lanka Consulate in Sydney via his email addresses in Sydney: slcgsyd@bigpond.com and/or slcg.sydney@mfa.gov.lk

I would also suggest that you establish contact with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) at the Australian High Commission at No: 21, Srimath R. G. Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 7, phone: 011 246 3200 or their email address:  reception.colombo@dfat.gov.au for further guidance and assistance. 

Celebrating World Children’s Day: 

On Sunday, 30th September, the VACD leadership in Sri Lanka led by our specialist teacher Ms. Manjula and her friends organised a surprise party for our children at the VACD centre in Bandarawela to commemorate World Children’s Day using gifts, balloons and decorations donated to VACD by our recent overseas visitors Ms. Yolanda from Spain, Ms. Susana from Belgium and a group of their overseas friends. 

How can you be part of our mission and help our children and their families?

There are three specific areas that need your sponsorship and support:

  1. A significant number of VACD families (single parent and single income) find it extremely difficult and challenging to cope with their daily basic household expenses, medication and special requirements for their disabled children. Please consider making a monthly donation of A$20 or its equivalent to sponsor a family, all of which will go directly to that family’s bank account via the VACD bank account under our Family Assistance Program (FAP); 
  2. We identify and give children with disabilities (or their siblings who show academic potential) the opportunity to achieve their future aspirations and goals by funding their studies to the amount of A$ 20 or its equivalent a month under our Educational Assistance Program (EAP), thus ensuring that their education is not disrupted due to financial struggles. These funds go directly to the bank account of the child via the VACD bank account;
  3. We provide children who attend our centre in Bandarawela with nutritious high protein/high fibre meals such as green gram, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and cassava etc. following the advice given to us by a visiting public health inspector who found many of our children severely undernourished. You can either provide dry rations as per above or funds to support this Nutrition Program Initiative (NPI) that was launched by us a few years ago.

Please visit our webpage http://www.vacd.org.au/ for more information about the above programs or reach out to us at: fstephen@bigpond.net.au should you decide to support/sponsor all or any of these initiatives.

Celebrating Maha Shivaratri Festival at VACD Sri Lanka:

VACD Staff, children and their families celebrated Maha Shivaratri on Saturday, 20th October at the VACD centre in Bandarawela. 

Maha Shivaratri is a solemn Hindu festival that commemorates the overcoming of darkness and ignorance in life and the world, is notable for its introspective focus, self-study, social harmony and is observed by chanting of prayers, fasting, doing Yoga and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, non-injury to others and forgiveness. 

Our Collaborative Partner News: Foundation of Goodness (FoG):

The Foundation of Goodness’ 10th Village Heartbeat Empowerment (VHE) Centre opened its doors on Sunday 1st July 2018 in Bindunuwewa – Bandarawela District. This marks the Foundations’ first VHE Centre in the central region of the island with the other 9 centres located in Udumulla & Rathgama (Galle District), Hingurukaduwa (Moneragala District), Eravur (Batticaloa District), Gandara (Matara District), Thirukkovil (Ampara District), Mathagal (Jaffna District), Oddusuddan (Mullaitivu District) and Murukandy (Kilinochchi District).

The VHE initiative, is an exceptional solution to alleviate poverty, elevate living standards, harness rural talent and skills of the disadvantaged and help children, young adults, youth and particularly females become independent and valuable members within their immediate communities and eventually, the broader society.

We have appointed Mr. Sujeeva Abeynayaka – Assistant Secretary VACD Sri Lanka and Vice Principal St Joseph’s College, Bandarawela to be the coordinator/liaison officer between VACD and FoG Bindunuwewa. 

You can find more information on FoG and their programs on: http://unconditionalcompassion.org/

Inauguration of “The Young VACD Members Club”:

On Saturday, 10th November the “Young VACD Members Club” will be officially inaugurated in Bandarawela, Sri Lanka. This group of enthusiastic youngsters are made up of siblings of children with disabilities registered with VACD and their families and friends. We view this as a great opportunity for us to identify and groom future leaders for our mission in Sri Lanka.

VACD Sri Lanka are searching for suitable premises in Welimada:

Our leadership team in Sri Lanka are looking for suitable premises to be rented/ leased on a long-term basis in Welimada. The premises should be easily accessible to children with disabilities, have enough space for a classroom, office etc. and garden space for children to play and exercise.

Please contact – Secretary VACD Sri Lanka- Colonel R M Kumarasinghe – E-mail: vacdsrilanka@gmail.com or phone: +94 (0) 77 728 3535 (Mobile), +94 (0) 57 222 3010 (Office) should you be able to assist or guide him. Thank you.

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.

Our sincere thanks to all of you for your continued invaluable support, guidance, counselling and assistance and for being part of this incredible, challenging and immensely rewarding journey. 

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: felixswstephen@gmail.com / fstephen@bigpond.net.au