May/June 2019 VACD Newsletter
June 30, 2019

We are delighted!!!

Yasmin and I are delighted to be back after a hectic self-funded VACD tour of the USA, Toronto, London and Singapore from 1st May through to 1st June. A summary of our tour report will be shared with you shortly.

Tax Exemption in USA!!!: The Internal Revenue Service at the Department of Treasury Cincinnati, have granted VACD USA Tax Exemption status under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code effective 28th May 2019. This is great news for those who have made donations towards our mission since VACD USA was registered on 16th May 2017 and for those who make financial donations towards our mission in the future.


On Friday, 10th May, the VACD USA board met in Washington DC, restructured & expanded the team so that they can play a crucial role in helping our children with disabilities in Sri Lanka. VACD USA Webpage:

The new VACD USA Board are: President & Director – Mr. Frank Fendler (Pennsylvania), Secretary & Director- Mrs. Ellie Fendler (Pennsylvania), Treasurer & Director – Mr. Rasika Padmaperuma (North Carolina). Other directors: Mr. James Gruver (Chicago), Mrs. Marrianne Gruver (Chicago), Mrs. Nelum Walpola (Dallas), Mrs. Shanti Willy (Houston) & Mr. Mikhail Sookoor (Dallas).

The VACD USA Advisory board members are Mr. Daniel Farley (Boston), Prof. Benjamin Friedman (Boston), Mr. Dula Amarasinghe (New York), Mr. Desmond MacIntyre (Boston), Mr. Giles Gunesekera – Secretary VACD Australia & Director, Mrs. Yasmin Stephen – Administration & Communications Secretary VACD Australia & Mr. Felix Stephen – Chairman VACD Australia.

Left to right: Rasika Padmaperuma, Ellie Fendler, Frank Fendler, Felix Stephen, Yasmin Stephen & James Gruver at Ronald Reagan National Airport Washington DC on 10th May.

VACD Australia’s Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Status:

The Australian Taxation office (ATO) endorsed VACD Australia’s DGR status effective 1st December 2015.

Financial Year-end tax-deductible donations in Australia:

“Please support our humanitarian and philanthropic mission to uplift the lives of more than 350 VACD registered children with disabilities in Sri Lanka for whom we are the only hope, by making your generous tax deductible donations via our webpage: as we draw closer to the end of our 2018/19 financial year and have many projects and plans to be implemented in the near future. – Thank you”.

Note: Over the past years, 97% of your donations were deployed directly to support and assist our children. Our admin costs have remained around 3% due to our unique operating model and most of our VACD team being volunteers.


VACD’s working model incorporates the participation of the local community, government departments & agencies, medical experts and most importantly families of registered children with disabilities, who together with VACD volunteers work to uplift the lives of children and their families. Our aim is to open more VACD centres close to where there is a significant concentration of disabled children. Towards this end, VACD parents are formed into 4 committees, namely Health & Nutrition, Education & Training, Sport & Culture and Finance & Budgeting to assist the leadership team in carrying out our projects and programs, as given below:

Health & Nutrition:

  • Host Homebased Health, Therapy and Rehabilitation Clinics where a team of medical and health specialists assess and examine children, donate wheelchairs to those deemed eligible, and train parents and carers to provide therapy and general care to their children in their respective homes;
  • Give financial assistance for travel, meals, accommodation and medication etc. to impoverished parents in remote areas to enable them to seek specialist medical services for their children in specialist hospitals;
  • Provide nutritious meals to children attending our centres;
  • Sponsor and equip paediatric clinics in local hospitals where consultant paediatricians examine and treat VACD registered children on a regular basis;
  • Donate spectacles, hearing aids, walkers, wheelchairs and other medical needs to VACD registered children.

Education & Training:

  • Grant monthly education allowances to children with disabilities with academic potential or a promising sibling under the Educational Assistance Program;
  • Ensure that special education teachers impart numeracy, literacy, painting, art, cooking and life skills to children who attend our centres;
  • Arrange for computer literacy skills to be taught by volunteers to children who attend our centres;
  • Arrange for music and dance classes to be conducted in our centres;
  • Host workshops to train parents in leadership skills;
  • Provide vocational and craft instruction for parents;
  • Provide vocational training for VACD children or their siblings.

Sport & Culture

  • Provide playground equipment and exercise equipment for our children;
  • Arrange opportunities for VACD children to engage in sporting activities in neighbouring school sportsgrounds;
  • Provide special training for gifted and talented children in sports and athletics;
  • Encourage the observance of various festivals and cultural activities

Finance & Budgeting:

  • Arrange microfinance in collaboration with the Regional Development Bank for parents with viable business plans;
  • Provide budgeting advice and assistance to parents to ensure their business ventures prosper and microfinance repayments are met;
  • Optimise incomes of parents by coordinating with government agencies who provide advice, support and training for parents in beekeeping, small tea holdings etc.;
  • Grant monthly allowances to needy single parents and impoverished families to supplement their household incomes.

Please reach out to us at: and support our initiatives and please do 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!!!

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

Many thanks, best wishes and warm regards…. Felix

Felix Stephen

Chairman of the Board of Directors – VACD Ltd. Sydney – Australia –

Member of the Advisory Board – VACD USA –

Member of the Advisory Board – VACD Sri Lanka

Senior Associate – Cognoscenti Group – Sydney – Australia-

Consultant – Investment Committee – Lonsec – Sydney – Australia –

Member of Investment Committee – Arrive Wealth Management – Brisbane – Australia –

Consultant – Global Financial Market Investment Research & Investment Strategy

E-mail: /