VACD January 2021 Newsletter
January 31, 2021

“When we give alms with our hearts, we give well”

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and collaborative partners,

We wish you a Prosperous and Joyous New Year 2021 and plenty of Success, Good health, Well-being and Fruitful years ahead

Additional Specialist Teaching Staff for our VACD Centres

We recognised the pressing need for us to boost the number of our teaching staff at our centres during the tour of Sri Lanka by Yasmin and myself in February 2020. Consequently, our VACD Sri Lanka leadership team launched a program to recruit and train specialist teachers to be assigned across all our VACD rehabilitation and training centres.

As seen below, successful recruits participated in a specially prepared two-week introductory and familiarisation course at our Sir Robert Clark centre in Bandarawela, conducted by our VACD Secretary Retd. Col. Kumarasinghe and specialist teachers Mrs. Manjula Wijesinghe and Mrs. Dilka Wasanthi.

These assistant trainee teachers will receive hands-on training at our centres and specialist training at the Ayati Foundation ( in Ragama and the National Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy and other Developmental Disorders ( in Rajagiriya. We have encouraged our assistant trainee teachers to obtain their diplomas in Specialist Education Teaching from recognized local institutions to attain fully fledged specialist teacher status.

VACD Dora Jeanne centre in Badulla re-located on Thursday, 14th January 2021

VACD’s Dora Jeanne centre was re-located to the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Uva Province Building located at 85/2 Daya Gunasekara Mawatha Badulla, adjacent to the Provincial General Hospital Badulla as part of our capacity expansion drive due to the previous premises running out of capacity.

The opening ceremony was organised by Deshamanya Kumarawansa – VACD Director and Director in Charge of the Badulla region and Mrs. Manjula Wijesinghe – Specialist Teacher at VACD and attended by dignitaries, parents, children, family members and directors of VACD.

Above left to right: Traditional boiling of milk in an open fireplace, Ms. Thimani Wijesinghe – Secretary Young VACD Members club welcoming attendees. Deshamanya Kumarawansa – Director VACD and a VACD child lighting the traditional oil lamp.

Above left to right: Retd. Col. Kumarasinghe – Secretary VACD Sri Lanka and Mrs. Suvini Karunathilaka – Member of the Ella Municipality (Pradeshiya Sabah) lighting the traditional oil lamp, Deshamanya Kumarawansa addressing the gathering, Mrs. B Jayawardana – Retd. Asst, Director of Education addressing the gathering & Mrs. Manjula Wijesinghe – Specialist teacher VACD addressing the gathering.

Above left to right: VACD Badulla dancers welcoming guests and performing their respective traditional dance routines.

Above left to right: Ms. Thimani Wijesinghe & Ms. Nipuni Karunathilaka – Dance instructors at VACD Badulla, two new assistant trainee teacher recruits and a VACD Badulla parent addressing the gathering.

Above left to right: Parents, staff, directors, and guests at the function & Officials from the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Uva signing the lease agreement with VACD.

Opening our VACD Welimada centre.

Plans are under way to open a VACD centre in March or April 2021 in the township of Welimada in order to extend our services and facilities to children with congenital impairments and their families in the Welimada/Uva Paranagama administrative division, thanks to the sponsorship of this centre by Teardrop Hotels in Sri Lanka ( Anecdotal and official data indicate an unusually high concentration of children with congenital impairments in this region who need our intervention and assistance.

VACD Training, Camps, Seminars and Workshops in 2021

We are delighted and deeply appreciative that the following VACD supporters have offered their expertise and time to facilitate training, rehabilitation & health clinics, camps, seminars, and workshops for us on a pro bono basis:

  • Dr. Ranil Sugathadasa – Keynote speaker on Mindset, Motivation, Transformation, Peak Performance & Happiness, and Leadership & Management Coach.
  • Ms. Lakmini Balasuriya – Clinical Audiologist at Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya & Ayati Centre Ragama
  • Dr. Tiraj Mendis – Consultant Paediatrician at Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka and Base Hospital Diyatalawa
  • Dr. Chaminda Liyanage – Consultant Paediatrician at Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka and Base Hospital Welimada
  • Mr. Kevin George – Head of Cloud & Automation at ANJN Group
  • Mrs. Gaya Hapuarachchi – Public, Business, Human Resources and Management Training, International Human Resources, Advanced Promotional Practice & Marketing and Technical & Electronics Engineering
  • Dr. Gopi Kumar – Founder & Chairman Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation & Head of Rehabilitation Services at MJF Charitable Foundation.
  • Mr. Asoka Walpitagama – Partner – IKAD Consultancy & Corporate Trainer – ICT and soft skills.

We aim to hold seminars, workshops, clinics and camps every two months in 2021 for our children, their families and our young VACD club members covering a variety of valuable and relevant themes. These workshops will be tailored to meet our rehabilitation, leadership, motivation, skills, and vocational training objectives.

Other key upcoming Projects & Programs for 2021:

  • Encourage, support, facilitate and train VACD families in Small Scale Agriculture, Poultry & Bee Keeping and Animal Husbandry.
  • The introduction of Early Childhood/Supported Playgroup Programs at our VACD centres by our VACD Australia Director Ms. Gabriella Ann Vascotto – Bachelor Special Education, Visiting Consultant to VACD Sri Lanka, Learning Consultant Autism/Behaviour and Supported Playgroup Project Consultant for Catholic Education in Melbourne, Australia.

Tax deductible donations can be made to VACD Australia in following ways:

  1. Via the VACD webpage: where you can make regular or ad hoc donations via your credit card, PayPal, electronic transfers, or a direct deposit.
  2. Via Good Company: (Workplace giving): where you can make regular or ad hoc donations that will be matched by your participating employer.
  3. Via the VACD Bank account: (cash, cheque, or online electronic/ direct deposits):
    Name of account: Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities Limited
    Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
    Branch: Cnr of Liverpool & Castlereagh Streets, Sydney NSW 2000
    Account No: 1130 2156
    BSB: 062-016

Donations in Sri Lanka rupees can be made via the VACD Sri Lanka bank account as follows:

Name of account: Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities Private Limited

Bank: Seylan Bank

Branch: 240 Badulla Road, Bandarawela, Sri Lanka

Account No: 046035439722001

A big “Thank You” to all of you…

Your generosity and the commitment, dynamism and dedication of our teams have enabled us to achieve our objectives for children with disabilities and their families since we began our journey on 27th December 2011. We remain deeply appreciative of the support all of you have given us to sustain our mission and accomplish a lot for our children and their families over the past years.

We welcome you to be partners with us on this benevolent journey!

Please continue to support us in our efforts to uplift the lives of children who need your love, support and assistance, and reach out to us at: or visit us at: Please also 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!!!

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: /