VACD Australia February 2022 Newsletter
February 28, 2022

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and collaborative partners,

Greetings, best wishes and the very best to you and your loved ones.

VACD Newsflash – Take One!!!

We are delighted that an initiative by the late Dr. Tiraj Mendis to establish a VACD centre in Welimada when he was Consultant Paediatrician at the base hospital in Welimada almost five years ago, after many attempts and challenges has finally come to fruition. We owe this success to the resolve and steadfastness of our VACD Sri Lanka Secretary – Retd. Col. Kumarasinghe, Chairman – Mr. Sunil Fernando and the local leadership team. This new centre is  sponsored by Teardrop Hotels  and should be fully functional during the month of March. We will keep you abreast of progress at this new VACD Welimada centre in our regular newsletters.

Above photo: Left to right: Retd. Col. Kumarasinghe – Secretary VACD Sri Lanka, Mrs. Hemali Kumarasinghe, Mrs. Nuela Mendis, the late Dr. Tiraj Mendis, Yasmin Stephen, Felix Stephen, and Dr. Chaminda Liyanage – Consultant Paediatrician.

VACD Children’s Nutrition Program

In 2016 a government health inspector visited our Sir Robert Clark Centre for Children with Disabilities in Bandarawela while the children were having their home-packed lunches.  She  shared her observations with our staff  that the food the children brought was nutritionally poor. In fact, our staff had also observed that some children would only bring two slices of plain bread for their lunch. Consultant paediatricians who regularly examine our children too recommended that our children should be given nutritious food to support their growing bodies and minds. 

In response to expert recommendations, we began our “VACD Nutrition Program” where the centre caretaker and rostered parents (in keeping with our policy of volunteerism and parental involvement) prepare and serve simple but nutritious meals (such as gram, manioc, sweet potato with accompaniments or basic rice and curry meal) daily to children attending our centres. The preparation of meals at times is taken as an opportunity to teach our children about good nutrition and how to prepare a basic meal, as a part of their life skills training.  In addition, children also learn about sharing and social niceties while partaking of their meals.

The program that was first introduced at our Bandarawela Centre (above) was also implemented when we established our VACD Dora Jeanne Centre in Badulla (below).  

The actual average monthly cost of implementing this program at our two existing centres has been around Rs. 30,000+. Ongoing costs are kept low as it only involves the purchase of main ingredients. Meal preparation is completed by our staff, parents, and children, thus eliminating labour costs and profit margins typically associated with commercially available meals

We project future daily attendance at our centres to be approximately 30 to 40 children per centre once COVID19 concerns subside and, together with the opening of the Welimada centre, the total number benefiting from this program to be approximately 100+ children. 

The anticipated increase in daily attendance at our three VACD Centres and the projected trends in local food inflation enables us to estimate the aggregate cost of this project to be  approximately Rs.75,000 (A$ 500) per month. 

We appeal to altruistic and benevolent sponsors to support our monthly financial commitments relating to this project by donating  A$ 25 or equivalent per month which is tax deductible for Australian based taxpayers.

Sponsors and Collaborative Partner News:

Teardrop Hotels Lunuganga Country Estate: 

Read the exclusive review by Harriet Compston – freelance writer and editor who visited the  legendary architect Geoffrey Bawa’s iconic  Lunuganga country estate on behalf of the Daily Telegraph UK on the following hyperlink:   and for special and exclusive Teardrop Hotel offers

Our Fundraising Campaign:

The earlier estimated cost of our initiatives for 2022 was approximately  A$ 50,000 or US$ 36,000. However, latest estimates place costs around A$ 60,000 or US$ 43,000 (last month’s typo is now corrected)  Our fund-raising campaign is ‘live’ and will remain so until we reach our funding target. The original campaign slide deck can be viewed on the following hyperlink:

Please support our mission by donating via:

Flag of Australia - Wikipedia

Donations in Australian Dollars (tax deductible for Australian taxpayers) can be made via: by credit card, PayPal & direct deposits while cash, cheque or direct transfers can be made to:

The VACD Australia Bank account: 

Account Name: 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

Branch No: 062-016


File:Flag of Sri Lanka.svg - Wikimedia Commons

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

SWIFT Code: SEYBLKLX Bank Code: 7287 Branch Code: 46

  Good Company: (Workplace giving)

where Australia based donors can make pre-tax regular or ad hoc donations that will be matched by participating employers.

Good2Give (Workplace giving) where Australia based donors can make pre-tax regular or ad hoc donations that will be matched by participating employers.


VACD is now on the Benevity Causes Global donation platform: and our registration number is: 8065017016

This portal has facilities for workplace and matching workplace giving. You can search for VACD by entering our name (Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities) or our registered charity number 8065017016 in the search bar of the Benevity workplace giving program portal. 

A big “Thank You” to all of you…

Your generosity and the commitment of our VACD volunteers 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 from each and every one of you to sustain our mission and accomplish a lot for our children and their families over these past years.

Our journey is bound to be long and challenging given the sheer number of children and families who need our love, support, compassion, and care. We look forwards to your continued compassion and active support for our mission and being partners in this most  fulfilling journey that we traverse together.

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

Please reach out to us at: or visit us at: 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!!!

Many thanks, best wishes, and warmest regards…. Felix

Felix Stephen

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

Member of the Advisory Board – VACD Sri Lanka

Member of the Advisory Board – Two leaves Foundation Sri Lanka

Senior Associate – Cognoscenti Group – Sydney – Australia- Member of Investment Committee – Arrive Wealth Management – Brisbane – Australia –