VACD Australia April/May 2023 Newsletter
June 05, 2023

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and collaborative partners,

Greetings to you, your families, loved ones, and colleagues from all of us at VACD.

Sorrowful News;

It is with deep sorrow and heavy hearts that we inform you that Chamika Uthpala aged 12, from our VACD Bandarawela centre passed away earlier this month due to complications resulting from his disabilities. While it is acknowledged that children in developing countries suffering from specific types of congenital disabilities have shorter life spans relative to children living in developed countries, we at VACD have made it our mission to support and assist all our VACD children to live productive and fulfilling lives as best they can by extending family and other forms of support to them. We send Chamika’s family our heartfelt condolences. 

VACD’s Action Plan:

Thanks to the late Dr. Tiraj Mendis (Consultant Pediatrician) and Dr. Amitha Sumanasekara (Assistant Secretary Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Uva Provincial Council), the Ministry of Health Uva authorized Consultant Pediatricians in the Uva province to pay monthly visits to our centres, examine our children and prescribe medication and rehabilitation programs. This was a notable undertaking in particular for children and their parents who were unable, for many reasons, to visit their local hospitals for regular checkups and rehabilitation.

Sadly, the COVID pandemic and recent unsettled social and political conditions in Sri Lanka led to this initiative being abandoned. We are presently in consultation with all stakeholders to revive this program and also examine ways and means of providing medication to children from impoverished families who cannot afford to purchase essential prescribed medications. We estimate that providing prescribed medication to these children would cost us around  A$2000-A$3000 a month. Your sponsorship and any financial support that you can extend to us to make this project viable and successful in the medium to long term is deeply appreciated. 

We are also in communication with specialists and experts who have offered their pro bono services to provide counselling and guidance to parents and carers of children with disabilities and to conduct workshops and seminars for them. More news to follow.     

Uplifting News!!! 

2nd Food Aid Relief for our VACD Families:

The second round of food aid relief for all our VACD families during this financial year was completed in April & May. The food relief program was also extended to a large number of families whose children with disabilities are registered with VACD but do not attend our centres regularly because they live in remote areas of the Uva province or are unable to do so due to poor health, severe physical impairments, or financial constraints. 

Great News!!! – Take One!!!

Collaborative Partnership:

The trustees of MJF Charitable Foundation  and the VACD Australia Board have agreed to establish a formal collaborative partnership arrangement. The MJF Foundation is the charitable arm of the world famous Dilmah tea enterprise founded by Mr. Merrill J Fernando.

We believe that together we can achieve our aims and objectives to enrich the lives of children with disabilities in some of the poorest provinces of Sri Lanka by teaching them skills and surrounding them with facilities and infrastructure that will help them lead productive, independent, and fulfilling lives and accomplish their future ambitions, goals, and dreams.

We will mutually strive to eliminate poverty, ignorance, discrimination, social isolation, vilification, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and incest etc. and encourage communities to care, love, respect, assist and advocate the rights of children with disabilities and to promulgate these values within their own local neighborhoods.

We place on record our heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to Mr. Maithri Panagoda – AM (Partner) and Ms. Dianne Retief (Senior Associate) at Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers for the pro bono work done by them to prepare the collaborative partnership agreement. Thank you, dear Maithri & Dianne.

Great News!!! – Take Two!!!

Our new VACD Ambagasdowa Centre:

After many years and series of attempts, our new VACD centre “Teardrop CARE Centre for Children with Disabilities” in Ambagasdowa sponsored by Teardrop Hotels  will be operational from Thursday, 1st June 2023.This centre located at Lunuwaththa Road, New Town, Ambagasdowa will serve as a provisional VACD centre leading up to a relocation to an already chosen permanent site in the same township later this year or in early 2024. 

Ambagasdowa is located between Welimada and Uva Paranagama in the Badulla District of the Uva Province. As per available census data, the Divisional Secretariats of Welimada and Uva Paranagama have the highest concentration of children with congenital disabilities in the Badulla administrative district of the Uva Province. The base hospital in Welimada and the  district hospital in Uva Paranagama will provide our VACD children with regular care, checkups, treatment, and rehabilitation services.  

We are presently in the process of sourcing essential office equipment, computers, cookers, fridge etc. for this centre and would deeply appreciate any donations in kind or funds to purchase these and many other requirements for the new center. Please reach out to me at:,au if you are in a position to lend us a  much needed helping hand. – Thank you

Great News!!! – Take Three!!!

Save the date: Sunday, 8th October 2023

The inauguration of the VACD Melbourne chapter will take place over a luncheon session on Sunday, 8th October 2023 at the main Clayton Community Centre Hall located at 264 Clayton Road, Clayton Victoria 3168. Please save this date in your diaries. More news on this inauguration program will follow via our regular newsletters and local media.

VACD’s Team, Projects, Programs & Newsletters:

Please visit our VACD Webpages Our Team | Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities ( to find details of our team, projects and programs on: Ongoing Projects | Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities ( and newsletters on: 

Multiple donation options to support our mission – Thank you:

The following hyperlink will enable you to find all donation options that are available to you on our webpage:

Multicurrency Benevity Causes Portal for International Donations:

International donors who wish to support our mission can do so through the Benevity Causes portal via the hyperlink below for all your multi-currency donation options:

A big “Thank You” to all of you…

Our journey is bound to be long and challenging. The official and unofficial number of children and families who need our love, support, compassion, and care are sizeable. We look forward to your continued generosity, active support for our undertaking and you being partners with us in this most fulfilling and worthwhile 10+ years journey that we traverse together.

Please visit us at:  and reach out to us at: should you choose to support our mission. Please also do share this newsletter with your family, friends, loved ones and work colleagues. Together, we certainly 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 –