VACD Australia June 2023 Newsletter
June 11, 2023

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and collaborative partners,

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

Uplifting News!!! 

Parents, VACD staff and the local community joined hands at a working bee on Monday, 5th May to prepare our new VACD centre premises in Ambagasdowa for its official opening. Local community support, local legislative endorsement and local government cooperation are of critical importance for missions such as ours to successfully implement our humanitarian projects and programs in these localities.

Great News!!! 

VACD Ambagasdowa Centre:

The “Teardrop CARE Centre for Children with Disabilities” in Ambagasdowa sponsored by Teardrop Hotels  was officially established at Lunuwaththa Road, New Town, Ambagasdowa on 1st June 2023. Due to an overwhelming and unanticipated demand for our services for children with disabilities in this region, a special evaluation and registration of children will be held on Monday, 12th June at the new premises followed by the official opening of the centre on Tuesday, 20th June 2023.

This centre sponsored by Teardrop Hotels is dedicated to the memory of late Dr. Tiraj Mendis (Consultant Pediatrician) who encouraged and inspired us to open a VACD centre in this vicinity. Dr. Tiraj, while he was the Pediatrician at the Base hospital Welimada, was deeply distressed by the suffering and plight of children with disabilities from impoverished families and the lack of adequate rehabilitation facilities for them. Welimada and Uva Paranagama areas have the largest concentration of children with disabilities in the Uva Province.

A Big “Thank You”: We extend our sincere thanks to Mr. Premasiri Rathnayake (former colleague at Bank of Ceylon, International Division, and longtime family friend) for donating funds on behalf of the extended Rathnayake family who hail from Welimada, for the purchase of a fridge for the VACD Ambagasdowa centre. His younger brother Mr. Sisira Rathnayake (Retired High Court Judge and Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission) is the Patron of VACD Sri Lanka, 

Resumption of Stalled Program:

The late Dr. Tiraj initiated a program for pediatricians to periodically visit our VACD centres to examine our children, record their health condition, recommend rehabilitation, and prescribe medications. Unfortunately, his untimely passing, the pandemic, and social and political unrest were major setbacks to this initiative that was authorized by the Ministry of Health Uva.   

Thanks to recommendations and guidance provided by Dr Mithran Coomarasamy  and Dr. Adrian Morel (Senior Paediatrician- Base Hospital Marawila, Sri Lanka), we are progressing to revive this program with our children being given priority at government pediatric hospital clinics in the Uva Province with regular visits to our centers by general medical practitioners to oversee the care of our children. More updates on this program to follow.

Fabulous News!!!

Dr. Gopi Kumar Kitnasamy (Founder/Chairman Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation – CPLF) has very kindly offered to coordinate “Health & Awareness Clinics & Workshops” in Bandarawela for all our VACD children and their parents/carers in the Uva region, followed by special sessions at each of our three centres. In addition, our teaching staff will receive extensive hands-on training under the guidance of Dr. Gopi’s staff at CPLF centres in Colombo. Further news to follow.

Delightful News!!! 

The executive committee at Western Australia Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Association Inc. (WASLA) has acknowledged VACD as a charity worthy of their support. This is most welcome and perfectly timed news since we recently raised our mission’s assistance programs to respond to the continued need of children with disabilities and their families in Sri Lanka.

Great News!!!

Free Prescription Medication for our VACD Children:

Our sincere thanks to our friend, Mr. Somasundaram Skandakumar (former Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji & Solomon Islands) for initiating discussions with   Mr. Ranjith Page (Deputy Chairman/Managing Director of CT Holdings PLC, & Chairman Cargills Bank and Ms. Dilmini Madawala (Deputy General Manager Cargills Foods Company Pharmaceutical) on our behalf that resulted in Cargills (Ceylon) Ltd agreeing to a joint program with VACD to facilitate the dispensing of prescription medication to our VACD children.

Government hospitals do not have the supply of medications our children need, and private sourcing of these medications is financially impossible for families. The lack of prescription medicine has had a significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of some of our VACD children and placed immense strain on their families. This joint program will dispense free prescription medication to our children through the Cargills Pharmaceutical network. Specifics of this program are presently being formulated. Details to follow.  

A back-of-the-envelope calculation estimates this initiative to cost around A$2000 to A$3000 per month.  Your generosity, support, and sponsorship to make this program viable and successful in the medium to long term is deeply appreciated.

VACD/MJFCF Collaborative Agreement- Update: 

Details relating to the collaborative agreement between VACD Australia and MJF Charitable Foundation have been finalised and will formally be endorsed by representatives of each mission in late August in Colombo Sri Lanka at a special function to mark this momentous occasion.

The leadership teams of both our missions are committed to achieving our mutual and collective goals to enrich the lives of children with disabilities and their families in some of the poorest regions in Sri Lanka.

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, Clayton, Victoria. 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 to find details of our team, projects, programs, and newsletters. 

Multiple donation options to support our mission:

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

Donations to VACD by Australian Taxpayers are tax deductible.

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 support 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 11+ years journey that we traverse together.

Please visit us at:  and reach out to us at: should you choose to support our mission. Please share this newsletter with your network! 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 –