VACD Australia & Sri Lanka April 2024 Newsletter
April 15, 2024

Dear friends, colleagues, supporters, and collaborative partners,

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

VACD Australia has a new Director: 

We are delighted to welcome Mr. Roderick (Rod) De Sylva as a director at VACD Australia, effective 22nd March. Rod and his wife Suzanne (see below) are talented, capable, and generous individuals who have sponsored and supported our mission since inception. They paid our Bandarawela centre a visit while holidaying in Sri Lanka in February this year.

“Working bee” by parents at our Bandarawela Centre:

Parents at our VACD Bandarawela centre spent a day in March weeding and cleaning the area surrounding the centre building to make it safe and secure for our children, staff, and visitors. Continuous unseasonal rain over previous months had caused the surrounding area around our Bandarawela centre to be overgrown with weeds and bushes. We are thrilled that our VACD parents took it upon themselves to devote their time and labour to ensure the premises were pleasant and safe for their children. 

Dedication, belonging, ownership and passion towards our mission is what we have been striving to inculcate, inspire and advance in VACD parents over these past years. Our VACD parents across all our centres in Sri Lanka are being encouraged to be future leaders of our mission and are continuously motivated, coached, and trained by our leadership team in Sri Lanka to be active participants in all VACD events and programs and to serve on our various parent committees.

Free distribution of dry food to our VACD families:

The VACD Australia & Sri Lanka Boards decided to distribute packets of rice, lentils, and sugar to our VACD families to help them cope with prevailing high costs of food items and ongoing challenging household financial difficulties.   

The distribution of dry rations was consciously timed by us to coincide with the Islamic Ramadhan fasting season and the Sinhala/Tamil New year in mid-April 2024 in Sri Lanka.

The quarterly VACD/ MJFCF Health Clinic in Bandarawela:

The quarterly VACD/ MJFCF, Merrill J Fernando Charitable Foundation  ( two-day health clinic was held at the Bandarawela Town Hall on Wednesday, 27th and Thursday, 28th  March for our VACD children across the Uva Province.

This event was once again a remarkable success with the attending MJFCF specialists commenting that our VACD children have shown noticeable and encouraging progress since the last quarterly clinic primarily because their parents and carers had followed the guidance and rehabilitation advice given to them by the MJFCF specialists. 

Both VACD & MJFCF are committed to conducting these quarterly clinics as long as feasible given the exceptional results and benefits they provide to these disabled children and their families in the Uva region. 

Training by the Industrial Development Board (IDB) – Badulla 

Mr. Hasintha Nayanajith – Enterprise Promotion Officer at the Industrial Development Board (IDB) in Badulla conducted a “Self- Employment Introduction Program” for our VACD parents from Bandarawela, Ambagasdowa and Badulla at the Dora Jeanne VACD Centre in Badulla. The VACD Dora Jeanne centre is sponsored by Mr. Greg, Mrs. Jenny, and rest of the Fendler family. Greg is a Director and the Deputy Chairman at VACD Australia. The IDB in Uva Province operates under the National Ministry of Industries in Sri Lanka.

This program was made possible thanks to the efforts of Deshamanya Kumarawansa, Deputy Chairman of VACD Sri Lanka. The strengths and skills of the attendees were identified to determine which of the 28 possible home industries (such as mushroom growing, candle and soap making, etc.) would suit them best and be financially viable so that targeted training can be provided in the follow up sessions.

Dr. Mithran Coomarasamy visits our VACD Bandarawela Centre:

Dr. Mithran Coomarasamy – MBBS, Diploma in Paediatric Services  (NSW), FRACP. FAFRM a long-time family friend and supporter of VACD who lives in Sydney Australia paid a special visit to our VACD Bandarawela centre on April 10th & 11th , while holidaying in Sri Lanka.

 He is a highly qualified and experienced paediatrician with over 25 years of expertise covering a wide range of paediatric care, from newborns to developmental and behavioural issues, paediatric rehabilitation medicine and a passion for child development and related health matters.

Mithran devoted his time to our VACD children, their parents and specialist staff from our Ambagasdowa, Badulla and Bandarawela centres during his two days stay in Bandarawela. 

Sinhala and Tamil New Year 2024 celebrations:

The annual Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations were organised by our VACD parents and staff and held at all our VACD centres in typical traditional fashion as seen below:

Regular updates on our VACD Facebook Page:

Ms Aloyna (Pinky) Taylor, VACD’s Head of Digital Communication, posts regular news and updates on a range of VACD activities on our Facebook page. I would encourage you to please follow us on for timely news about our mission. Please also support us by following, liking, commenting, and sharing VACD posts with your family, friends, loved ones, colleagues etc. so that your help will enable us, via the algorithms built into this electronic social networking & communication platform, to extend our outreach to many more who, like you, share in our vision and mission for disabled children in Sri Lanka. Thank you. 

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:

Children with disabilities and their families in the region

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 their families who need our love, support, compassion, and care are sizeable and increasing steadily. We look forward to your continued generosity, active support for our undertaking and you being partners with us in this most fulfilling and worthwhile 12+ year 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 so that 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 –