Handicapped children and youths for sponsorship
Objective: Identify needy families of handicapped children living in remote areas of the hill country; match them with sponsor families, societies, or individuals abroad who wish to give that child a better chance in life, design and oversee individual schemes to bring lasting change to the lives of handicapped children and their families.
Location: Haldummulla Division of Badulla District only at present
Description: Liaise between donors, needy families of the handicapped, and the Ministry of Social Services to facilitate and report on customised sponsorship schemes to improve children's health, education and general welfare.
- Hill Country Disability Group
- Ministry of Social Welfare, Haldummulla Division
- National Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities
- Irosha (13) of Haldummulla was the first child to find a sponsor (Suyin Karlsen) under this project. Her home schooling has been going smoothly since August 2007, three hours daily by a young mother living nearby, for ca. US$40 per month. In September 2008 we provided Irosha with her own SunTel phone.
- Tamilchelvam (15) and Mahindan (16) are two severely disabled brothers living with their family on Ampittikande Tea Estate who were too poor to pay their electricity bills even. With help from Suyin, after restoring their electricity, and rebuilding their leaky roof, we helped to improve the brothers' diet with milk foods and are now helping to convert their front room into a retail shop.
- Parameswari (24) of the Koslanda Tea Estate is an MS victim whom we have presented with a donated television and wheelchair in 2007. In October of that year we remodeled her family's front room and stocked it as a retail shop for only US$180. Her life has improved markedly thanks to this.
- Bandula (27) of Koslanda was born with a hip deformity such that he could never attend school. Again Suyin raised money to build a sanitary bathroom so Bandula could use it without help. Lately (since September 2008) we provided him with a loan laptop computer and have engaged a qualified computer teacher to teach him at home so Bandula may some day be able to earn a modest livelihood at home.
- Puspawathy (23) of Haputale was coming home by train on 13th December 2006, when she fell from the train, losing both arms and her right leg. Since then, she has been confined to her family home on Haputale Tea Estate, and is only now beginning to recover from the trauma. After one donor provided a wheelchair, nearby businesses in Haputale donated building materials so the family could build a bathroom for her, and we have donated a CDMA phone. But the toilet still had no door, so her father came to us to appeal for funds to construct a door, which we promptly gave.
We aim to enable Pushpa to serve her community as a preschool teacher, her profession before the accident. Apart from the effects of the awful accident, she is a strong, bright young woman who wants to make something of her life. She can find work in the school opposite her house, if only she could wheel herself from her home to the school and back, for which wheelchair accessible ramps need to be built for her home and the school where Pushpa hopes to teach again.
- Kishanth (15) of Haputale, like Puspawathy, fell under a train and lost both legs at the ankles. Today he has prosthetic feet, but walks with difficulty only. Ms. Joyce Gallagher of USA has kindly offered to sponsor the cost of daily transporting Kishanth to and from school for ca. $40/month. We met with Kishanth and his school principal on 16 October to finalize arrangements for transport payments to be made through the school's development society.
- Yogeswaran (16) is confined to a wheelchair with his family in a small house on a tea estate. He has managed to study up to the 11th grade, however he did not pass his O Level exam and his studies have stopped. But he is keen to learn computer and indeed IT would be the sensible avenue for a boy like him to follow so he can one day earn a decent livelihood. We plan to develop a small telecentre with this family and the estate. Yogeswaran's sister is also bright and capable of running a rural IT center with her brother. Having the mini-Nanasala in the family home with Internet access would virtually ensure that Yogeswaran within a few years can be well on his way to a career in IT. During our visit, we presented Yogeswaran with one of the 17 SunTel phones.
- Vaneja (14) lives a few doors from Yogeswaran. She is confined to a wheelchair and mentally challenged to some extent also. That is, she understands what people are saying, but she hardly speaks, though she is clearly sociable and bright. This was our second visit to see Vaneja (first time we came to deliver the wheelchair) and both times she was plainly thrilled to have visitors and to be receiving gifts: first a wheelchair (she had been living on the cement floor until that day) and then this time we brought two framed photos from our first visit. The family next door has helped her family to buy cement, etc. to fix up the family's front room where Vaneja spends her days.
Vaneja is a lovely child who however has little prospect of ever marrying or finding employment. Despite a crippling disability, Vaneja has a bright personality, so it is easy to see why she and her family are so well regarded by their neighbors. A sponsoring individual or family, providing a small monthly stipend of $20 or $30, could do much to give her a better diet, an open window to the world and even hope that when she grows up she may not always remain dependent upon her family members.
- Indra Malini of Ella is a Sinhala mother who is struggling to raise three children aged 8, 11, and 13, all three of whom are deaf and dumb. Her husband is a day laborer, who finds paid work on a daily basis, when it can be found. Fortunately for them, there is a School for the Deaf and Blind in Bandarawela. Her request, which we endorse, is for help for the cost of schooling the children, including a long daily commute to Bandarawela, and the cost of school supplies and uniforms. We are seeking a sponsor for this family.
- Ishaan (14) of Ella has been deaf & dumb since birth. He lives quite near Indra Malini's three children and also commutes daily to the school for the deaf & dumb, about 40 minutes away, which sends a van to pick up other deaf children and drop them home in the evening (fine, except the service is not free). Ishaan's parents are asking for help with the cost of school transportation, only around $4-5 per month, and the cost of shoes and school uniform.
Ishaan is an example of a handicapped child from a poor family, who could benefit from sponsorship, provided that the a sponsor who is committed to see him get an education that will enable him to learn a suitable livelihood and even marry and raise a family of his own some day. Perhaps some day he and his little sister can learn computer at school and even at home some day, using special software and hardware to learn to speak in Sinhala and even in English. But for now, his family is only asking for a little help with his education, as they are a genuinely poor rural family.
- Nilantha (27) of Bandarawela is normal and healthy, except that from birth he has not had use of his legs. In spite of his disability, Nilantha has studied up to the O level and is a bright and sociable young man, living with his mother and aged grandmother (father passed away). They all live in a dilapidated house that is little more than a shack, but at least it is their own property and, moreover, it is in a commercial location. They are currently using the front room as a rustic shop, with just a few items like soap and biscuits for sale, and there sits Nilantha all day.
We are encouraging him not simply to clean up the shop, but to remodel it altogether. Already we have given him a SunTel phone, and now it is his turn to remodel it into a proper shop with a nice signboard, with our support, so more customers will visit, since his family depends upon the pitiful income from his tiny shop. We feel that Nilantha, with his decent education, can succeed in keeping a shop in that commercial location. He only needs encouragement and commercial guidance and, of course, nominal financial support, so his family can rebuild the store front and put up a nice banner, restock the store, etc. We feel that Nilantha is another success story waiting to happen, with donor support.
- Vasanthi (15) of Poonagala lost both parents in a road accident when she was only five months old. She remained in a hospital until at last a great aunt agreed to act as foster mother to the girl. Since then she lives in a tiny two room flat with her aunt. Vasanthi is cheerful, if rather shy. Her left hand remains clenched so she cannot use it except for simple movements, plainly a psychological issue. Vasanthi never went to school—she may have been too traumatized or withdrawn to interact much—so she never got even a rudimentary education, even though she appears to be bright. She attends a local day care center daily where she helps the two staff to look after preschool children, and she takes great satisfaction in this.
Vasanthi's foster mother, age 50, is very poor and will not be able to continue to labor on the tea estate for many more years. She is a lovely girl who could some day have a normal life and family of her own, if given some help. We would like to arrange to pay a small salary to an educated girl to provide home education to Vasanthi so she can learn to read and write, as a first step so she can some day learn to earn her own living and live a more normal life.
- Jayasundara (26) is a dwarf who is also unable to walk, so he has to move about in a wheelchair. He lives with his mother beside the Koslanda main road near a rural bank. He is very bright and sociable, and has managed to build a little shop by the roadside, just across from the rural bank. As his mother's only son, she depends upon him as much as he depends upon her. In September we presented him with a SunTel phone, so now he is able to earn a little extra by providing telecom service to rural bank customers.
- Rupendran (14) was born with deformed ankles. He can walk, but only with difficulty and only with specially made shoes. His family lives on Koslanda Tea Estate where his parents work as laborers. Earlier Rupendran's parents had to carry him down to school in the morning and carry him home in the afternoon; now he boards with a family near Meeriabedde Primary School. Rupendran needs a sponsor who would meet the cost of having shoes specially fitted for him in Colombo, cover the cost of his school items, etc.
- Chaturanga Aberuwan (12, photo at right)of Nawelagama, Ballakeduwa (Ella) has had this condition from birth. Chaturanga's family is very poor, though they are living in a decent but old and run down house. He cannot stand on his own but his arms are strong so he can move about on the floor using his arms. Now that he has a wheelchair he can move about on his own power using his arms. Unfortunately he also has a mental disability, so he understands when spoken to but seems distracted and speak little. When we showed him the wheelchair and seated him in it, he clapped his hands for joy and clearly understood that this wheelchair was his to keep.
- Rupan of Meeriabedda, Koslanda, is a 16 year old boy with complete mental disability--he cannot speak and is bedridden. He lives just a stone's throw from Parameswary on Koslanda Organic Tea Estate with his 75-year old grandmother, who alone looks after Rupan and has appealed to us for some help, any help we can offer. It is very hard for this grandmother to manage when she has constantly to look after this boy.
If you would like to sponsor a child or youth seen here, please contact us.