Our Chief Executive, Murielle Maupoint, is currently in Sri Lanka taking part in her first project visit since becoming Chief Executive. Below are her thoughts on what she has seen so far. We will provide further updates as her trip progresses.
We visited Services for Empowerment & Rehabilitation of Disabled Children and Families (SERD) – A humbling project for disabled children. The underpinning principle of this organisation is that every child has a talent which we should work with to help them unleash. In a country where disability is stigmatised – it was refreshing to see a project that not only delivers a bespoke range of services to meet each child’s unique needs but also enables them to develop livelihoods with each child having a bank account opened in their name so they can receives a % of profits from the arts/crafts based goods they produce. These vital occupational health activities are developed around the interests of the child. Staff also actively work to integrate children within the community, working with parents to help them better care for their special needs children and also enabling the children to participate in regional and national exhibitions and shows such as singing/dance to start changing the perceptions of the nation regarding disability. Their dream is to have their own purpose built centre where they can better provide for the children and have security of tenure knowing they will not have to move premises.
Borella Pre-School & Day Centre – This centre caters for some of the most disadvantaged children in Columbo, living in shanty communities. The parents are employed in basic labour and without the centre would either not be able to work as they would have to care for the children thus impacting on family income or the children would spend their days in an unsafe environment at risk of exploitation and abuse. Instead, the children benefit from a safe, educational environment that supports their full development. The centre also provides support to parents to help them better cope with the challenges of their daily lives and in doing so provide a better childhood for their children.
Children Friends in Need Society (CFINS) – They are the oldest charity in Sri Lanka, and are based in Colombo providing prosthetic limbs to the poorest disabled children in Sri Lanka for free. The centre not only fits and builds the limbs, but also offers children full board accommodation in their on-site hostel to ensure children receive the rehabilitation and education they need to effectively use their new limbs. Many of CFINS’s staff are also disabled and wear prosthetics themselves so they truly understand the difficulties that these children encounter in their day to day lives. The charity also goes out into rural communities to fit prosthetics using their mobile workshop, thus further increasing access to their services to some of the most remote communities in Sri Lanka. Since 1985 they have fitted 22,501 limbs.
Posted on March 18th, 2015