Volunteers to Assist Children with Disabilities (VACD) focuses its activities in the Uva province of Sri Lanka which is one of the poorest provinces in the island where very few services are provided and with almost no infrastructure to support children with disabilities.
Available data based on the national census of 2014 indicates the number of children with disabilities (autism, downs syndrome, physical and intellectual impairments since birth) in the Uva province is approximately 1045. However, anecdotal evidence points out to the number being almost double due to associated social stigma, vilification and discrimination faced by such children and their families within their own communities. Our organisation has 350+ registered children from across the province for whom we are committed to provide a range of services.
Medical and government sector officials have informed us that they lack the resources to provide the services that we do, and urge us to open more centres so that we can provide the following services:
Training: Life skills, basic education, music and dance, computer literacy, vocational, physical education and social recreation.
Support: Provision of nutritious meals for children who attend the centre, medical assistance, education assistance, family support assistance;
Parents: Vocational training, cottage industry training, leadership training, advocacy training, microfinance, home-based therapy and early detection training;
Other: Conducting workshops, seminars and camps for parents and caregivers. Equipping and liaising with pediatric clinics in hospitals. Launching regular media campaigns to make the immediate and broader community aware of the plight of children with disabilities and their families. Generating support and assistance from the local communities, corporates, government and non- government authorities for our mission.
We estimate that the annual cost of rent, staff allowances, maintenance and providing services listed above at a new centre will be A$ 8,000. We hope to establish two new centres once we have clarity and certainty on available finances.