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Foundation stone laid for AYATI Center for Children with Disabilities on World Disability Day

The national dream of establishing a center dedicated for children with disabilities becamea little closer to reality on World Disability Day as the foundation for‘AYATI- a centre of excellence for children with disabilities’, was laid ceremonially at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya.

The center which was initiated by Hemas Holdings PLC together with the Kelaniya Faculty of Medicine, held its groundbreaking ceremony under the patronage of the Chief Guest, Hon. Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defenceand many other distinguished personalities, along with the members of AYATI Trust Sri Lanka.

As depictedby the name Ayati (which means ‘hope’ in Sanskrit), thecenter will providemany of the facilities requiredto help children with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential and become fully integrated into our society.

With the blessings of the Ministry of Defence, the Sri Lanka Navy has volunteeredto provide the required manpower tobuilda 42,000 sq.ft.

State -of-the-art center,which willspread across 1.5 acres in the Medical Faculty grounds at Ragama.

This initiative,which will undoubtedly help our country in its journey towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, will be driven by the Department of Disability Studies in the Faculty of Medicine of the University ofKelaniya, together with Hemas Holdings PLC, and has already received excellent support from the government, private sector as well as other international organizations.

Commenting on this historic moment, Prof. Nilanthi de Silva, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and Chairperson, AYATI Trust Sri Lanka said, “As we lay the foundation for the first national center for children with disabilities, I would like to thank everyone who enabled us to meet a very important, but hitherto neglected, need in our country.

Once operational, the center will providefacilities for the initial assessment of children with disabilities,as well asappropriate interventional therapy, basic vocational training and life skills.

It will also provide a state-of-the-arttraining and research facility for our undergraduatestudents and foreign graduates who regularly visit the University.

As a national center that will provide many different facilities under one roof, AYATI will brighten the lives of many parents who have children with disabilities, as well as others who care for them”.

“Weat Hemasare pleased to launch an initiative of this nature with the Faculty of Medicine Kelaniya to address a much needed requirement in the country.

Our role in this project will be solely to facilitate funding and sponsorship towards the proposed AYATI centre which will be initially funded by Hemas.

We are thankful to our partners Ernst & Young, TRIAD and MICD Architects forproviding their services free of charge towards this noble cause.

While we continue our fight in creating a better world for these children, we invite all other corporates and business partners to join us and be a part of this much needed facility in Sri Lanka,” said Mr. Abbas Esufally- Group Director of Hemas Holdings PLC and Deputy Chairperson AYATI Trust Sri Lanka.

AYATI Trust Sri Lanka also received enthusiasticsupport forthis national initiative whenthey recently made a presentationto the Caucus for Children in the Sri Lanka Parliament.

In her statement to the Caucus, Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Caucus for Children stated, “We will give our fullest support towards this initiative, considering this as a timely and important issue which has not been given proper consideration in the country.

The Caucus wishes to thank the private sector for initiating this project and will seek support from all relevant ministries and departments to make it a success”.

The Center will be managed by an eminent Board of Trustees, chaired by the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine University of Kelaniya, and will also have support from cricketing legends Kumar Sangakkara and Roshan Mahanama, who will play a crucial role as trustees and spokesmen for the AYATI trust.

They willjoin anational campaign to create better awarenessamong the general public of the needs of children with disabilities, and raise the support necessary for construction of the facility within the projected period of 12 months.

Last modified on Saturday, 10 December 2016 07:08