Saturday, May 28, 2005

Listen to the top Sri Lankan hit 'We Shall Re-build Sri Lanka'

A group of well known Srl Lankan musicians got together in January 2005, a few weeks after the tsunami devastated the island on 26th December 2004. They recorded a moving song 'Let's Rebuild Sri Lanka' in Sinhala, Tamil and English. It turned into a huge hit. The song is a message of hope, they say 'together we can make a difference.'


Listen to this beautiful song by Sri Lankan musicians - cut and paste this link on your browser:

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Former US President Bill Clinton visits Sri Lanka on 27th May

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy for Tsunami Reconstruction, former US President Bill Clinton is due in Sri Lanka on May 27. This is his first official visit to Sri Lanka after assuming the new post.

Mr. Clinton visited Sri Lanka in February this year with George H. W. Bush, another former US President, representing the US. They were able to witness the massive damage caused by the tsunami and had a first hand account of the tsunami relief program in several affected areas in the South. They took time to make a visit to the Children's trauma counseling camp in Matara during their visit.

The UN special envoy is expected to visit one of the worst affected areas either in the North or in the East during his short visit this time.

Diplomatic sources said that Mr. Clinton will meet the donor representatives based in Colombo and hold discussions with President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the tsunami reconstruction activities in the country.

A Children’s village will come up at Walahanduwa Watta, Akmeemana, in Galle District with the financial aid from former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Senator Hilary Clinton. The Clinton couple had donated US $ 15 million for this purpose.

Skill Development, Vocational Training and Technical Education Minister Piyasena Gamage said that the children’s village at Walahaduwa Watta will be for the benefit of the tsunami victim children who lost their parents at the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004. He said that he was grateful to the Clintons for the generous contribution for the sake of children who were made orphans by the natural disaster.

The children’s village will have a school, a boarding house, a play ground for children, a meeting hall for the populace and a fully equipped hospital, the Minister said.

The Chief Sanga Nayake of New York Vihara, Chairman, International Temples Foundation and lecturer at the New York University Ven. Kurunegala Piyatissa Thera was also present at the ceremony to commence the project to create the children’s vllage.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Ivan and Charika Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign have appealed directly to Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the President of Sri Lanka who was recently in London,to take action over public services for people with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

They have heard from Sri Lankan parents and carers who are desperate for public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care on the island. Some try to take their children for assessments in Australia and the UK but are unable to afford the high private fees. Autism is a neuro-development disorder - they say there are well over 38,000 children with autism in Sri Lanka. Autistic children think differently - they think in pictures. Albert Einstein they say had autism. In Sri Lanka autism is confused with mental illness.

Due to culture - autistic children on the island are kept at home. Thousands of Sri Lankan children have no access to education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care. School heads do not know much about autism and are unable to provide education for autistic children and other SEN children.Many remain undiagnosed. Medical professionals haven't received full training on the CHAT system to diagnose and assess these children. There is only the Chitra Lane School and one other school that caters for SEN children. Many more special schools need to be set up to cater for the growing number of SEN children including those with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.Sri Lanka needs to train more SEN Teachers and there are only a handful of speech therapists in the whole of the island.Many more specialist speech therapists are needed.

The tsunami which devastated Sri Lanka has also led to an increase of children with disabilities and mental trauma.The Autism Awareness Campaign in Sri Lanka has been working in partnership with the respected Rotary Club of Colombo Regency to reach out to the victims. Organisations from all over the world responded to the Autism Awareness Campaign's Tsunami Appeal.

Ivan Corea urged President Kumaratunga to look into the area of autism and Asperger's Syndrome in Sri Lanka. He appealed to the Sri Lankan business community in the UK,USA, Australia and in Sri Lanka to build special schools with well equipped sensory rooms. 'This is a crying need - we hope that Sri Lankan businessmen will think about giving to set up new SEN schools in the tsunami hit areas, in Colombo and other areas,' he said. Recently Ivan Corea presented Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister with an Autism Awareness Ribbon. In a few weeks time Autism Awareness Week will be launched in the UK and around the world. He said: 'I urge Sri Lankan businessmen who feel they want to give back something to the land of their birth to go to Sri Lanka and set up SEN schools, pay for training of staff so that they could help those who cannot speak up for themselves.' This is a desperate need in Sri Lanka.

Ivan and Charika Corea were recently honoured with the Highly Commended Certificate in the Leadership category of the prestigious Beacon Prize 2004 recently announced in London. We were thrilled with the quality of the nominations received this year, reflecting the full depth and extent of charitable activity in the UK,’ commented Emily Stonor, Chief Executive of Beacon. ‘Being highly commended is thus remarkable. Ivan and Charika Corea’s nomination was judged alongside those for prize winners such as Sir Bob Geldof and Jamie Oliver.We are delighted to recognise Ivan and Charika Corea’s contribution to charity and we hope that their success story will be an inspiration to others,' said the Chief Executive of Beacon.