Sunday, June 05, 2005

Autism Awareness Campaigns urges Bill Clinton to reach out to the Disability Community in Sri Lanka

Ivan and Charika Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign have urged former US President Bill Clinton to reach out to the Disability Community in the tsunami hit areas of the island. The campaign calls for the building of SEN Schools in the tsunami hit region as well as other parts of Sri Lanka.

The United Nations Envoy, former US President Bill Clinton visited Sri Lanka on May 27 - 28th. The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka urged President Clinton to reach out to the disability community. The tsunami has led to many more people suffering a range of disabilities, children still suffer from mental trauma. Over 30,000 people have perished in the tsunami which struck Sri Lanka on 26th December 2004.

Ivan Corea said: 'A crying need for Sri Lanka are special schools (equipped with sensory rooms) to be set up in the tsunami hit areas as well as other parts of the country to cater for the rising numbers of children with special educational needs including autism spectrum disorder.'

The campaign appealed to reputed, established organisations in the UK,USA, Australia and in Sri Lanka to build special schools. 'This is a key need - we also hope that Sri Lankan expatriate 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 London. He said: 'I urge Sri Lankan expatriate businessmen who feel they want to give back something to the land of their birth, to go to Sri Lanka and set up, build and equip 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.