Thursday, February 09, 2006

Desmond de Silva Autism Concert in Sydney Australia

Once again, Sri Lankan superstar Desmond de Silva has pioneered the way by being the first Sri Lankan musician to headline the first ever Autism Concert in Sydney, Australia in aid of autistic children on the island of Sri Lanka. The concert is being held in 2006 which is Asperger's Awareness Year.

'Desmond has a heart of gold, he is reaching out to people with autism and the Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka are grateful to the 'King of Baila' for raising awareness about the condition. Desmond de Silva is making a difference,' said Ivan Corea who initiated the campaign in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2003.

Desmond de Silva is one of Sri Lanka's leading musicians. He has enthralled audiences all over the world. His CDs have sold millions all over the globe.Desmond was touched to hear about the plight of 38,000 autistic children in Sri Lanka - only a handful are being helped in schools and parents, carers and autists have to struggle to access public services in health, education specialist speech therapy and respite care on the island.

Other leading Sri Lankan musicians have come forward to support the Autism Awareness Campaign including Sunil Perera and the Gypsies, Mignonne Fernando of 'The Jetliners' fame and Nimal Mendis the distinguished singer/songwriter.

Last year Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign met with His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse when he was Prime Minister. Mr. Corea spoke to H.E.Mahinda Rajapakse who was presented with an Autism Awareness Ribbon at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London.

President Rajapakse recently speaking in Colombo said: "I want the fruits of our work for children to spread evenly throughout the country from Point Pedro to Dondra Head and Colombo to Batticaloa encompassing the entire land.

"There is one dream that drives me, that is to see all children be they Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and all others live as brothers and sisters of a single mother in the new Sri Lanka that we shall build," President Rajapakse said.

Ivan Corea urged the President to look into the crying needs of the 38,000 autistic children in Sri Lanka. Many are kept at home due to culture. Autism is also confused with mental illness. Life is a struggle for parents, carers and autists in Sri Lanka. Many remain undiagnosed. Teachers and medical professionals need training on autism and Asperger's Syndrome.Mr.Corea urged 'Equality for All' including all children with special educational needs in Sri Lanka.

Desmond de Silva will headline the first ever Autism Concert for Sri Lanka in Sydney Australia on the 31st of March. Desmond de Silva will be backed by the highly acclaimed Raddy Ferreira Orchestra known in Australia as one of the finest, swingiest and most versatile dance orchestras. The exclusive dinner will be held on the 31st of March 2006 at Oatlands House, 42 Bettington Av. Oatlands 2117. The Oatlands House Functions Centre is situated in Sydney’s Hills and Hawkesbury region -located in the north west of Greater Sydney.

Desmond de Silva created history by being the first ever Sri Lankan musician to appeal on behalf of people with autism in Sri Lanka at a concert held at the BMICH in Colombo.

De Silva received a standing ovation when he told the audience of thousands at the BMICH: 'Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder affecting so many around the world. Autism is not mental illness, these children and adults think differently. Albert Einstein they say was autistic. How many in the audience know that there are 38,000 autistic people in Sri Lanka? So we as entertainers, urge you all to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.’ Lets spread awareness of autism, particularly when numbers of autistic children are rising and we urge our government to also provide public services – who knows we may even produce Albert Einsteins if we provide education, health, specialist speech therapy for autistic children in our lovely island....' said De Silva.

Sri Lankan entertainers are scheduled to join the campaign and support the message that people with autism in Sri Lanka need help. The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka have urged western philanthropists and NGOs to come to Sri Lanka and build Autism Units and equip them with badly needed sensory rooms and other equipment in order to help children with autism - not just in Colombo but all over the island and work with the Ministry of Education to reach out to children with autism and Asperger's Syndrome.. Teachers also need training in educational strategies - but funding is needed.

For further details of the Desmond de Silva Concert for Autism, held in Sydney, Australia, please access the website:
Ozlanka -