Saturday, April 15, 2006

Huge Success for Desmond de Silva's Concert for Autism in Sydney Australia

The 'King of Baila' the Sri Lanka - born singer, Desmond de Silva, thrilled hundreds at the Oatlands Centre in Sydney, Australia when he performed at a major fundraising event. The Concert for Autism was held in Sydney in order to raise funds for the School of Autism in Colombo.The Concert for Autism was held on 31st March 2006.

Desmond de Silva is the first Sri Lankan entertainer ever to speak about Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. The superstar who has sold millions of CDs around the world and has entertained audiences as far afield as the United States, UK, Bahrain, Dubai, India, Singapore, Greece and Australia won a standing ovation when he raised the profile of autism at a music concert at the BMICH in Colombo in 2005.

Desmond de Silva told thousands at the BMICH in Colombo: ' 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....'

Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka congratulated Desmond de Silva on his outstanding efforts at his Concert for Autism Sri Lanka in Sydney held on 31st March 2006. 'Desmond has a heart of gold, he is one in a million and through his dedication and commitment and that of his supporters we will see great things happening in Colombo to help children with autism,' he said.

Autism is a neuro developmental disorder affecting 38,000 Sri Lankans and some say there is an increase in numbers of those touched by autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Ivan and Charika Corea have been appealing to the Government of Sri Lanka to provide public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care for all people with autism in Sri Lanka. They launched their campaign in Colombo in 2003.

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 children with special educational needs in Sri Lanka.