Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Autism Awareness Ribbons presented to Freddie Flintoff and Mahela Jayawardene at Lords

Autism Awareness Ribbons were presented to the England Captain Freddie Flintoff and Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene during the First Test at Lords Cricket Grounds in St.John's Wood, London. The autism ribbons were handed over at Lords by Ivan Corea, founder of the Autism Awareness Campaign UK and Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, (Man of the Match ) scored a memorable century at Lords on Sunday bringing dignity back to the Sri Lankan side. Autism ribbons were also handed over to distinguished English cricketing personalities Jonathan Agnew and Henry Bloefeld who are members of BBC Radio 4's 'Test Match Special' commentary team. Writing to both Freddie Flintoff and Mahela Jayawardene, Ivan Corea urged the cricketing community to 'speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.' Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder that affects 535,000 people in the United Kingdom and 38,000 people with autism in Sri Lanka. Many struggle without access to public services in education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care.

There are only two schools who can offer only a few places for children with autism in Sri Lanka. The vast majority have no access to education many are kept at home due to reasons of culture.

Ivan Corea of the Autism Awareness Campaign has commended the efforts of the 'king of Baila' the London based Sri Lankan superstar, Desmond de Silva who hopes to embark upon a massive fund raising effort to build the first school for autism in Colombo. Desmond de Silva in his first concert for Autism Sri Lanka performed to a packed centre in Sydney Australia earlier this year. He plans to launch a roadshow covering several countries in his efforts to reach out to children with autism in Sri Lanka and raise funds for the new school.