AYATI – Sri Lanka’s first “National Centre for Children with Disabilities”, was officially inaugurated to serve the many children with disability, whose families hitherto had no source of solace. The momentous occasion was graced by the First Citizen of the Country H E President Gotabaya Rajapakse.
Disability has been recognized as a national issue which needs the focus of everyone. According to available statistics, as many as one in five (20%) children could suffer from some form of disability, either mental or physical. If identified early, with continuous intervention, significant improvements can be achieved, enabling such children to achieve their fullest potential. This national need has resulted in the formation of a unique ‘Public-Private Partnership’ to provide a sustainable solution. The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya provides the land and the clinical support, while Hemas Holdings and MAS Holdings, two leading conglomerates, have spearheaded the setting up of the AYATI Centre, as key donors. The Sri Lanka Army supported this magnanimous initiative by providing their services free of charge to construct the Centre in a short span of 13 months. Rotary joined hands with the provision of audiology equipment and ‘Roshan Wijerama Family Foundation’ stepped in to support as a third key donor. The AYATI Centre is now open to serve all Sri Lankans across the country and provide its services free of charge.
The AYATI Centre will have multi-disciplinary clinical operations throughout the week. The areas covered extend to all disabilities (physical &mental) with initial screening and interventions that will include Speech & Language Therapy, Audiology, Physiotherapy, Family Therapy, Occupational Therapy etc. The Centre, which will be developed to the standards of a “Centre of Excellence” will consist of a state-of-the-art Audiology unit, Sri Lanka’s first Sensory room, a multi-disciplinary training centre, and research and development facilities, in addition to other clinical support services. The clinics will be conducted by highly qualified professional experts attached to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya. Prior appointments are essential to ensure the delivery of standards that the Centre expects to offer. Appointments can be obtained by calling 0115960050 between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays.
The AYATI Centre, located within the University premises in Ragama, was built at a cost of Rs 550 million. On-going operations will require extra funds for sustainability since services are to be provided free of charge. The AYATI Trust will continue to facilitate the raising of additional funds to ensure smooth operations.
Derived from the word ‘hope’ in Sanskrit, the ‘AYATI’ project is a long-term, sustainable national initiative aimed at helping children with disabilities to reach their full potential. The ultimate objective is to create opportunities for them to be effectively integrated into society. AYATI hopes to improve the children’s quality of life and independence, enabling them live as full a life as possible. The Centre will actively engage in creating awareness of the national, social issue and try to pave ways to minimize the stigma.
The AYATI Centre is now equipped to help the Sri Lankan community and will open its doors to the general public. The Centre will offer many required services that are not widely available within the country in relation to disabilities. With the success of this project, the Trust hopes to expand its’ reach across the country and help all those families and children that require these services but are unable to afford them.
The AYATI Trust functions as a public-private partnership. It is managed by a Board of Trustees. Further information is available at www.ayati.lk.
Donations to AYATI Trust Sri Lanka may be made in favour of Account No: 84904435 Bank: Bank of Ceylon, Personal Branch.
To donate up to LKR 2500 at a time via your Dialog phone, type: Donate(space)AYATI(space)amount and send your SMS to 366