Children with physical and/or mental disabilities still receive very little attention in Sri Lanka. Families with a disabled child therefore often live on the fringes of society. Lack of integration opportunities and ignorance on the part of the parents about their child’s respective disability often lead to severe exclusion. Most parents are ashamed of their child or even believe that there is a curse on them. Education and help in dealing with the children on a daily basis is the first step in reintegrating the families into society.
The positive development of the Sri Lankan social authorities, wanting to give more support to families with children with disabilities, has also prompted our partner organization Friends Lanka Child Foundation (FLCF for short) to enter this “new territory”. In October 2017, the first day care center of FLCF was opened. In the city of Ambalangoda on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka, a building has been empty for several years. It was built as a community center after the tsunami catastrophe, but unfortunately it was never used as such. Due to the experience of our partner organization in the care and education of children with disabilities, the local authority in Ambalangoda asked them to use this empty building as a day care center for children with disabilities. According to the social authorities, there are around 100-120 children with disabilities and/or severe learning difficulties in the vicinity of the city of Ambalangoda, who cannot attend school and receive no support.
By providing this day and training center, the Schöck-Familien-Stiftung supports the integration of children with disabilities in Sri Lankan society in order to give them the opportunity to participate more actively in life and thus give them joy in playing and learning. After the successful renovation of the building, sufficient staff will be trained there in a second step in order to be able to ensure qualified therapy and support for the children and young people. The target group of the project are 50 children and young people with a wide variety of disabilities between the ages of 3 and 18 years.
In addition to therapy tailored to their disability, which is intended to promote the children’s motor skills, language and other often neglected skills and talents, they receive sufficient attention, care and support in “their school” through the provision of qualified staff.
The following measures are to be implemented for this purpose :
- Introduction of methods for early detection of children’s special needs
- Provision of therapies tailored to the individual needs of the children (e.g. speech therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy etc.)
- Provision of primary education for children with a disability and support for children with learning difficulties
- Learning manual skills through special workshops/handicraft courses
- Education programs and psychological support for parents and family members
Unfortunately, due to the corona pandemic and the associated lockdown in the country, the conversion work and renovation could only begin in December 2021. Instead, these ran very smoothly and thus the day care centre was opened on 8 March 2022.
Project sponsor: Friends Kinderhilfe International e.V.
Project partner: Friends Lanka Child Foundation
Funding year: since 2021
Project No.: 108-20ro