- Published on Monday, 15 July 2013 16:30
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The Shivan Foundation for Disabled Children announced of the official opening of the Kandy-Teldeniya Special Needs School and Ayurveda Centre on Saturday 20th July 2013.
The centre will be inaugurated by Douglas Devananda (Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development) with the participation of . Mahindananda Aluthgama, Mnister of Sports, Tikiri Kobbakaduwa(, Governor, Central Province . Sarath Ekanayake Chief Minister of Central Province, G.A.Chandrasiri Governor, Northern Province, and Ganeswaran Velautham Founder, Shivan Foundation. Also attending will be the families, friends and carers of the beneficiaries as well as all staff, volunteers and supporters who have made this occasion possible. A further warm welcome will also be given to the members of the first Shivan Foundation parents organisation committee
The Shivan Foundation for Disabled Children is a registered charity founded, overseen and financed by Sri-Lankan born entrepreneur Ganeswaran Velautham. Taking inspiration from his son Shivan, who is autistic, blind and suffers from cerebral palsy, Ganesh has set out to help disabled children and provide the necessary support for their parents through the creation of Special Needs Schools for local students and residential homes for those students who live further afield. Priority for paid staff positions with full training will be given to parents and disabled adults. Each school will be run by self-governing parents committees. Various awareness programs will be put in place to help eradicate the social stigma associated with physical and mental disabilities.
The Special Needs School in Teldeniya near Kandy is the first centre of its kind to be built by the Foundation after years of planning and preparation. The centre is set on 10 acres of rural land surrounded by a breathtaking 3000 ft hill range and located several miles outside Kandy city. The centre’s 15000 sq. ft. core building houses several health, educational and leisure facilities such as a swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, music therapy room, Ayurveda centre and herbal massage room. Completing the site are several acres of organic farm land and free-range animal enclosures providing children with the opportunity to interact with nature, for example through animal feeding and petting.
The centre currently operates as a day school; none the less it aims to offer full residential services through round-the-clock care and accommodation in the near future, subject to further funding. Until then, the Foundation will offer a free shuttle service as well as financial help towards bus fares. In addition, those children living in the direst conditions are being offered free home improvement services, such as access to or improvement of sanitary facilities. Staff and volunteers are being prepared for the transition into a residential school with the support from medical professionals and external experts. A team of carers and teachers is being formed by special education specialist and founding principal Sally Evans.
It is hoped that with the right amount of planning and investment the Kandy-Teldeniya Centre will become a role model for future health and education facilities across Sri Lanka for the benefit of disabled children. It will provide education and training for parents and a local workforce, ultimately becoming a centre of excellence run by Sri Lankans.