Development News Update: Army troops-built first-ever state-of-the-art rehabilitation centre, ‘AYATI’ for children with special needs at Ragama formally opened its doors to the public on Saturday (25) offering multi-disciplinary clinical operations covering all forms of disabilities.
HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa graced the momentous occasion as the first citizen of the country at the invitation of Prof D.M Semasinghe, Vice Chancellor, University of Kelaniya and Prof P.S Wijesinghe, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Kelaniya and Prof Nilanthi De Silva, Chairperson ‘AYATI’ Trust, Sri Lanka and Board of Trustees. Two kids with clinical disabilities, together with those above patrons welcomed the day’s Chief Guest.
Together with two children, HE the President lit the traditional oil lamp and inaugurated the day’s proceedings with singing of the national anthem and the delivery of welcome address by Prof D.M Semasinghe, Vice Chancellor, University of Kelaniya.
An emotional and heart touching talk by one child with disabilities, supported by a few other of the same ilk describing ‘My Life Story’ added a sentimental value to the day’s proceedings depicting the density of this national issue and the need for everyone’s focus.
The brief but elaborate presentation of Mrs Shiromi Masakorala, Executive Directress, ‘AYATI’ Trust tabled the founding of this special centre for treatment of Down Syndrome (genetic and nutritional aspects of accompanying disorders) and Autism (symptoms in children with autism). A subsequent vote of thanks proposed by Prof Nilanthi De Silva, Chairperson ‘AYATI’ Trust, Sri Lanka and Board of Trustees set the stage ready for HE the President to unveil commemorative plaque and to conduct a guided tour in the new facility premises, in the company of Mr Lalith Weerathunga, President’s Adviser, Former State Minister of Defence Hon Ruwan Wijewardene, Prof D.M Semasinghe, Prof Wijesinghe, Prof Nilanthi De Silva, Prof Samanmali, Mrs Shiromi Masakorala, Mr Roshan Mahanama, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Commander of the Navy, Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage, Chief of Staff and Major General Mahinda Mudalige, Commander, Security Forces – West.
HE the President and the retinue closely looked at consultation rooms, learning rooms, SLT wing group therapy and CVI room, audiology wing, laboratory, music room, sensory integration room and a few other units. Before the day’s programme ended, several group photos were taken as symbols of memory at the occasion.
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.
The Sri Lanka Army’s 10 (V) Corps of Engineer Services a few months ago completed the construction of the new three-storied building on behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and vested it with the ‘AYATI’ Trust before it became functional from today (25) onwards for the benefit of all the children on free of charge basis.
Sri Lanka Army, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Hemas Holdings PLC, MAS Holdings, Rotary International, MICD architects, Wickramasinghe Associates, E&Y, People’s Bank, People’s Leasing, John Keels Holdings Company Ltd, Brandix, Foundation of Goodness and Triad are the main patrons and sponsors of this project of this magnitude, meant to improve those children’s quality of life, independence and promotion of full potential, innate strength and individual talents, inherent among those children with disabilities since the percentage of such children in the country stands at more than 20%.
‘AYATI’ meaning ‘Hope’ in Sanskrit would serve as a National Centre for Rehabilitation of such Children.
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 will provide its services free of charge.
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 9.00 am and 5.00 pm on weekdays.