Hopes to make grass roots level change in attitudes ensuring the inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream life
‘A World Where We All Belong’ an advocacy campaign designed to educate society to accept and welcome people with disabilities in mainstream life was launched in Colombo by E.A.S.E. Foundation that was established by a person with autism and his family to help people with disabilities create productive, stimulating lives.
The advocacy program includes short videos highlighting positive and negative interactions between people with disabilities and the general public, an exploration of the behaviours that lead to hurting the most vulnerable people in society between participants and trained facilitators and an exhibition highlighting the contributions to society made by people with disabilities.
“I yearn to stop the negative comments by teaching people that we are not different. Negative attitudes hurt us by always telling us we are less in every way that matters. We are not less and we are not really different. Our abilities are the same as yours so don’t call us differently-abled,” Chandima Rajapatirana, Co-fo-under/Co-President, E.A.S.E. Foundation said. “This project is dedicated to changing archaic attitudes and prejudices thus creating a world where we all belong. Since we intend to take this message to schools and community groups island-wide, do get in touch to create awareness in your community,” he added.
The core educational program currently provides educational support to children with disabilities to reach their full potential. The Foundation works with challenging, hyperactive even aggressive children with autism as well as others who come seeking help. The intensive, targeted educational program has helped every child who has come to E.A.S.E. Foundation.
“My more than thirty years of learning, researching, training, and direct practical experience combined with Chandima’s insider knowledge of autism helps us design an effective educational program,” said Anoja Rajapatirana, Co-Founder/Co-Pres-ident E.A.S.E. Foundation.
“Our parent support services, including educating the parent about their child’s difficulties as well as counselling, have turned many parents from despair to courage. All our services are provided free of charge,” she added.
The World Health Organization says that 11% of the world’s population is disabled. Thirty years ago in the USA one in ten thousand was diagnosed with autism; now the number is one in sixty three. A year ago a local newspaper quoted that one in ninety three children in Sri Lanka is autistic. Sadly people with disabilities are four times more likely to experience violence.
Established in 2007, the E.A.S.E. Foundation is a registered non-governmental social service organisation in Sri Lanka founded by a person with autism and his family.The Founder’s dream is nothing less than creating a world that includes those with disabilities in mainstream society. The Foundation educates the public with workshops and innovative awareness campaigns from time to time, and delivers a well-rounded educational experience to students with disabilities.