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SL Army hands over Ayati Centre to Faculty of Medicine – University of Kelaniya

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  • Centre will be open to public by end 2019


The Ayati Centre – Sri Lanka’s first National Centre for Children with Disabilities, was ceremonially handed over by the Sri Lankan Army to the Faculty of Medicine – University of Kelaniya on 18 July. 

Graced by esteemed members of the Sri Lanka Army along with AYATI Trustees, partners, academics, donors and many more, this occasion marked the completion of construction of the Ayati Centre. The centre will be opened to the public by end 2019, providing its services free of charge to help children with disabilities in Sri Lanka. 

The building of the Ayati Centre comprised of a total cost of Rs. 550 million and was funded by Ayati Trust Sri Lanka; a public private partnership incorporated by the University of Kelaniya, Hemas Holdings PLC and MAS Holdings. 

The project’s key donors comprised of Hemas Holdings and MAS Holdings, along with the University of Kelaniya, and the Sri Lanka Army. Rotary partnered the project by sponsoring facilities needed for audiology. Alongside donations were also made by People’s Bank, People’s Leasing, John Keells Holdings, Brandix, Foundation of Goodness and other well-wishers. 

The Ayati Centre was handed over officially to the Faculty of Medicine – University of Kelaniya representing the Ayati Trust by SL Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayaka along with Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Kumudu Perera. 

The construction of the National Centre was completed within a short span of 13 months by the 10 ESR of the Sri Lankan Army accompanied by 200 soldiers who worked at the site. The Sri Lankan Army contributed their resources pro-bono, supporting a much-needed, national initiative. Along with the generous contribution by the Army, MICD Architects, Wickremesinghe Associates and Triad provided their services free of charge as well. 

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 through early intervention and guidance. The ultimate objective being to create an opportunity for them to be integrated in the society effectively, Ayati hopes to improve the children’s quality of life and independence, making them reach a life as full as possible.

According to statistics, demographics show that approximately 20% of Sri Lankan child population could be effected with some form of disability. Most parents are unable to identify this limitations early and even when they do are not willing to accept it due to social and personal pressures. Early interventions and participation by the parents to support the child, under proper guidance can bring hope for a better life. 

Being a rising concern in Sri Lanka, Ayati Centre will bridge the gap between the need for professional support with trained professionals, research and development. Ayati Trust will work on creating awareness of this social issue and try pave ways to minimise the stigma. Ayati Centre will offer its services free of charge, effective from December to the general public.

Ayati Trust Sri Lanka Chairperson Prof. Nilanthi de Silva stated: “We are humbled and grateful for the support extended by our donors to make this dream into a reality. The Ayati Centre will soon be equipping itself to help the Sri Lankan community, and open its doors to the general public by the end of this year. This rehabilitation centre will offer many required services that aren’t widely available within the country in relation to disabilities.” 

She further commented: “With the success of this project, we hope to expand across the country and help families and children that require these services and are unable to afford them.”

Present at this occasion, former cricketer and a Trustee of Ayati Roshan Mahanama commented: “The Ayati project is a wonderful and timely initiative aimed at helping the lives of many. It is enriching to see organisations come together to innovate and collaborate, in making a facility to help those in need. Taking this as an example, I believe our duty as citizens is to extend our support to building this nation every way we can – starting with this venture. I am making an appeal to all of you to support this great initiative.”

Charging no cost, the Ayati Centre will offer a range of free services, medical intervention in diagnosis and support in Speech and Language therapy, Audiology, Physiotherapy, Family Therapy, and more; with its onset in December. The centre will require the support of the Sri Lankans who believe in touching a life of a child to make this project sustainable.

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