Hemas Outreach Foundation and Ayati launch ‘Eka Se Salakamu’

Tuesday, 4 May 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • A social movement to empower children and families with Down syndrome to live a dignified life

Hemas Outreach Foundation, together with Ayati – Sri Lanka’s first national centre for children with disabilities – launched ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ (Treat All Alike) to coincide with World Down Syndrome Day celebrated on 21 March. 

‘Eka Se Salakamu’ is a social movement aimed towards empowering children and families with Down syndrome, creating a platform to recognize their rights and promote inclusivity in today’s society.

There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding Down syndrome in Sri Lanka which leads to marginalisation and stigmatisation of this community. 

The ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ movement, is rooted in the concept of building an inclusive world through ‘healthful living’ which promotes a society that leaves no child behind. This core purpose will champion the cause and assist in eradicating the stigma being faced by them on a regular basis.

Through this movement, families and children with Down syndrome will have a platform and the opportunity to express their views and share their own experiences with the public. The platform will also help to highlight the skills of the children and showcase their talents.

The public and influencers are invited to join the platform and assist the community to live a dignified life and eradicate stigma and myth related to Down syndrome. The Ayati Speech and Language Therapeutic wing aspires to become comparable with the global best in class for children with Down syndrome by enabling them to develop their latent talents and helping them to become productive members of society.

“Ayati Centre was built in partnership with the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Hemas Holdings, MAS Holdings, Roshan Wijerama Foundation, the Sri Lanka Army, Rotary and other donors to address a need in the country.  When we initiated Ayati we had three objectives – to build the first national centre of excellence, to eradicate stigma related to disabilities and to establish centres in rural Sri Lanka. 

“The ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ movement is our effort to tackle stigma associated with Down syndrome.  Children with Down syndrome are one of the most stigmatised groups in society. As a corporate that champions ‘healthful living’, we look forward to creating a more inclusive world by establishing a platform for families to air their views and get much-needed support from the community. Hemas Group has always worked towards the betterment of the lives of children with disabilities for over a decade through the Piyawara initiative. In 2006, a special school for children with disabilities was established in Hambantota. This was the initial stepping-stone for Hemas to support establishment of the Ayati national centre. We also promote the employment of people who are intellectually impaired as we work towards providing them with a sense of renewed purpose through the prospect of employment,” said Hemas Outreach Foundation and Ayati Trust Sri Lanka Executive Director Shiromi Masakorala sharing her thoughts on the launch.

Consistent awareness is necessary to make a difference and change the mindset within a community. The movement will, therefore, also pave way for the building of partnerships with key stakeholders. The project seeks to invite international experts to Sri Lanka through Ayati to collaborate and work with professional bodies in Sri Lanka. 

By getting the ‘Eka Se Salakamu’ movement off the ground, Hemas Outreach Foundation and Ayati would be leveraging on the wealth of knowledge and data that these institutes have gathered over the years through their work on children with disabilities. 

Be a voice for this community:  http://web.facebook.com/ekasesalakamu