Friday, January 07, 2005

info on tsunami affected pwd's in Sri Lanka
From: Society for Disability Studies Listserv
Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 1:24 PM


The email below is from a professor in Sri Lanka with whom I have been in contact recently, first related to the Journal of Religion, Disability and Health, and then second, the tsunami. I asked about specific ways that people could assist disability related organizations. Others asked him the same. See his letter back to us below. You may distribute this as you wish.

Thank you.

Bill Gaventa

"D.P.M.Weerakkody" 1/4/2005 12:39:36 PM

D.P.M. Weerakkody B.A.(Cey).,Ph.D.(Hull)
Professor of Western Classics
Department of Classical Languages
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Tel: Office: 94 81-2388301-5, and 94 18-2388345, Residence: 94 81-2389163
Fax: 94 81-2388933, E-Mail:

Dear friends,
First of all I wish to thank you most sincerely for your generosity in offering to help persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka who were affected by the recent disaster. I give below the information as I have it at present.
1. Regarding the tragedy involving blind children from the School for the Deaf and Blind Tangalla, I finally managed to contact the school by phone and speak to the founder Mr. W. Rupasinghe Perera. There had been twenty persons in the vehicle which travelled from Tangalla to Colombo on the 26th to attend the Christmas party which had been organized for them. All the 16 children were blind, and were accompanied by one teacher, two assistants and the daughter of one of the assistants, all sighted. Twelve blind children, one teacher, and one assistant died. Four blind children escaped and helped the other assistant and her daughter to get out of the danger. The school plans to set up a fund to assist the surviving children and the families of those who died, these being mostly very poor. I would suggest, however, that, rather than sending contributions directly to the school, they should be sent to the Sri Lanka Council for the Blind, which is the principal service organization for the blind in the country, stating clearly that they be sent to the school for the fund. Please contact the Hon. Secretary, Mr. S.L. Hettiarachchy, Sri Lanka Council for the Blind, 74 Church Street, Union Place, Colombo 2, Sri Lanka; tel. 0094 112 329564, email: . He will report to you on how the funds were utilised.
2. There are isolated reports of various blind and other disabled persons being affected, and the Council plans to help them within the following financial terms, i.e. per individual.Rebuilding home: $500.00 each.Wheelchair: $125.00 each.crutches/elbow-crutches: $25.00 each. Once again, please contact Mr. Hettiarachchy from whom I got the information.
3. In Galle, in the south of the country, there is a private home for children with physical and mental handicaps. It is called Sambodhi. I hear that 50% of the building and the children were washed away. Unfortunately, I do not have any details or the contact information, but the Council for the Blind should be able to help.
(Editorial comment by Bill Gaventa...there was an article about his school in the Trenton, NJ Times sometime last weekend.)
4. Although initially there were requests for food, linen and medicine, I believe these are adequately covered by the existing government and other relief operations.
On behalf of the persons with disabilities I thank you once again.
With best wishes
D.P.M. Weerakkody.

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