Friends of Navajeevana supported the work of Navajeevana Rehabilitation Tangalla. Our vision is a better future for people with disabilities in Sri Lanka, and we aimed to raise funds to assist Navajeevana, bring together UK based supporters of Navajeevana and introduce new people to the work of the organisation. We were set up in 2010 by Hilary Green, Leonora Merry and Olof Williamson, who all spent time working in southern Sri Lanka in 2008/9. In 2016 we closed the charity after six successful years of fundraising.
Trustee Leonora Merry explains the reasons for setting up Friends of Navajeevana:
“I spent six months working at Navajeevana in 2008. I was really inspired and impressed with the ethos of the organisation, which reaches out to the “unreached” – people with disabilities in rural Sri Lanka. Before I went there I had no idea that someone born into a poor rural family in Sri Lanka with a disability like cerebral palsy, could live their whole lives confined to the home with little prospect of therapy, equipment or education to give them access to the kinds of opportunities they would have if they were able bodied.
Navajeevana provides access to the therapy, equipment, education and training that people with disabilities so desperately need in the areas. During my time in Tangalla, I soon realised that Navajeevana’s community based approach was a lifeline for them.
I also learned that Navajeevana has several links with the UK, and on returning to the UK myself, wanted to do something to support Navajeevana. By good fortune this sentiment was shared by Hilary Green, who returned from working in Sri Lanka in 2009 – and Friends of Navajeevana was born.
For six years we raised funds for Navajeevana to enable them to support people with disabilities in Sri Lanka. We ran, abseiled, rowed, quizzed, baked and much much more. Our fundraising efforts meant we could help Navajeevana’s beneficiaries through such projects as a community school in rural Sri Lanka, running workshops for parents of children with cerebral palsy, providing playground equipment for schools of children with disabilities, and training a speech and language therapist.
We decided to end the charity in 2016 after raising over £30,000 for people with disabilities in Sri Lanka. We know we could not have done this without the support and encouragement of our funders – so thank you all for making Friends of Navajeevana such a success.”