We provided further funding for Navajeevana’s speech and language therapy which supports 400 children and 100 adults with speech and language difficulties.
We funded training for people with poor vision to ensure that children with blindness or partial blindness could be educated in mainstream education. Our grant supported two trainers to work with Navajeevana’s schools to run courses on daily living skills, educational enhancement and awareness with parents and carers to prevent further complications.
Our grant has enabled Navajeevana to send a staff member to India to undertake a BSc degree in audiometry. This course, which also includes speech therapy will enable Navajeevana to have the right personnel for its audiology unit, which is badly lacking in souther Sri Lanka.
We continued to fund the two projects from 2014 providing multidisciplinary clinics in the community and speech and language therapy.
We also funded Navajeevana’s work in helping people with disabilities find expression and empowerment though the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ a form of Forum theatre designed to promote inclusion and prompt social change.
Reaching the unreached in remote rural areas is a key part of Navajeevana’s mission. With support from the Japanese government for the purchase and equipping of a vehicle we are funding the extension of multidisciplinary clinics into five new areas of Hambantota district. These clinics will provide physiotherapy, speech therapy, prosthetic and orthotic services, audio services and counselling in remote areas not previously covered by Navajeevana. Over the next year it is estimated that at least 1500 people with disabilities will benefit from the project.
Improved communication for people with speech impairments enables them to integrate better with family and community life. It gives greater access to education, personal development and employment. As part of Navajeevana’s holistic rehabilitation and inclusion we are funding a newly appointed graduate speech and language therapist for a period of two years. This will support the development of speech and language of 450 children and 100 adults over the project life and reduce the current long waiting list for the service.
Supporting and training the parents of children with cerebral palsy is crucial because the vast majority of disabled children helped by Navajeevana have cerebral palsy. The high prevalence of this condition in Sri Lanka is not fully understood, but is likely to be caused by under or over-age pregnancies. We are funding this work in partnership with CBM the overseas disability charity and the project includes providing the children who need it with state of the art supportive seating.
Enhancing the sports and competitive skills of differently abled children is a key aim of Navajeevana and we were very pleased to support the participation of a team of 25 children from Navajeevana special schools in the National Sports Meet for Children with Special Needs this April.
Thanks to their hard work and excellent training the team won 43 medals, their best ever sports achievement.
Improving play facilities with a recycling theme has been achieved through the building of an innovative Eco-Friendly Playhouse.
Volunteers from seven countries helped the children build a playhouse using 3500 waste plastic bottles filled with sea sands. The project has been fun, it is a new play resource for the children, and it has grabbed the attention of the local community as a demonstration of an innovative use of waste materials.
Continued support for Hakmana School has been made possible by the success of our Christmas Appeal 2012. Four trustees were able to visit the school in January 2013 and were pleased to see the progress being made by the children.
We were delighted to see the children so clearly enjoying their activities and their interaction with each other and with the teachers, helpers and parents. It was clear how much benefit the pupils were getting but also how good the involvement of the parents is in supporting the progress their children make. We were also privileged to hear some very moving stories from parents about the difference the school has made to their children.
We have funded the teachers’ salaries for another year and we have paid for training in helping children with autism which is being increasingly recognised as a need among children referred to the service.
Sharing and promoting best practice in rehabilitation is an important part of what Navajeevana does. It promotes best practice in community based rehabilitation and trains others, but also needs to keep in touch with experts around the world and the latest evidence from clinical research and new technologies.
We have therefore been very pleased to support Mr Prasanga, who leads the Therapy and Prosthetics team at Navajeevana, to attend the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics Congress in Hyderabad, India this February. This is the premier global event for multidisciplinary prosthetic and orthotic care bringing together rehabilitation professionals from across the world.
Mr Prasanga is on the far right of this picture taken with other delegates at the congress.
Enabling access to rehabilitation from isolated rural areas is a real challenge which Navajeevana meets in part by providing short stays in its residential unit so that people with disabilities can be assessed and provided with equipment and therapy over a period of up to two weeks. We have met the cost of 25 clients to stay in the residential unit and receive therapy.
Kamala’s story is a great demonstration of how being determined and getting the right assistance can contribute to an independent life, even in difficult circumstances.
Kamala is 56 years old, and lives in the rural Hakmana village area. She is the sole income provider for her family and looks after her mother who is ill with cancer. Kamala contracted polio at the age of three, which has caused her to have difficulty walking. As she grew older this led to complications in her gait as she compensated for her disability.
When Navajeevana’s field officers first met her she was having great difficulty walking because her legs had become twisted and bent.
Kamala came in to the residential rehabilitation unit to be assessed. She was soon able to return to have a custom made support fitted: a knee ankle foot orthosis. During this time Kamala was able to stay at the centre to receive physiotherapy and gait training, to ensure the new device would be a success.
Now Kamala has returned home and is able to walk with the aid of a single crutch. The overall improvement in her mobility makes it much easier for her to go about her daily business, including important tasks like collecting fresh water to use for cooking and drinking. With her mother ill, it is even more important that Kamala can continue to keep the household running.
Kamala’s amazing improvement shows how important it is that services such as orthotics and physiotherapy are available and accessible to all those who require them. Rehabilitation programmes can have a life changing effect for many disabled people, their families and the wider community.
Rehabilitation therapy is an essential part of helping clients regain or achieve as much independence as possible. We have supported 100 clients to receive an average of nine sessions of therapy each to enable them to achieve positive change leading to improved quality of life for them and their families.
Encouraging positive attitudes to disability has many aspects, including work in schools. We are pleased to be supporting Navajeevana’s initiative to produce three story books for young children which will be made available in schools across Sri Lanka. One of the illustrations is reproduced below:
Ensuring clients receive the best and quickest service requires accurate, up to date and easily retrievable client records. In 2011 Navajeevana worked with 4392 adults and children with disabilities and supported over 1600 new clients. We have funded a new database which has much improved how client information is managed. Records can now be quickly and easily accessed which has improved the service to individuals. It also enables timely and accurate evidence of needs and services to be provided to local government and other agencies.
Supporting a grass roots movement in Hakmana to open a new school for children with disabilities. We are supporting an exciting project in Hakmana, a small town about 10 miles from the main Navajeevana centre. Navajeevana has been working with local parents who have set up a special school in their temple to help educate children with special needs. We’re really excited by this project as it’s a great example of what Navajeevana does best – supporting and empowering local communities to help bring a better life to disabled people.
We have been able to give Navajeevana a grant to help pay for the training and salaries of two teachers, Deepika and Anusha, who have been working hard to build up the school. Now over 20 children with learning disabilities have benefited, as these two examples show:
Nimesh is 12 years old and has a learning disability. He has been attending the Hakmana school since last year. He was previously very nervous about getting involved in the classroom activities, but now likes to give out books for the teacher, and enjoys writing and drawing using a pencil. The teachers say that Nimesh’s attention span is much improved since starting at the school.
Shanika is 13 years old and she gets involved in all the classroom activities, including keeping the school tidy and colouring in. She is learning disabled and particularly likes dancing and flower arranging. Since she started at the Hakmana school Shanika has overcome her fear of standing up in front of a crowd.
Below you can see a class taking place in the temple (left) and some of the schoolchildren participating in a community event (right).
A well equipped physiotherapy unit helps speed up recovery for clients with a disability. We have paid for physiotherapy for 183 adults and children. We have also provided supportive seats for three clients and hearing aids for two children with hearing impairments.
Ashini’s life changed completely with this “magic” chair. She is now able to look up independently at the world around her. Now she’s a happy and fun loving ten year old that she deserves to be and her mother has been able to regain some of her own independence as well. It is a new life experience for the whole family.
Opportunities for play and physical exercise are essential for all children and particularly important for those with disabilities. We have made a contribution towards the cost of new playground equipment for the children attending the school at Navajeevana.
Navajeevana benefits from visitors who can buy products from the craft centre, take refreshments in the coffee shop and learn more about Navajeevana at the same time. We have provided improved signage and information for local hotels and guest houses to encourage more tourists to call in when they are visiting or passing through Tangalle.
Training is supported by a good learning environment so we have paid for sound proofing of the generator and provided a laptop for presentations. This has improved the facilities for users of the Training Centre. The laptop is also used for offsite training.
Improving the mobility of people with disabilities makes a really big difference to their quality of life and how much they can participate in all sorts of everyday activities. We have provided prosthetics and orthotics for 8 people with a range of disabilities including arm and leg amputation, post polio syndrome and children with gait and mobility problems.
Matheesha Lanka is 9 years old, and loves playing with his family and his friends. He has tightness in his Achilles tendons which makes it very difficult for him to walk as his feet are pulled up to tip-toes. With our support Navajeevana have provided Matheesha with Ankle Foot Orthoses which hold his feet in a better position and support his legs when he walks. This means it is much easier for him to join in games with the other children at school.
The devices have made a huge difference to Matheesha.
Good training facilities support the development of both staff and beneficiaries. Therefore we have equipped and furnished the new Training Centre. This has much improved the training facilities available for staff and beneficiaries. It has also enabled Navajeevana to generate income by hiring out the Centre to external organisations.