W.P. Kamalawathie – Mother – Kamburupitiya Workshop
I can see a vast improvement in my child after she joined the Sunera workshop. She used to like being alone and did not like to socialise with anyone. That gradually changed. She is a very friendly child today. Through the activities of the workshop, my daughter’s ability to sing was developed. Because of this she was able to represent Sunera Foundation in a Buddhist singing programme organized by the Divisional Secretariat on Vesak day. She went on to win a singing competition organized by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs for disabled children in the regional and all island levels. This is a great achievement and has all to do with the dedication of the Sunera trainers to encourage and develop.
Prasanna Kumara – Kekirawa Workshop
I am 24 years old. I studied in school only up to grade 11. When I joined the Sunera workshop I had to be accompanied by my parents as I could not go anywhere alone.
Sunera’s Performance Shines at North Central Province Arts Festival
Their disability did not prevent them from getting on a public stage to compete at an art festival with the non-disabled. They emerged victorious, bringing a rare honour to themselves and to Sunera Foundation.
Amila Jayasinghe is a school dropout due to the teasing he endured for being disabled and had started to think of himself as a social outcast when he joined us. 8 years after. he has now developed to the extent of being employed at a Garment Factory as a helper.
Twenty eight year old Dimuthu Manjula, living at Belmont Estate in Kulandawa, is slow learner. His life took a new turn after he attended the first Sunera workshop in Akuressa.
Indika Bandara Adikari & Nimmi Tennakone
Indika is speech and hearing impaired. He became a member of the Kurunegala workshop in 2004. Indika is married to Nimmi Tennakone, who is also hearing and speech impaired. She joined Sunera in 2007 as a participant.
Chathura joined the Sunera workshop in Kurunegala in 2005, as a member. Much like Indika and Nimmi, he progressed up the ladder from assistant to trainer.
Lahiru joined the Kurunegala workshop in 2005 as a member. He progressed to being assistant trainer from which position he rose to being a trainer. He now works at the Anamaduwa and Kurunagala workshops. A talented actor and dancer, Lahiru has directed plays which were featured in Samanalayaya drama festivals. In 2012 his production for the Anamaduwa workshop was selected for the finals.
Dishani is a shy 25 year old girl who is speech and hearing impaired.
People loved my acting at the Festival. I felt thrilled when I saw it. I couldn’t hear it, but I could see them laughing and applauding. I have never been so happy in my life
Dishani Damayanthi – Anamaduwa Workshop, Puttalam District
Lahiru De Silva
Lahiru is a Downs Syndrome participant who was affected by speech impairment and mental retardation, who normally preferred not to talk at all or even make a sound.
His speech is clear and coherent now, Lahiru now shows improvement not only in his communication abilities, but also in the way he behaves in public.
Father of Lahiru De Silva – Dehiwala Workshop, Colombo District
Herath Menike is a Visually impared student who was depressed and withdrawn at the time she joined the workshop.
Now I’m at peace with myself. I don’t worry about my vision and mostly I’m happy during the day. I don’t cry anymore.
Herath Menike – Palugaswewa Workshop, Anuradhapura District
Michel Imesha experienced speech difficulties and lethargy as side effects of Downs Syndrome and she was afraid of heights! She now climbs stairs without any fear, has begun to engage in other activities, expresses herself better, she plays, sings and tries to be independent.
She is quite happy to stay by herself at the workshop without having me around, something which she was reluctant to do before.
Aunt (Caretaker) of Michel Imesha, – Dharga Town Workshop, Kalutara District
Negombo workshop member, Sumudu Jayampathi, shares her views on her life changing experience, which was brought about by Sunera.
Gayan Ajith Kumara
As a member of the Horagolla workshop from its inception, Gayan Ajith Kumara’s story is testimony to how individuals like him can break barriers of impairment and move on in life.
Sylvester, as he is known to all of us, hails from Hatton, which is located in the up-country tea plantations region. When he was a small boy, his father had abandoned his mother, who had to work on the tea estates to support her son and herself.
Dinuka Madhushan – Kuliyapitiya Workshop
Dinuka first came to the workshop being carried by his mother. Throughout the workshop he refused to leave his mother’s side and did not participate in the activities. He used to cry a lot. Through the next few workshops, the trainers identified his liking for music and started giving him musical instruments to work with. This made him comfortable and also helped to form a relationship with the trainers. Initially he would sit in the circle only with the trainer but slowly began participating in the activities. He found it difficult to stand on his own but was persistent in trying. Now he has come out of his shell and participates actively in all the routines. He has progressed very well. Dinuka does not cry anymore, he is happy and smiling all the time.
Hasidu Malshan – Kobeigane Workshop
I started coming to the workshop from the day it started. I love the workshop very much and can’t wait for Thursdays to come each week! At the workshop I am able to sing, draw, take part in dramas and enjoy time with my friends. Our trainers love us very much.
Words from the Parents
After joining the workshop my child has become very active. He loves to act and enjoys the activities of the workshop very much.
Words from the Trainers
Our participants have progressed very well. They have developed not only physically and mentally but also in other areas such and singing and dancing. The parents have stated their immense satisfaction with the workshop and the progress of their children. The positive change that they see in their children has made them spread the word about the workshop within their village. The Divisional Secretariat is very supportive of our work, and has stated that it is the first time that such work has been carried out in Kamburupitya.
Menaka Priyadharshana – Trainer – Kamburupitiya Workshop
Sunera is fulfilling a great need in society. The participants feel accepted and loved by the trainers. There is love, friendship and caring in the workshop, which makes it a very conducive environment for the participants to grow and develop. Using the performing arts, the trainers not only develop the participants creatively, but they also help to develop their minds, which improve their quality of life.
Sagarika Wimalaratne – Dance Teacher – Riyenci Alagiyawatta School for Special Needs –Anuradhapura
Indika Bandara – Senior Trainer
Indika started at our Kurunegala workshop with hearing and speech impairment. He developed and progressed over a period of time and his creative skills began to shine. Today, he is one of our Senior Trainers at the Foundation and conducts many workshops.
I work with kids at the Sunera Workshops with a lot of joy. All the disabled children are the same to me, there are no racial, religious or language barriers. Every activity that is done whether it is drama, art, dance or song, it is to develop the participant. I am dedicated to the workshop and I look forward to a long journey with Sunera!