Words from Workshop Participants
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.
J.P Chamodh Shalika – Galle Workshop
I love coming for the workshop. I have many friends. The trainers teach us how to dance, draw, sing, read and exercise. I will always come to the Sunera workshop.
J.P Chamodh Shalika
Priyantha Sisira Kumara – Anuradhapura Workshop.
The day I enjoy the most in the week is Thursday. That’s because it is the day I can be happy.
The trainers are so kind and helpful. We went to Jaffna and did a drama with the Jaffna workshop participants. I made new friends there. The Sunera workshop is a new experience for me.
Priyantha Sisira Kumara
The workshop is progressing very well. This is a new experience for me to see a workshop of such a nature. The children are happy at the workshop and enjoy the activities. The trainers are well trained and handle the children very well. We value this workshop.
Sr. Nilasa – Ozanam Centre (Batticaloa Workshop)
I value the workshop conducted by Sunera to enable the disabled community to develop and progress within our community. The work they do to integrate disabled children into mainline activity and bring about personal develop so that they will not be a burden on their parents and society is a commendable job as it is not easy. We are indeed grateful to all at Sunera for what they do.
Ranjith Thalakotuwa – Government Official – Homagama (Homagama Workshop)