Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus discusses the need of converting the “Ayati” center established for children with special needs into an approved charity institute.

  • Proposals to appoint a Speech and Language Therapist or Speech Pathologist for each educational zone in the country

The need of converting the “Ayati” Child Care Center, the first national center in Sri Lanka for clinical treatment of children with special needs, into an approved charity institute was discussed at the women parliamentarians’ Caucus.

The above matters were discussed when the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus met in Parliament recently (07) under the chairmanship of, MP.Hon.(Dr) Sudarshani Fernandopulle.

Clinical services for children with special needs are provided for various disabilities from this center built on the premises of the medical faculty of the University of Kelaniya in Ragama. A wide range of services including speech and language therapy, hearing therapy, physical therapy, family therapy, and occupational therapy are conducted, including basic examinations for all physical and mental disorders in the said center.

It was emphasized in the committee that the “Ayati” center operates as a public-private partnership and the clinics are conducted by highly qualified professional experts from the Department of Disability Studies of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya and the doctors and therapists of the Colombo North Teaching Hospital.

Also, this center provides free treatment for children with special needs in Sri Lanka and provides many services for disabilities that were not easily available to children in Sri Lanka. The officials also indicated that they expect to expand these services under the Ministry of Health as much as possible.

The president of the center and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, Senior Professor Nilanthi De Silva pointed out that it is necessary to apply for the recognition of the institute as an approved charity, but it has been restricted by the current Inland Revenue Act (2017), which has made it difficult to raise funds to run the center.

The professor also mentioned that it is very important to be recognized as an approved charity especially when receiving foreign donations.

The chair of the committee pointed out that converting the “Ayati” child care center into an approved charity is considered a national interest and will be taken in consultation with the relevant institutions and officials.

It was emphasized that since there are a large number of children with speech disorders among the school children in the country, it is an urgent need to appoint one speech and language therapist or speech pathologist for each educational zone.

Leader of the Opposition Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Members of Parliament Hon. Muditha Prishanthi, Hon. Manjula Dissanayake, Hon. Rajika Wickramasinghe and Hon. (Dr.) Harini Amarasuriya and Professor Samanmalee Sumanasena, Dr. Ashwini Fernando and Shiromi Masakorala from University of Kelaniya were present at this meeting.