Educate 33 children with disabilities in Sri Lanka

by E.A.S.E. Foundation
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Educate 33 children with disabilities in Sri Lanka
Educate 33 children with disabilities in Sri Lanka
Educate 33 children with disabilities in Sri Lanka
Class during covid Masks or social distancing
Class during covid Masks or social distancing

GlobalGiving Report April 17, 2021

After almost six months of schools being closed, we opened on the 30th of March 2021

During the time we were closed we did manage to offer some financial aid to the neediest families thanks to GlobalGiving and other generous donors.

We opened after cleaning the school building following covid guidelines. The children and parents do hand washing and temperature checks before entering premises.  For the children who find it impossible to wear masks due to their challenges we practice social distancing. 

Our co-president problem solving with mom and sister of a student.

During the time our center was closed we sent work to the students who had android phones. A few of them actually did the work. Many of the parents commented that the kids don’t work with them the way they work with the teachers.  We have always taught parents strategies to help their kids do work with them even simple tasks – clearly, we have to redouble our efforts on this.  We are already planning on getting the child to work with his/her parent for a few minutes while in school. 

There are still restrictions on school trips and other such fun activities out in the community. Our 2019 trip to the beach is a distant dream now. We are trying to find some fun activity to do out of school.  We have all been cooped up in our homes far too long.

discussing student progress or issues with family
discussing student progress or issues with family
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Happy Harin shop pwner
Happy Harin shop pwner

Our proudest moment in 2020 was driving down to the grand opening of Student Harin’s shop.   He had come to E.A.S.E. as an extremely reluctant student.  According to his mother he was an isolated withdrawn figure at home with hardly a word to anyone.  Within a very short time with us he became an extrovert.  Coming to our classes was the highlight of his life.  He made friends in his neighbourhood and helped his mom with cooking. He occasionally visited an aunt who ran a small shop and began to help her too.  We began advising the family to establish a shop for him in their neighbourhood.  It took almost two years for this dream to be realized.  Hoping to help him become a shop keeper we added relevant skills to his school program.  We practiced conversations he might have with his customers.  We practiced “shopping” with the help of the other students and staff as customers. We concentrated on math skills too. Then on the 4th of September of 2020 the staff and I went to the grand opening of Harin’s shop.

Happy shop owner Harin

 

We were honored to be the first customers.

When schools reopen in the country Harin hopes to come back to his once-a-week class to hone his skills, although he is reluctant to leave his shop in an assistant’s hands.

Whenever we were allowed to reopen school, we did so following all guidelines to maintain a safe environment.  The students and staff came back to work joyfully. Although many of the students had regressed a little, we were able to catch up quickly. 

Chandima Rajapatirana

Co-Founder/co-president

E.A.S.E. Foundation

Dec 28th 2020

we were the first customers
we were the first customers
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2020 has been a difficult year world wide.   While Sri Lanka did relatively well with the virus this was because we went into a very strict lockdown.  All schools were closed from early March.  Following governemnt guidelines we opened only on the 10th of August.  The country is still functioning on a very careful level.  Since many of our parents are day workers or in such vulnerable employment they were in difficult times.  We were glad that with special permission etc.so our students parents could come to the center we helped many families with a small allowance.  When they came to collect their allowance they were also given work/activity sheets developed by the staff sso they could keep their children occupied maningfully during the lockdown days.  The staff also kept in touch with the parents via phone calls.  Now that schools have reopened we are back to work - our children are showing the results of months of inactivity but are all so very glad to come back to school.

23 year old Harin came to us about six years ago. At the time he was a socially withdrawn, mostly silent child who had to be virtually  dragged into the school by his parents.  He settled down very well we joke that he could run for a seat in the parliament since he has befriended his entire neighbourhood back home.  No one can go past his house without a chat with him.  We are glad to say that the family has followed our suggestion  and opened a little neighbourhood shop for him. The shop carries school supplies, groceries, cold drinks etc.  With cheerful, friendly, chatty Harin there I am sure it will prosper.  He is determined to continue his classes with us too leaving the shop in the care of his mom.  

I am attaching a short video of an interview I did because it gives a nice profile of our program. I hope that is ok.

 

https://we.tl/t-NfnqKiXQN8

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Our students painting
Our students painting

At E.A.S.E. Foundation our students have a dynamic educational program. We also show society that we can be meaningful participants of mainstream activities and not just bystanders,

Early this year we decided to join the countrywide trend of painting murals in public places. For practical reasons, we chose a wall at our center that bordered the street. Our very talented artist-teacher Nehari drew the beautiful picture and students and staff joined in painting. Imagine our joy when our camera captured a magpie visiting it even before it was completed.

Our school was closed since Sri Lanka went into a very strict lockdown in March.  Distance teaching is not possible since most of our families do not have the necessary devices, however, staff keep in touch with their students and families suggesting activities and problem-solving.  Predictably this lockdown is especially hard on our students and families who are in dire need of the support we give them. 

Everyone's a critic
Everyone's a critic
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At E.A.S.E. Foundation we take pride in educating the whole child and also including the family. Strong family bonds are essential for everyone but vital for children and adults with disabilities. We, therefore, include the entire family in our special events. Our recent beach trip is an example of this.

Fun is an important part of the human experience which is often left out of the lives of disabled children whose lives are often filled with challenges, therapies and life skills. Our beach trip addresses this too.

Nice weather finally arrived enabling us to go to the beach.  We left early in the morning since we knew the rain would arrive by 2.30 in the afternoon. Blue skies and sunshine helped lift our mood that had been somber for so many months since the terror attacks.  Within the bus, our staff, parents and some of our students sang.

 A wide sweep of golden sand fronted a turquoise sea.  A dome of blue sky nudged the sea at the horizon.   After devouring the great snacks, we had brought, we all streamed down to the beach. The parents and their kids frolicked in the water.

First steps 

Little Shanu, who has rigid limbs managed to stand supported on either side by her parents.  As the frilled waves lapped at her feet she giggled and actually took a couple of steps.  Her mother said, “If only her grandmother and aunt were here to see this their hearts would have burst with joy.”  Willing to say that was the most joyous result of our trip.  

Unique experiences

Twenty-nine-year-old Oshi was lucky we managed to get his wheelchair right down to the edge of the water.  We then had him sit in the midst of the gently lapping waves.  Occasionally a bigger bolder wave would wash over him delighting him into loud laughter.  That was the first experience for him. 

Our staff persuaded a few students and their parents to actually lie down on the sand and let the waves wash over their entire body.  This being the Indian Ocean, seven degrees above the equator, the water temperature was perfect.

Once the sun came up high around noon the sea got a little rough.  Time to leave the sea said the adults, predictably no one wanted to.  But we did finally get everyone out of the sea and into the outdoor showers.  This was a fun experience too for our students.  After changing into dry clothes everyone trooped into the dining room. 

As a bountiful buffet was spread on several tables we were spoiled for choice.  Most of us appreciated the variety of desserts available.   Then it was back on the bus to get back home. 

Since we bring the siblings of our students with us, we had a lively group.  It is a chance for the entire family to leave their daily cares behind and frolic in the sun. Busy lives leave little room for such freedom.  I hope the memory of this day will warm our hearts until the next trip.


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Organization Information

E.A.S.E. Foundation

Location: Battharamulla - Sri Lanka
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Anoja Rajapatirana
Battharamulla, Sri Lanka
$14,126 raised of $16,000 goal
 
231 donations
$1,874 to go
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