APSL Flood Relief Project 2017

When several districts in Sri Lanka were affected by severe floods during the month of May 2017, APSL responded in numerous ways. Firstly, APSL responded to an appeal from the Sri Lankan High Commission and donated 5 packs of Tarpaulins (10 in each pack). These were collected by MAS shipping and was delivered to Sri Lankan Airline warehouse for air freighting to Colombo, to be received by the Ministry of Disaster Management in Sri Lanka.

Secondly, APSL responded to an appeal from the Education Director of Ratnapura District, to help the school children affected by the floods.   APSL in collaboration with London Buddhist Vihara successfully completed a joint flood relief programme to help children affected within the district.

  

Accordingly, 200 school packs were distributed to the children at Rathnodaya Maha Vidyalaya, Hangamuwa, Nivitigala in Ratnapura district on 06th August 2017. Teachers and parents of the children participated in this event. We highly appreciate the effort of our APSL Membership Secretary Mrs Gayani Senarathe, for coordinating and liaising with the Education Department authorities in the Ratnapura district for the successful completion of this joint programme.

We wish to thank and offer our sincere gratitude to Venerable B. Seelawimala, Head Monk of London Buddhist Vihara, the management committee, and the supporters of the London Buddhist Vihara for collaborating with APSL to implement this programme.

All these were made possible, because of the generosity and dedication of our APSL members and well-wishers, who responded to the APSL’s flood relief appeal. APSL extend its sincere gratitude to all our APSL members and well-wishers for their support.

This is not the first time that APSL has responded to disasters in Sri Lanka. APSL has been actively responding to natural and human induced disasters in Sri Lanka since its inception in 2004. By considering the increasing number and the frequency of disasters in Sri Lanka, APSL Executive Committee has now decided to explore ways in which such relief efforts can be made even more efficient and effective. APSL invites members to convey their suggestions and please convey your suggestions to APSL Membership Secretary Mrs Gayani Senaratne via e mail membershipsecretary@apsl.org.uk .

 

  

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13th Annual APSL UK Fund Raising Dinner Dance – 23rd September 2017 – Grange Tower Bridge Hotel – London

It is with great pleasure that we would like to inform that APSL will be hosting its 13th annual fund-raising dinner dance this year at the Grange Tower Bridge hotel in London on 23rd September 2017. The aim of this year’s fund-raising event is to provide much needed medicines and other support to Cancer Patients in Sri Lanka by establishing APSL Cancer Relief Fund in Sri Lanka . Patients with cancer and their families face both emotional and financial challenges, therefore we wish to donate all proceeds from this event to the needy patients currently undergoing treatments in Sri Lanka.

Every year this annual event is dedicated to fund a worthy cause/project in Sri Lanka and last year we raised funds to build a Solar Village Project in Sri Lanka, which was successfully completed at Nochchiya village in Kurunegala district and handed over to the village development committee in January 2017.

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Success story of APSL Solar Village Concept, Sri Lanka.

APSL Solar Village concept developed by APSL past President Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa focuses on the rural communities who are off the national grid or cannot afford commercially available alternatives, and trapped in poverty due to various reasons. In such a typical community, lighting comes from kerosene lamps and cooking is done with firewood. The project was developed so that rural communities will learn to help themselves in meeting their energy needs.

he design of the project ensures that credible leaders in the community (led by the educationists) will create the Centres for Application of Renewable Energy Sources (CARES), which will enable target householders to gain access to energy services at an affordable price. The project also aims to begin with a small number of households and to grow the number with their own contributions. A CARES scholarship programme for village children will be established from the growing revolving fund to support the development of people in the area. In addition, various development projects and activities to improve the environment depending on the geography, climate and the livelihood of people will be introduced. More information…

Video Link…

Nochchiya Solar Village in Sri Lanka, Funded by UK registered Charities

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Nochchiya Solar village – APSL UK & HELA SARANA

The first stage of a large solar village project at Nochchiya village-cluster ”Nochchiya Solar village” situated in the Kurunegala district, Sri Lanka, was established in January 2017, with the installation of two solar power systems, each funded by UK registered charities – The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) and Hela Sarana.

The Hela Sarana funded system was dedicated in memory of Mr Raja Meehitiya, the founder President of Hela Sarana who passed away in June 2015.

Following the opening of the first pilot solar village in 2008 at Kaduruwewa in the Kurunegala district, this will be the second large village cluster to replicate the solar village model in Sri Lanka.

Solar village project concept was designed and developed by Professor I M Dharmadasa of Sheffield Hallam University, UK, in the late 1990s, during a Higher EducationLink programme, to empower rural communities using clean energy technologies for sustainable development and poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation programmes in any community should have two main features; wealth creation method and follow-up methods for job creation within the community.

The first stage in Nochchiya village will be provided by water pumping in the dry-zone using clean and freely available solar energy. Modifying the project features according to the requirements of the community, this new project at Nochchiya creates much-needed revenue to cover water pumping expenses within the village cluster.

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Two solar roofs of 3 kW each were installed in the village with the funding provided by the above two charities. The cost of each system was Rs 830,000 (£4.500), and the total cost was Rs 1.66 million (£9,000). The power produced from 6 kW solar roofs will be fed into the national grid, and the income generated will be used to cover the cost of two water pumping stations operated using grid electricity. These funds will be managed in a totally transparent way by the Village Development Committee with the guidance from project initiators. The project team will monitor the performance of the solar roofs over time and publish the data for the benefit of Sri Lankan solar initiative.

This project also complements the Sri Lankan Government recently initiated “ONE Million” solar roof programme to produce clean energy by reducing the ‘important and burn’ of coal and diesel in Sri Lanka.

The water pumped and purified is mainly used for drinking by the 1200 strong population this village, thereby reducing the risk of kidney and other water-borne diseases within the community. In addition, the surplus purified water is made available to seven other surrounding villages to purchase at a nominal cost. The project team within the APSL-UK is guiding the community to achieve rapid economic development by applying solar village concepts.

This project also fulfils 13 out of 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) established by the United Nations.  It is also highly relevant to Sri Lanka, supporting the promotion of the recently launched “Soorya Bala Sangramaya” (Battle for Solar Energy) programme, and helping to provide clean drinking water to the people in the region.

This project can be a useful model for other developing countries closer to the equator, as a vehicle to support sustainable development, harnessing the power of the sun to overcome the detrimental effects of global warming.

Prepared by:

I M Dharmadasa (Past President of APSL-UK and Solar Village Project Leader on behalf of the Project Team)

Leslie Dep (President of APSL-UK, on behalf of APSL-UK)

Jayantha Silva (President of Hela Sarana, on behalf of Hela Sarana – UK)

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VideoLink ….

APSL Scholarship Scheme – Second Anniversary Celebrations in Manchester

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) celebrated the 2nd Anniversary of their Scholarship Scheme with a dinner dance at the Persian Suite, Royal Nawaab, Manchester, on Saturday 26 November 2016.

The event was well attended by the sponsors of the children, many members of the APSL and their friends and well-wishers.

The main purpose of the event was to thank the sponsors and express APSL’s gratitude for their support given to academically gifted children from poor families in Sri Lanka to continue their studies.

The APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched in November 2014 based on a proposal made by Professor Terrance Fernando, Director of THINKLAB, University of Salford, UK (an executive committee member of APSL) to support the education of a group of children in the Moratuwa area of Sri Lanka.

The scheme now provides scholarships to Thirty (30) children in several districts in Sri Lanka. Under the APSL Scholarship Scheme, the recipient children receive an initial bursary of Rs 5000 and thereafter Rs 3000 per month until they complete their G.C.E. (Advanced Level) examination. APSL regularly monitor the academic performance of the children.

Mr Leslie Dep, President of APSL welcomed the sponsors and the other attendees and provided a brief overview of APSL and its projects. He commended Professor Terrance Fernando, Mr Mervyn Silva and the APSL education committee for the progress the Scholarship Scheme has made during the past two years.

Professor Terrance Fernando in his speech, explained in detail the background and the reasons for initiating the APSL Scholarship Scheme. He said he felt the need to support the bright children from poor families in his hometown of Moratuwa by giving them a reasonable sum of money as a monthly grant, and with the support of the APSL as the facilitator he is very happy with the progress of the scheme.

Mr Mervyn Silva, Immediate Past President of APSL and the Project Leader of the APSL Scholarship Scheme, presented a detailed account of the progress made so far and the way forward for this project. During his presentation, several video clips of the recipient children were shown   highlighting the positive effect that the scholarship scheme is having on the lives of these children. Mr Silva thanked all the sponsors and donors, and the APSL executive committee for supporting the scholarship scheme.

During the Q & A session, the audience had the opportunity to raise questions and clarify any matters related to the scheme.

Mr Ranjan Perera, a former General Secretary of APSL, conducted the Dutch Auction which raised a sizable amount of funds for the scholarship scheme. A raffle draw was also held during the event giving away several attractive prizes which, further contributed to raising much needed funds for the scholarship scheme. Also, a photo calendar of Sri Lanka was launched to raise funds for the scheme. You could find out more about the calendar and order your copies from: www.apsl.org.uk/calendar-2017

The guests were treated to a very delicious buffet style dinner and the music was provided by the Sri Lankan Music Band Rhythm Brothers who kept the audience entertained with Sri Lankan Songs and Baila for everyone to enjoy a night of celebration and fundraising for a cause well worthy of supporting.

APSL Executive Committee member Dr Dilirini De Silva did an excellent job in compeering the proceedings of the event.

Finally, Dr Mohan Siriwardena the General Secretary of APSL proposing the vote of thanks, expressed APSL’s appreciation to everyone who supported for the success of the event.

He thanked the co-sponsors of the event who were as follows;

  1. Havelock City Apartments, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  2. Property Tectonics, Manchester
  3. Mirrorworld Technologies Limited, UK.

He extended his sincere appreciation to everyone who attended the event including sponsors of the scholarship scheme, the donors of the Raffle Prizes, Mr Ranjan Perera for conducting the Dutch Auction, Rhythm Brothers for providing the music, and Royal Nawaab, Manchester for the venue.

He also thanked Newslanka and Sesatha Web for providing publicity for this event, and to the APSL executive committee and members for their contributions to make the event a success.

Please visit www.apsl.org.uk for more details about APSL and its projects.

For further details on the APSL Scholarship Scheme, e mail scholarships@apsl.org.uk

If you wish to join APSL and support its projects, please e mail membershipsecretary@apsl.org.uk

Click here to view photos.

APSL 12th Anniversary Fundraising Dinner Dance

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The Sri Lankan professionals fundraising Dinner Dance event to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL UK) was held on 16th July at the Hilton Hotel, Watford, with the presence of a large gathering of members, their families and well wishers of the Association.

This year the event was dedicated to raise funds for the APSL solar village projects in Sri Lanka.

The event began with the welcome address given by the President of the Association Mr Leslie Dep.

In his address, he outlined the work carried out by the Association during the last twelve years as a reputable and credible professional organisation, and also as a registered charity in the United Kingdom.

He refereed to the various “Ask the Expert Series” talks, research symposiums and other knowledge sharing events conducted by the Association for the benefit of the members and the general public.

He mentioned that since APSL became a charity several years ago, the Annual Dinner Dance Event was dedicated to raise funds for worthy humanitarian causes in Sri Lanka.

The funds raised from the event in 2014 were utilised to purchase much needed medical equipment to the renal unit at the Anuradhapura Hospital in Sri Lanka for the benefit of the patients, and from the proceedings of last year’s (2015) Dinner Dance, 10 children were enrolled into the APSL Scholarship Scheme from Chillaw and Puttalum Districts.

He appealed to the gathering to support generously towards the proposed Solar Village programme, which was the theme of the event this year.

Regarding supporting charitable causes in Sri Lanka, he mentioned that APSL has donated school packs (a school bag, a drinks bottle, exercise books, pens, pencils, pencil case and an instrument box) to 83 children affected by the devastating landslides in the Kegalle District recently.

He also mentioned that the Association now has more than 500 members, and proudly announced that Executive Committee member and APSL representative in Sri Lanka, Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy was appointed recently as the Governor of the Central Bank, Sri Lanka. He wished him the very best and all the success in his new position to steer Sri Lanka into economic prosperity and stability.

He ended his address by inviting the many young Sri Lankan professionals in the UK to join the APSL to develop their own professionalism and also to help the needy in Sri Lanka by getting involved in our various charitable projects.

President’s welcome address was followed by a video showing the story of young Vajira Lakshan, studying at Jayapala Vidyalaya, Molagoda, one of the beneficiaries of the APSL Scholarship Scheme from Kegalle district. In this video, he explained the hardships he and his family had to undergo prior to receiving the grant from APSL each month. His teachers also praised him for his good work in his studies. The scheme now sponsors 30 children, and APSL is planning to expand it in the future with more sponsorships from donors who wish to support education of gifted and needy children. Under the APSL Scholarship Scheme every child is given Rs 5000 in the first month and thereafter Rs 3000 per month.

To raise awareness of the replication of Solar Villages, which was the theme of the event , Prof I M Dharmadasa (Past President APSL) a global expert in solar energy research studies, delivered an excellent presentation on the concept of Solar Villages by citing a pilot project completed in the Kurunegala District. He also explained in detail the benefits of such projects, where the people living in these villages are empowered to be self-sufficient   and be prosperous in the future.

He also pointed out the positive effect on the environment when using solar power by referring to the pilot project where the use of diesel pumps to pump water form a well to distribute water to the village were changed to pumps powered by solar power, Prof Dharmadasa also highlighted that in addition to the environmental benefits, the villagers are now saving a large sum of money spent on diesel, which they now use for their other requirements of the village.

It was a highly informative and thought provoking presentation, and was appreciated by everyone in the audience.

A Dutch auction conducted by Dr Andrew Nayagam (Past President APSL) raised much needed funds for the solar village projects in addition to the money raised by the raffle organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne, APSL Membership Secretary.

We wish to thank the following organisations/members for providing the raffle prizes.

Air Travel voucher-Duke Court Travel

One night stay at Hilton Watford for 2- Hilton Watford

Cargo Voucher- from Trico

Designer Duvet Cover set-Gayani Senaratne

Moulton Brown Gift set-Thilak Abeyawardana

University  Of South Wales gift pack – Leshan Uggalla

John Lewis Voucher-Thushara Madurasinghe

Amazon Voucher- Paola Bethmage

John Lewis Voucher- Paola Bethmage

Music was provided by Exceed who were able to make everyone enjoy and dance until well past midnight.

The event was compered by Mr Thushara Madurasunghe (one of the Vice Presidents of APSL) and Miss Paula Bethmage an executive committee member of APSL. They did an excellent job on the night with the support from Dr Leshan Uggala (Ex Co member) in choreography.

The APSL bi-annual Newsletter “Professional” edited and published by Dr Chesmal Siriwardhana (the other Vice President of APSL) was distributed to the gathering. It provides a brief account of the work APSL is engaged in the United Kingdom and in Sri Lanka.

Mrs Gayani Senaratne delivered the vote of thanks. She thanked Newslanka, Sesatha, Serendib News and Ceylon UK, who always support our events by publishing the APSL event notices in their respective media. Finally she thanked all those who attended the event to support our work and to raise funds for the APSL Solar Village projects in Sri Lanka.

It was another very successful APSL event – thanks to all in the APSL Executive committee who worked so hard during the last three months to make this a very enjoyable and memorable event.

Click here to view the complete 12th AGM Dinner Dance Photo

Supply of medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital – Part 2

During her recent visit to Sri Lanka, Mrs Gayani Senaratne, APSL Membership Secretary, visited Anuradhapura hospital accompanied by her husband Mr Upali Herath, on 28th October. The purpose of the visit was to deliver the remaining medical equipment that was not available for delivery during Mr Silva’s visit.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Gayani and Upali met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake and his medical staff and presented them with the following items:

  • One infusion pump
  • One Syringe pump, and
  • Five digital blood pressure monitors.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

They spent about an hour being shown around the OPD (Out-patient Department) and wards and saw for themselves the multifunctional patient monitor donated by the APSL in use.

During their visit they also saw a young man from Nuwara Eliya who had been a soldier stationed in Jaffna for several years seriously ill with CKD. They also saw a number of local children  aged 15 -16 years who were affected by CKD, which now seems to be crossing the geographical and age boundaries.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Thanks to the donations from the APSL and other charities the vital medical equipment needed is now in place.   At the end of their visit Dr Rajeewa who was leaving for Medawachchiya to run his screening programme drew their attention to the next priority. Once discharged from hospital the patients need to attend the hospital twice a week to undergo monitoring and dialysis. While the government has promised to increase the monthly allowance given to patients from Rs 500 to  to Rs 2000 per month when this would come into effect remains unclear.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Therefore a monthly donation of Rs 5000 given directly to patients to help with the transport costs would ensure that they attend hospital without fail to continue to receive the vital treatment they need after being discharged.  Whilst the hospital is able to release patients’ details whilst in hospital, they are allowed to release them once they are discharged with the patients’ consent. So if you are able to support a CKD patient with Rs 5000 per month towards their transport costs, please get in touch with our General Secretary – Dr Mahesh de Silva and we will do the rest.  Finally, the CKD unit at Anuradhapura has launched a website to keep the donors updated of their ongoing needs.  You can access the site at:

Finally, I would like to thank everyone – members and friends who attended our 10th anniversary dinner dance and through their generosity supported this very worthy cause.

Report by:
Mervyn Silva,
APSL President,
10 November 2014

Read Report Part 1

Supply of medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital – Part 1

During his last visit to Sri Lanka, APSL President, Mr. Mervyn Silva, visited Anuradhapura Hospital on 25th August and met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake, his medical colleagues and nursing staff.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The purpose of this visit was to:

  • hand over a multifunctional patient monitoring machine bought with the funds raised during APSL 10th Anniversary event, which was gratefully received,
  • learn more about the work going on with increasing numbers of patients with kidney disease, and
  • find out how APSL may be of help in the future.

The hospital is faced with the serious situation of patients with kidney disease, presenting in ever increasing numbers. There are theories as to cause/s, but as yet no definite reasons have been found.It is possible that there are multifactual causes, rather than one main cause, making detection difficult. It appears that more females present in the early stages, and more males in the later stages of the disease.

A study has shown a 22% infection in Badulla, 18% in Polonnaruwa and 15% in Anuradhapura.

The epidemic appears to be more prevelant in low income families many with poor hygiene facilities and often social problems.  The average household income among the dialysis patients was found to be Rs14,700 per month. Patients who are diagnosed to have reached advanced stages of kidney disease receive an allowance of Rs.500 per month from the government.   The hospital has 4,000 registered patients and 4 satellite centres, staffed by junior doctors. The treatments carried out includes assessment in clinics, dialysis to clean the blood, and kidney transplants with follow up care. All treatment is free but the biggest cost to patients is in travelling to the hospital or clinics, which could be as much as half a households income.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The first floor at the CKD Unit  is the hemo-dialysis ward, the second floor has separate male and female inpatient wards, and the fourth floor  is the peritoneal dialysis ward ( through the stomach). The transplant unit can treat up to 1 patient every 2 weeks with kidneys coming mainly from family members, some from monks for altruistic reasons and some from deceased people.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

According to Dr Rajeewa, one of the main problems for the hospital is facing is the low staffing levels. At the time of the visit, there were 6 doctors doing the work of an ideal number of 18, and therefore having to work extremely long hours, often doing a weeks work within one day! Also nursing staff numbers are low, ideally more trained nursing staff are needed. In spite of these difficulties, to their credit, amazing work is continually carried out, with only one complaint in 3 years!!!

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Because of the large numbers of patients attending the clinic, often as high as 130 – 140 per session, a more effective management system is needed, where  information and possibly educational input is clearly and effectively displayed, so the whole assessment area can operate more efficiently and smoothly and increase the level of patient care that all staff are working so hard to achieve.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The mulit functional monitoring machine donated during this visit was purchased with the funds raised at the APSL’s 10th anniversary dinner dance.  They will enable the staff to monitor patients on the wards more accurately.

In addition to this monitoring machine, Dr Rajeewa and team have requested a syringe pump and an infusion pump to help them administer drugs more accurately to the transplant patients.  They also asked for five digital blood pressure monitors that would help them measure patients’ blood pressure faster and more accurately. Being more portable devices they would also come in handy during the outreach screening programmes.  Mr Silva promised to send these items through the next APSL representative to visit Sri Lanka.  [Arrangements were being made to supply these items using the remaining funds at the time of writing this report.] 

As with all hospitals, there is an ongoing battle with infection and much work needs to be done in trying to educate and change peoples attitudes towards standards of hygiene. However, during the visit, the hospital appeared very clean, all credit to the wonderfully hard working staff.

Mr. Silva thanked  Dr. Rajeewa and staff for their warm welcome, for giving up their valuable time to show them around the hospital and for the detailed level of information which was shared.

Report by:

Mervyn Silva,

APSL President,

10 Sept 2014

Read Report Part 2