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.

Annual Report 2014-15

The Annual Report of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL)for the year 2014-15, presented by Dr. Mahesh de Silva, General Secretary, during its11th Annual General Meeting, held on Saturday 23rd May 2015,  at the Thistle Hotel, Bath Road, Longford, London, UB7 0EQ.

The Executive Committee 2015-16

Click here to view more AGM Photos

1. 10th Anniversary Celebrations
APSL celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style with a Symposium and Dinner Dance held at the Grange City Hotel, London on 21st June 2014. The proceeds from this event was allocated to supply medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital which is at the forefront in providing relief and treatment for those suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka. The event was well attended by the members, their families and well-wishers.

Symposium – Achievements – Sky is the Limit
The Symposium was addressed by the three eminent Sri Lankan professionals who have reached extraordinary heights in their careers. They were:
Prof. Terence Fernando, Prof. Shervanthi Hormer Vanniasinkam and Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe. In line with the theme of the Symposium the speakers gave highly inspirational accounts of how they were able to achieve such heights in their respective disciplines and the work they are currently engaged in their respective fields.

Dinner Dance
The Symposium was followed by a grand Dinner Dance to the music of the Sri Lankan band “Sky High”. The evening event began with the welcome address by APSL President Mr Mervyn Silva, keynote address by the then Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka, Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne and speech by the then High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis. Mr Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary) gave a presentation on the current status of this Chronic Kidney Disease,

A “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a Vice President of APSL) and a raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) helped raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner followed by the dance to the music by ‘Sky High’.

2. APSL Scholarship Scheme
The APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched on Saturday the 25th October, at the Grange City Hotel, London attended by APSL members, their families and well-wishers. Professor Terrence Fernando, Director, ThinkLab, Salford University initiated the scholarship scheme through the Joseph Alfred Fund which provided financial support to 5 needy children from Moratuwa area at the launch. Prof. Fernando hopes the scholarship scheme will offer others like him in the UK and elsewhere the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children to reach their full potential through education. Ten children currently receive monthly grants through the APSL Scholarship Scheme. The proceeds from this year’s Dinner dance is earmarked for the Scholarship Scheme.

3. Donation of Medical Equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital
During his last visit to Sri Lanka, APSL President, Mr. Mervyn Silva and Membership Secretary Mrs. Gayani Senaratne visited Anuradhapura Hospital on 25th August and 28th October 2014 respectively and met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake, his medical colleagues and nursing staff. The purpose of these visits were to hand over essential medical equipment worth over Rs. 400,000 bought with the funds raised during the 10th Anniversary Celebrations event. The visits also provided an opportunity to learn more about the scale of the problem as well as action being taken to treat those affected, as well as prevent the spread of CKD and explore how APSL may be of help in the future. Thanks to the donations from the APSL and other charities the vital medical equipment needed is now in place. APSL would like to thank all the members and friends who attended the 10th anniversary dinner dance and supported this very worthy cause.

4. Tsunami Remembrance Event
APSL was a member of the organising team of the Tsunami Remembrance Event organised by the Sri Lanka High Commission on 26th January 2015 and took part in the photographic exhibition displaying the Tsunami re-building work carried out by APSL in Sri Lanka. APSL was also given the opportunity to deliver a speech on behalf the charities involved in the organisation of the event.
5. Young Professionals Event
As part of the APSL initiative for promoting knowledge transfer, the Young Professionals event was held at the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on 20th March 2015. This event was well attended by a mix of professional Sri Lankans, representing a range of expertise and experience. Three successful young Sri Lankan professionals based in the UK, Dr. Rajika Perera, Ms. Kanchana Ambagahawita, Dr. Dilrini De Silva , delivered speeches, on interesting and diverse topics, discussing their journey to success and aspects of their current work. A lively panel discussion and a Q&A session followed the three talks where the audience and speakers engaged in a dialogue about various emerging issues around developing professional careers, improving education in Sri Lanka and addressing social issues linked to education in Sri Lanka. The event concluded with an informal networking session over refreshments.

6. Eastern Values
Latest ‘Living in the UK’ series event was held on 17th May 2015 at Thames Buddhist Vihara, London. APSL Members Mr. Rohan De Alwis, Ms. Shiranee Joseph De Saram and Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe led an insightful discussion and talk to children and parents about preserving Sri Lankan values whilst living and integrating in the UK.

7. Pensions Seminar
A Pensions seminar organised by APSL was held on Saturday the 25th October 2014 at the Grange City Hotel, London. It was conducted by representatives from Holborn Assets and The Sovereign Group. The seminar covered the changes to UK pension regulations and the opportunities this offered. The event was well attended by APSL members and many non-members.

8. FOC
Continuing its tradition for many years, APSL had a stall at the “Festival of Cricket” event held on 20th July 2014 in London. The stall was visited by a significant number of potential members and many of them joined the association. APSL will continue to take part in this event which is a great platform for the APSL to showcase its activities to the general public and to sign up new members to the association.

Other Activities

1. Newsletter
Two Newsletters were published to coincide with 10th Anniversary celebrations event on June 2014 and 11th AGM and Dinner Dance on May 2015.

2. Website
New look APSL website was launched to coincide with the 10th Anniversary Celebrations event. The new web site is designed to be responsive, i.e. smartphone and tablet friendly and has many new features such as online membership application, PayPal payments and member only area.

APSL would like to thank all the project leaders, their teams and all those who made presentations at above mentioned events for the tremendous work they have done to make the above events a very big success and also for maintaining the high standards created by the Association all these years.

Dr. Mahesh de Silva

General Secretary, APSL

Click here to view AGM Photo Album

Dinner Dance 2015

AGM

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) held its 11th Annual General Meeting on Saturday 23rdMay 2015 at the Thistle Hotel, Bath Road, Longford, London, UB7 0EQ. It was a well attended meeting by the members of the Association.

Click here to view the complete 11th AGM Dinner Dance Photo Album

Dr. Mahesh de Silva, the General Secretary, presented his annual report giving in detail the projects and activities carried out by the Association during the year 2014 to 2015.

The Treasurer Mr Thushara Madurasinghe presented the annual statement of Accounts for year 2014/2015emphasizingthe strong financial position of the association with a significant increase in donations to external charities and APSL charitable activities.

At the election of office bearers, the following members were elected for the year 2015/2016. After two years as President, Mr. Mervyn Silva stepped down in keeping with APSL tradition of rotating its office bearers to give new members the opportunity to play an active part within the Association. Mr. Leslie Dep was elected as the new President for the coming year.


Dinner Dance

President: Mr.Leslie Dep
Vice Presidents:Mr. Suraj Wijendra, Dr. Chesmal Siriwardhana
General Secretary:Dr. Mahesh de Silva
Membership Secretary:Mrs. Gayani Senaratne
Treasurer: Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe
Executive Committee Members:
Mr. Mohan Siriwardena
Dr. AthulaSumathipala
Mr. GihanthaJayasinghe
Mr. Derrick Brainerd
Mr. Leshan Uggalla
Ms. Buddhini Liyanage
Ms. Ruki Pinidiya
Dr. Asanga Fernando
Dr. Roger Srivasan
Co-opted Senior Members:
Mr. Mervyn Silva (Immediate Past President)
Mr. Rohan de Alwis
Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa
Dr. Andrew Nayagam
Dr. Marc Dissanayake
Prof. Sir SabaratnamArulkumaran
Dr. IndrajitCoomaraswamy (APSL Representative in Sri Lanka)

 

http://www.apsl.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/AGM_11_01.jpg


Dinner Dance
The AGM was followed by the grand Dinner Dance to the music of the most popular band in the UK – “Sky High”. The proceedings of the Dinner Dance are to be allocated for the APSL Scholarship Scheme.
The evening event began with the welcome address by the newly elected APSL President Mr Leslie Dep, who gave an account of the work carried out by APSL during the past year fulfilling the objectives of the association.
Maintaining the theme of the event, the master of ceremonies Mr. Thushara Madhurasinghe (Treasurer) interviewed Mr.Mervyn Silva (Immediate Past President) and Prof. Terrance Fernando (Who initiated the scholarship scheme with Joseph Alfred Fund) on the details of the APSL Scholarship Scheme.


Dinner Dance

The “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a former Vice President of APSL) was highly entertaining with the participation of everyone for raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. In addition, the raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) was also successful raising a record amount of funds.


Dinner Dance

The highlight of the evening event was the Bridal catwalk. Models wearing traditional Sri Lankan bridal attire and wedding cake displays entertained the guests and provided an extra dimension to the event.
The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner and special thanks go to “Sky High” for their beautiful lively music keeping everyone on toes until very late into the night.

APSL wishes to thank the following sponsors who supported our event by providing adverts for the souvenir or raffle draw prizes;
• Oman Air
• Pail Solicitors
• Pinidiya Solicitors
• Polpitiya Solicitors
• Mistoria Group
• Savina Leisure Ltd
• The Book People
• Mr. Patrick Ellis
• Mr. Fahmy Mohamed
• Dr. ThilakAbeywardhana
• Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka

We also wish to thank the following local media for publicising the event adverts and also for their continuous support given to APSL throughout the year 2014-2015.
• Newslanka
• Sesatha Web
• SL Events Web
• Serendib News
• Lanka Times Web
On behalf of APSL, it is with great pleasure we wish to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who attended both events
Finally many thanks to the event organising committee Ms. Ruki Pinidiya, Mr. Thushara Madhurasinghe, Mr. Rohan de Alwis, Dr. Andrew Nayagam, Dr. Mahesh de Silva and Mr. Leslie Dep for all the hard work carried out with the fullest corporation and support from all other members of the executive committee to make this event a very big success in achieving the main objective of the event.

Dr. Mahesh de Silva
General Secretary, APSL

Click here to view the complete 11th AGM Dinner Dance Photo Album

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

APSL Scholarship Scheme Launch

During the 10th anniversary celebrations held in June 2014, APSL announced its intention to establish a scholarship scheme to support bright but needy school children in Sri Lanka. Making that noble intention a reality the APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched on Saturday the 25th October, at the Grange City Hotel, London attended by APSL members, their families and well-wishers.

View scholarship-launch-photos

The proceedings started with the APSL president Mr Mervyn Silva welcoming the guests and giving an overview of the events leading up to the launch. The speaker of the day, was Professor Terrence Fernando, Director, THINKlab, Salford University who initiated the scholarship scheme.  He started his presentation by sharing his own life story with the audience. He referred to the influence others had on his formative years, such as his school experiences, teachers and friends. In explaining his own motivation to study, he described the impact he had in growing up in a family of seven children, the support and encouragement he received from his family, especially from his father. Together with what he described as ‘luck’, he has been able to reach his full potential and pursue a very successful career.

Prof. Fernando’s aim is to establish a vehicle for providing scholarships to gifted children from low income families in Sri Lanka.  It is based on his childhood experience in growing up in a low income family with friends from similar backgrounds.  The saying ‘Much is expected to whom much is given’ is what is motivating him to give something back to his home country of Sri Lanka, in the form of the scholarships. .

He believes that there are many Sri Lankans who have gone through a similar experience like himself and understands the need for supporting children who have the potential to become future leaders and contribute to the society with their knowledge and skills.  He would like to see it being developed into a sustainable scheme so that it can continue to grow over time by attracting funds from like-minded individuals. He hopes the scholarship scheme will offer others like him in the UK and elsewhere the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children to reach their full potential through education.

APSLs vision is a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, where Sri Lankans from across the world who have realised their true potential, help the future generations in turn help others to realise full potential.  Prof. Fernando identified with this vision and felt as a UK registered Charity with considerable experience and expertise in delivering relief and development aid, APSL was the right partner to work with in realising his vision. He remarked that this was the start of the journey and concluded by presenting APSL president with a cheque for £1000 as the initial sum to get the scheme started.

Five children had been selected with help from Prof. Fernando’s sister-in-law for the award of scholarships at the launch. The five children, two boys and three girls, and their families who were presented with a letter of confirmation of the support they will receive. They joined the proceedings from Sri Lanka over a Skype link and a very fruitful interaction between them and the audience took place.

On closure of the Skype call, scholarship committee member Ms. Buddhini Liyanage presented how the scheme would work in practice, monthly and yearly grant amounts and how individuals could support the scheme. To support her presentation a flyer was circulated among the audience, giving a basic introduction to the scheme.

Mervyn Silva then opened the floor to discussion and questions, and some very useful comments were made, with some promising avenues for sponsorship and a pledge to fund a child from one of the attendees.

The meeting ended with an air of excitement at the potential for creating wonderful opportunities by this scheme. APSL immediate past president Mr. Rohan de Alwis gave the vote of thanks.

A special thanks to the members of the scholarship committee: Mr. Mohan Siriwardena, Ms. Buddhini Liyanage, Mr. Thushara Madurasighe, Mr. Suraj Wijendra, Mr. Leslie Dep and Mr. Rohan de Alwis and General Secretary Dr. Mahesh de Silva for all their hard work leading up to the launch.

The second half of the event was a seminar on changes to UK pension regulations and the opportunities this offered.  This delivered by Helen Morris, Senior Financial Advisor, Holborn Assets – the sponsor of the day,  and Laurence Lancaster, Group Tax Counsel,  The Sovereign Group. Among other things it covered topics such as:

  • What budget changes are in April 2015 & how they can affect UK schemes
  • What are HMRC Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme
  • How pension Benefits are paid tax free
  • How 100% of the pension asset passed to your beneficiaries
  • Protection from further changes to UK pension legislation
  • IHT Liabilities

Those present raised many pertinent questions, at the end of the presentations, Mr Gihantha Jayasinghe thanked the speakers on behalf of the APSL.

Report by: Mervyn Silva, 12 November 2014

APSL 10th Anniversary Celebrations Report

APSL celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style with a Symposium followed by a Dinner Dance held at the Grange City Hotel, Tower Hill, London on 21st June 2014.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary in the United Kingdom for a Sri Lankan Association is a very significant event and therefore this year the APSL executive committee decided to allocate all the proceedings from this event to a selected project for alleviating the Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka.

Both events were well attended by the members, their families and well wishers.

The occasion was graced by the presence of Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs in Sri Lanka (a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and a past Patron of APSL) and His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis, the current High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and the current Patron of the association.

Symposium – Achievements Sky is the Limit

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Mr Mervyn Silva (President, APSL) welcomed the attendees and moderated the Symposium with Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary, APSL).

The Symposium  was addressed by the following three eminent Sri Lankan professionals who have reached extraordinary heights in their careers.

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Professor Terrance Fernando – Director of THINK lab at the University of Salford
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Professor Mrs. Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam – Consultant Vascular Surgeon, The General Infirmary, Leeds, Honorary Professor, Division of Surgery and International Services, University of London

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Professor Chnadra Wickramasinghe – An internationally renowned Astronomer and Honorary Professor and Director of the Buckingham centre of Astrology at the University of Buckingham.

In line with the theme of the Symposium the speakers gave highly inspirational accounts of how they were able to achieve such heights in their respective disciplines and the work they are currently engaged in their respective fields.

The interactive Q&A session at the end of the presentations gave the audience an opportunity to ask several questions in relation to their speeches.

During the Symposium the following APSL project Leaders also gave presentations on their respective projects outlining the work done so far and what is planned in the future.

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Mr. Rohan de Alwis (Immediate Past President) – “We Sri Lanka” . This project focuses on the reconciliation between the Sri Lankan communities living in the UK and Mr. De Alwis gave an account of the many events carried out under this project since the commencement of the project in 2010.

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Professor I M Dharmadasa (Past President) – “APSL Awards Scheme”. Professor Dharmadasa explained the two APSL Awards Scheme projects carried out in Sri Lanka by APSL to date; The essay competition on ‘How to develop Sri Lanka’ for school children and the competition for  proposals on the theme ‘converting green energy ideas into green products’.

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Mr Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer APSL) – “Eastern Values – Living in the UK”. Mr. Madurasinghe outlined the objectives of this project, where speeches targeted to second or third generation Sri Lankan children on how to lead a successful life in the UK while preserving the Sri Lankan culture and its values. He also gave a brief account of the events held to date mainly at the Birmingham Jethawana Buddhist Vihara.

Dinner Dance

The Symposium was followed by the highlight of the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, the grand Dinner Dance to the music of the most popular band in the UK – “Sky High”.

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The evening event began with the welcome address by APSL President Mr Mervyn Silva, who gave an account of the work carried out by APSL during the past ten years fulfilling the objectives of the association.

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Mr. Mervyn Silva’s speech was followed by the keynote address by Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne. During her speech she thanked the APSL for inviting her for this important occasion and praised the work done by APSL over the past ten years for the benefit of the Sri Lankan community in the UK and also in Sri Lanka. She also mentioned APSL is unique in comparison to other organisations due to the diversity of the membership and the demonstration and maintenance of very high standard of professionalism in all its activities. She also gave an account of the development work undertaken by the current Sri Lankan government under the leadership of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka and requested APSL to join hands with the government’s development programmes in whatever way taking the country forward to the next decade as a developed country.

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His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis also addressed the gathering with his inimitable style and he also praised the good work done by the APSL for the benefit of the Sri Lankans here in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. Furthermore he expressed his continuous support to the association.

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Maintaining the theme of the event on supporting a project to alleviate the Chronic Disease in Sri Lanka, Mr Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary) gave a presentation on the current status of this disease, the projects which can help prevent this disease spreading further by providing purified water in the affected regions and how to support the people suffering from CKD and their families. CKD is a killer disease rapidly spreading among the farming communities in the districts of Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya and Vavuniya and requires immediate and effective assistance from everyone to completely eradicate this problem.

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A novel idea of a “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a Vice President of APSL) was highly entertaining with the participation of everyone for raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. In addition, the raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) was also successful raising  a record amount of funds.

The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner and special thanks go to “Sky High” for their beautiful lively music keeping everyone on toes until very late into the night.

  • APSL wishes to thank the following sponsors who supported our event by      providing adverts for the souvenir or raffle draw prices; Trico Freight, UK
  • Glen carriers, UK
  • Nandy and Co Solicitors, UK
  • Magna Arts, UK
  • Lewke Printers, UK
  • The Royal Calibre Group of Companies of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom
  • John Keels Residential Projects (Private Ltd), Sri Lanka
  • Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka
  • Inforgrid Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka

We also wish to thank the following local media for publicising the event adverts.

  • Newslanka
  • Sesatha Web
  • SL Events Web
  • Serendib News
  • Lanka Times Web

With great pleasure we wish to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who attended both events and especially to Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne who came all the way from Sri Lanka accepting our invitation to attend this event showing her admiration and  appreciation to APSL.  We also wish to offer our thanks to His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis for attending both events and for supporting APSL events over the years.

Finally many thanks to the 10th Anniversary organising committee lead by Dr Andrew Nayagam (Past President) ,Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary) and Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer) for all the hard work carried out with the fullest corporation and support form all other members of the executive committee to make this event a very big success in achieving the main objective of the event.

Article prepared by Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary)

View Sysposium photos

View Dinner Dance photos