Sri Lanka is forever grateful to the thousands of soldiers who sacrificed their lives and those who became disabled, in safeguarding the country from the brutal LTTE terrorists during its three decade long civil conflict.
Thousands of families were left shattered forever whilst our brave disabled soldiers are still carrying the scars of terrorism. Their contribution to protect us, cannot be explained in words. Their sacrifice to ensure our safety will always be appreciated and this nation is forever grateful to them.
During the war, there were thousands of soldiers, and LTTE cadres who lost their limbs and today 10 years on, these soliders and ex cadres still remain without any donations. Sri Lanka is a country where getting an artificial limb is extremely expensive for the common man and for many it is just a dream. Astonishingly apart, from these soldiers and ex cadres, on average there are seven people who lose their limbs on a daily basis in this country either due to health reasons or due to accidents. This is a very high figure considering Sri Lanka is a country with a 21 million population.
Further, according to experts, most of these victims who lost their limbs are those from low income families. Therefore, hopes of them travelling overseas for treatment in order to get an artificial limb is nil. One can imagine how their lives change for the worse, especially if the victim is the main breadwinner of the family.
Keeping this in mind and in order to assist the thousands of soliders, ex cadres and those who lose their limbs due to accidents and health reasons, I initiated the #MeforYou movement, which I am part of, to join hands with the Sahodarathwaye Piyasatahan Foundation to launch ‘Jeevaya’ which will donate 1000 limbs to the most needy patients on a yearly basis in order to make a change in the lives of many.
The founder of the Sahodarathwaye Piyasatahan Foundation is a person who himself has the patent to manufacture limbs in Sri Lanka. By profession he is an engineer and an upcoming entrepreneur. The Foundation also has its own hospital in Kalutara where they train the beneficiary of the limb to walk again as well as cycle and run, all free of charge, so that the beneficiary can return back to a normal livelihood.
Following the launch of Jeevaya, a joint committe of experts has been appointed where all the requests for artificial limbs from across Sri Lanka will be evaluated in order to hand over the artificial limbs to 1000 people.
Jeevaya is also open to donations, where donors can sponsor limbs to people and we request all those intrested to come forward so that a higer number of deserving people can benefit immensely.
Jeevaya has already begun work, where we donated 25 limbs last month, on Poya Day to deserving applicants. This month, on Poya Day, Jeevaya donated seven limbs. The donations were done at Carlton House in Tangalle by Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mrs. Shiranthi Rajapaksa and myself. Jeevaya will donate a few limbs every Poya Day, so that we can genuinely help these beneficiaries to lead a normal life.
Those who are disabled need our assistance and Jeevaya will do everything possible to make a difference in the lives of these people.