Cataract is still the leading cause of blindness. thus they have to live with impaired vision or blindness Most of the people are not able to bear the cost of the surgery and find transport facilities.
Mutual Assistance Society is partnering with Karuna Trust in Sri Lanka to facilitate 100 cataract operations a year to unprivileged adults in Sri Lanka.
Karuna Trust is a charity functioning in Sri Lanka for the last 16 years, helping the underprivileged to make their lives success. In 2017 it was felicitated by the President as the best social worker in North Central Province.
Karuna Trust is doing 100 free cataract surgeries in every month for the poor patients from rural villages. The patients are brought to the clinic at Maharagama where it is equipped with all modern eye care equipment. The patients can undergo a full eye check-up including cataract. For the patients who need cataract surgery, the clinic gives them a date and for others who have other ailments, are directed to an eye hospital. On the date of surgery, patients are provided with lunch, dinner and medicine free of charge. Arrangements have been made with doctors in the particular areas for post operation checking. Many of the doctors do post operation checking free of charge.
MASS has completed 67 cataract operations from October 2019 February 2020. You also can sponsor a cataract surgeries by contributing $60 per surgery.
Screening, referral & correction of visual problems among under privileged school children in Sri Lanka
There are over 4 million school children in 10,000 government schools in Sri Lanka. School Medical Inspection Program carries out medical inspections of these children on regular basis. Medical Officers of Health (MOH) visit the schools annually and children in grades 1, 4 and 7 are routinely screened. The children with vision problems are referred to the closest eye clinics, usually situated in large towns at district level. Children from remote areas have to travel long distances to travel to these clinics. Prescriptions are given to those who need spectacles. A considerable number of parents cannot afford the purchase of spectacles.
The School Screening Program intensifies the process and provides financial assistance at various points of the process;
1 Intensive screening of the children with the support of MOHs
2 Holding of eye clinics in MOH areas. Refractions done by ophthalmic technologists under the supervision of the district eye surgeon
3 Obtain prescriptions for spectacles and other necessary treatment for visual problems
4 Manufacture and distribute spectacles to needy children
5 Facilitate treatment for other visual problems in the children
Mutual Assistance Society partnered with visuon2020 program from 2009 to 2018 funding the school children eyesight screening. We have completed the following programs.
1. Providing spectacles to school children in Matara District, Sri Lanka2006/2007/2008; 432 students from low income families; MAI International coordinated the project in Sri Lanka.
2. District of Ampara (RDHS areas of Ampara and Kalmuani) were included in a vision screening and free spectacle program conducted by Vision 2020 Program with the sponsorship of MASS, Sydney, Australia. 150000 school children were screened and to provided 2031 good quality custom made eyeglasses. The project started in 2010 and concluded in 2012.
3. Moneragala District- provided over 4000 eyeglasses to school children
4. Puttalama District- provided over 3500 eye glasses to schools children
5. Badulla District- The project started in 2018 and provided 67 glasses and on-going.
Providing Financial Assistance to Needy School Children in Sri Lanka
MASS is proving financial assistance to needy school children, starting from Year 6 until they finish secondary and tertiary education in Sri Lanka. Currently the children in Moneragala and Badulla Districts are being selected to this program and as of January 2021 there are 108 secondary and tertiary level students receiving MASS scholarships. Selection of students for the program is based on various criteria which includes the family income and performance in studies.
MASS members and their partners, sons and daughters, relatives, friends and many other Srilankans and Australians are participating in this program by providing the required financial assistance to run the program. Each scholarship recipient has been assigned a sponsor and the student is strongly advised to maintain direct contacts with his/her sponsor. Scholarship payments are made to individual student accounts every month through a proper transparent process.
With the expansion of the program, a new association by the name Education Assistance Society Moneragala (EASM) was established in Sri Lanka and the selection of students for the program, monitoring performance and other essential coordination are carried out by EASM.
MASS is appealing to generous donors who wish to support those who are underprivileged and strive to achieve success in life.
The cost of sponsoring a student is as follows.
Year 6 to Year 11(Equivalent to Year 10 in Australia) – Rs.1500/month (Aus $ 15/month)
Year 11 to Year 13 (Equivalent to HSC in Australia) – Rs. 2000/month (Aus $ 20/month)
Tertiary Studies (University or equivalent) – Rs. 5000/month (Aus $ 40/month)
For further information and taking up sponsorships, please contact MASS Scholarships Coordinator, Mr. Wimal Dasanayake, on 0409 735 372 (mobile) or (02) 96296268 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some photos related to this program can be viewed in the Gallery section.
Supporting IT Education of Less-privileged Schools
In July 2019, MASS started paying monthly wages to a voluntary IT teacher who is helping children from grades 1 to 8 in Haldanduwana government school in North Western Province, Sri Lanka.
In the year 2020 MASS extended the service further by extending her service to Waikkala Primary School where another 150 children from grade 1 to 11 are studying. More than 10 differently abled children also studying in the new school.
Most of the children in both schools are from very poor financial backgrounds and MASS believes teaching computer basics to them will help them for a brighter future.
There is an emerging kidney disease called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in several provinces in Sri Lanka, especially in the North Central Province and other nearby provinces. This is making the lives of underprivileged people in those areas at risk of facing death. In these areas, CKD has thus become a major public health problem causing devastating socio-economic and health impacts.
Researches conducted by the University of Kelaniya, Ministry of Health and other Universities around the world have indicated that the main cause of CKD is the consumption of polluted water in those areas that includes toxic elements.
“Pivithuru Pan Pooja” (Pure Water for all) is a project that was initiated to provide purified drinking water by installing water purification plants in those areas. This project is a joint effort of Shraddha TV, Sri Lanka Civil Security Department, Biochemistry Unit – University of Kelaniya and Mahamevnawa Meditation Monastery.
MASS has undertaken to sponsor the construction of a water purification plant in a remote Sri Lankan village in Pahala Kumbukgollewa. This is located in the Horovpatana Divisional Secretariat, Anuradhapura District, North Central Province. The estimated cost for the construction of this water purification plant is SL Rs: 1.3 million.
Any contributions to this project can be made through MASS website at the following link.
Further details of the Pure Water for all project can be obtained from the project web site at https://purewater.lk/
MASS teams with Youth Group to help school children in Sri Lanka
In January 2009, the Youth Group of the Sri Lanka Buddhist Vihara Association, NSW (YG, SLBVA) donated school books, schoolbags and stationery to all the students (approximately 200) of Pubbara Vidyalaya, in the Moneragala District in Sri Lanka. Mutual Assistance Society, Sydney (MASS) coordinated this activity on behalf of YG, SLBVA through its contacts and coordinators in Sri Lanka. MASS already supports sixteen deserving students of this school through a scholarship programme, funded by a few sponsors living in Australia. Mr Ukwatte, a retired senior public servant, residing in Moneragala, who is the coordinator of the scholarship programme, coordinated this activity too.
The donation was handed over to the students at an assembly held in the school. Mr Randima de Silva, the current President of the YG, SLBVA and Mr Vipul de Silva, the current Treasurer of MASS, represented the two associations at this function. Mr Ukwatte attended too.
MASS donates equipment to Public Hospital in Sri Lanka
Mutual Assistance Society, Sydney (MASS) donated several much needed equipment to the General Hospital at Gampaha in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. This hospital is one of the largest in the country and caters to a population of nearly a million people in the region.
On 20th August 2009, Preethisri Amaratunga, the current president of MASS, handed over the equipment to the value of approximately AU$ 3,200 at a simple ceremony held in the lecture hall of the hospital, attended by several doctors, nursing staff and well wishers.
Dr Dammika Mayadunne, the director of the hospital, spoke at the ceremony and said that both the medical and nursing staff highly appreciate the donation made. They have been requesting unsuccessfully for a long time for additional funds to purchase these equipment.
Preethisri Amaratunga, in his reply, explained about the activities of MASS. He also said that Sri Lankans living in Australia understand and appreciate the invaluable service provided by the doctors and nurses in the general hospitals in Sri Lanka, mostly under very difficult conditions, due to lack of resources.
Several others also spoke.
Dr (Ms) Lalitha Wijeratne initiated and coordinated all activities with respect to this donation on behalf of the Gampaha Hospital.
Following is a list of equipment donated:
- Mercury Blood Pressure Apparatus – 4 nos
- Double jar Sucker Machine – 3 nos
- Reuseable Transparent Goggles – 12 nos
- Reuseable Aprons – 5 nos
- Soft Neonatal Blood Pressure Cuffs – 1 box of 20 cuffs
- Rechargeable Torch – 7 nos
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