down syndrome sri lanka
Caring community for people with Down Syndrome
down syndrome sri lanka
JINENDHI RESOURCE CENTRE FOR DOWN SYNDROME (JRCFDS), a non profit organization established in Sri Lanka in 1995 to exclusively serve the people with Down Syndrome is the country’s pioneer in the field. We commenced it as a project of GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL YOUTH EDUCATION FOUNDATION (GEYEF) / JINENDHI RESOURCE CENTRE FOR DOWN SYNDROME. (GEYEF project – Registered under the companies Act no. 7 of 2007, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka – GA 581). Since then, it has served the people with DS in Sri Lanka and built links with similar organizations across the world, as there was no organization or group of professionals to address the issues of People with Down Syndrome.

Why Jinendhi?

Sunethra and Gamini Galgamuwa

We were blessed to have baby girl at a time when we had almost given up having another child, a precious gift to look after and keep her happy – She is Jinendhi! We had three sons of ages 14, 12, and 08 when both my husband and I were in our early 40s. We never thought it was too late to have a daughter, and we considered our selves lucky to have a girl in the family. The three sons were happy to have a sister which was a great welcome. After bringing up 3 healthy sons, I did not need much assistance in caring for a new born, but I did notice many differences in her movements and, suspected her to be a baby with Downs Syndrome. I was a high school Biology teacher and had taught my students multiple times about Down Syndrome and the characters of such a baby, in the genetics lessons. Our daughter had a flat nasal bridge and slanted eyes. The paediatrician confirmed our suspicion. I was really depressed even though my husband didn’t take the news as that bad. When I asked the doctor about what will become of her, she said it all depends on how you bring her up, she might be a better human, than your so called normal and healthy three sons. I made up my mind to train her to be happy and a useful human. The three brothers and Jinendhi ‘s father were very cooperative in bringing her up.
At the age of 4 1/2 yrs she was admitted to a government special school where the teachers were very kind and tactful. She gradually learned to read, write and behave well in the society. Jinendhi is 29 years old now. All her brothers are married and have families of their own. Jinendhi lives with us at home and accompany us where ever we go. We never feel lonely at our age; as our beloved daughter is around us. She likes sewing, as that’s my hobby. I trained her to ,stitch rugs out of gunny bags, make table mats, and she also helps me with gardening which is another fancy of mine. She gets up early in the morning and go for a walk with me and a few friends in the neighbourhood. She gets on with neighbours very well. She has never being an agony to any one of us. She loves to play with her niece and nephews.
She had many opportunities to travel to USA and Australia, as one of my sons lives in Australia and another one in USA. She has travelled to countries like India, Singapore and Myanmar. My husband had a vision to serve the other deserving children with Down Syndrome in Sri Lanka. As such, in 1996 he founded the Jinendhi Resourse Centre for Down Syndrome (JRSFDS) in Sri Lanka, to serve these deserving children. We have exposed her to almost all the events and gatherings. The theme of the JRCFDS is to build a caring community for Down Syndrome. She is our treasure! It is a hard journey, but I found many reasons to be positive and raise her to become the wonderful person she is now. I am happy that I’m finding ways to council and support the mothers of newly born children with DS with my 30 years of experience in bringing up our daughter Jinendhi Galgamuwa.

Maiden Program of JRCFDS 1996

Mr Gamini Galgamuwa

Our first programme was a memorable event. In 1996 Jinendhi was admitted to the Special education class at the Seethadevi Government Girls School in Kandy. There was a very good and kind-hearted special education teacher, Mrs. Peris. There were about 10 to 15 special needs children in the class. During this period Mr Galgamuwa was the District Director of the National Youth Services Council.Kandy. There is a youth Dancing training centre “BELLWOOD Aesthetic Centre” – NYSC, under his purview. He proposed to Mrs. Peris to organise a one-day programme to take the children and their parents to the Bellwood dancing centre.

The adjoining school is a boys school. The teacher Mrs Peris invited the boys school special education teacher also to join her children and parents to join this tour. Finally the following two school children and their parents join the tour. Both schools teachers joined as the teacher incharge of the children.

1.”Seethadevi Girls”Girls College.

2.” Kingswood Boys” College.

The approval was taken from the Director of Education. Mr Galgamuwa organized the Bus belonging to the training centre, as well as refreshments and lunch at the centre.

The Special children, parents and teachers gathered in the school in the morning and then they were taken to the training centre by the Bellwood Bus. It was an unforgettable maiden program of the JRCFDS. The children enjoyed dancing and singing with the youths at the centre. Finally, Mr. Galgamuwa organized a discussion with parents and discussion led to the constitution of a parents’ association. This was the first event. At that time there were no mobile phones to take good photos. We have a few photos of the event taken from a still camara.
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