down syndrome sri lanka
Caring community for people with Down Syndrome
down syndrome sri lanka

Vision of the Founder Gamini Galgamuwa – JRCFDS

In 1996, I started a project through our NGO – Global Environmental Youth Education Foundation (GEYEF) / jinendhi Resource Centre for Down Syndrome – THE UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN INDIA.

To address the youth needs of Sri Lanka during the period of closing of universities (mid 80s to 2009) for long periods due to the 30-year long Sri Lanka Northern Civil war and Southern insurrection (1987 – 1989) in the country.

How did I get this vision?

I had my Coronary Artery Bypass surgery at Apollo Hospital in Chennai India in 1993. When I visited the Apollo hospital for a regular follow-up check-up, I visited the Madras university and met the International Students Coordinator Dr. Mrs. Mariappan. She welcomed me and gave all the information about the university education system in India. Thereafter, I went to Bangalore university and met the Vice Chancellor. He introduced Dr. Suba Ready, an Associate Professor, to coordinate with me in this regard. One day he handed over the Bangalore University 1993 Academic directory. When I started going through the directory I came across the degree program on B.Sc Speech and Hearing.

Our daughter was born in 1992 and was diagnosed as a girl with Down Syndrome. But there were no proper professionals to address the issue of Children with Down syndrome. The degree was very new to me and I had never heard about it and I thought that this might be related to addressing some issues with the children with Down Syndrome.

The following day I went to Dr. S. R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing affiliated to University of Bangalore. The only institution that had this degree at that time was in Bangalore. There were only 20 slots available. I met Dr. Chandrasekhar and the principal Dr. Uma Subramaniam. They informed me that there is no provision to admit foreign students. I inspected the institute and the syllabus of the 3-year degree. I was impressed and requested them to consider as it is good for the institute to have foreign students. Further, that this degree is not available in Sri Lanka and explained the need of this type of professionals to serve the children with Down Syndrome.

We decided to meet the Bangalore university Vice Chancellor and make an appeal to give the approval to accommodate at least 2 students from Sri Lanka. Finally, we got the approval to accommodate two students for the 1997 academic year. I had two applications from two students from Kandy for BSc. Environmental Science. I immediately contacted the two students and explained about this degree and managed to convince one student. She took the challenge.

Her mother was a staff nurse at the Dental faculty, University of Peradeniya. That may be the reason for her to select this new degree. I requested the student and the parent to come to India immediately. They came and the girl agreed, and she was happy.

Miss. Dakshika Bandaranaka was the first fortunate Sri Lankan student that accepted the challenge to follow the degree. She entered the 1997/2000 academic Year. Now she is in the USA after completing the MSc and PhD from University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. She is working as an Assistant Professor for the university.

This paved the way for more than 150 Sri Lankan and Maldivian students to become a professional in audiology and speech language (BASLP)
Thereafter, I personally motivated the Sri Lankan students to join this profession and managed to admit annually 5 to 10 students. It’s not an easy task to motivate the students as the degree was not popular. After a few years following colleges affiliated to Mangalore and Bangalore commenced the same course. Then I admitted the students to the following affiliated colleges. Two colleges affiliated to Bangalore University
  1. Dr. S. R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing
  2. Samvaad Institute of Speech and Hearing
One college affiliated to Mangalore University
  1. Dr. M.V.Shetty College of Speech & Hearing.
Later, service was extended to Maldivian students. Annually I visited Maldives and managed to motivate 2 to 3 students to join this degree. Now in India, the degree has developed into a four year degree. BASLP – Audiology Speech Language Pathologist To date in 2023, about 250 to 300 Sri Lankan and Maldivian students have graduated from above mentioned colleges affiliated to Bangalore and Mangalore State universities. Many BASLP graduates have completed master’s and PhD in the United States. Our graduates are working in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Dubai, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and in many other countries. These professionals have a high scope for higher studies and good demand for job placements in Universities and Hospitals.
Present status in Sri Lanka

In early 2000, Dr. Kodikara contacted me regarding this Degree. I got down the syllabus of this degree from India and assisted Dr. Kodikara to commence a 2-year Diploma in Speech Language course at the Ragama Medical University in Sri Lanka.

Initially, they advertised to take 10 candidates (5 from the Health Department). The eligibility was the B/C/P/B aggregate 180. The students had to pay for the course. Later, this was developed into a degree. Present day, the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya offers BSc. (BHS) speech and Hearing, a 4-year degree under the University Grants Committee of Sri Lanka.

Five of our Indian Graduates with BASL and master’s are working as Senior lecturers in this faculty. Further, Miss. Fathima Nuskiya is working at the Dental Faculty of University of Peradeniya. There are 2 working at the Children Hospital Peradeniya. Many have joined the private sector hospitals and hearing aids marketing companies for higher salaries.

Status of this work

Our professionals are working in the UK, Dubai, USA, Canada, New Zealand, India, Maldives and in many countries. It’s an ongoing sustainable program of JRCFDS. We give priority to BSc. Audiology Speech Language pathology.

I was motivated and explored the opportunity for university placements for the following degrees as they also directly and indirectly contribute for the Health and needs of People with Down Syndrome.

A child with Down Syndrome likely will receive care from a team of the following health professionals. Our professionals are given a fair knowledge about the people and children with Down syndrome as all of them are registered as our professionals. This is an ongoing project of JRCFDS.

We continue to send students for the following degrees mainly to India. But we have extended to other countries.

  • BASLP / MASLP/ Phd – Audiology Speech Language Pathology.
  • B. Physiotherapy/ MSc. and PhD
  • B.A Psychology/ MSc. and PhD General and Clinical.
  • B. Social Work/ MSc. and PhD .
  • B. Optometry
  • MBBS / BDS
  • BSc. Food Nutrition and Dietetics.

All together more than 5000 Sri Lankan and Maldivian students have benefited.

Present services
  1. We have a good relationship with some selected universities in India and a few other countries. As such, we do university placements for eligible students to get admitted to any of the above degrees.
  2. Our Graduates are with us even after graduation. Their services are available for any one in need of their service.
  3. We are ready to introduce our graduates to any down syndrome organization, hospital and any health care institutions in the world.

Historic Event - 30th June 2001

The inauguration of the ASSOCIATION OF SRI LANKAN GRADUATES OF INDIAN UNIVERSITIES – 30th June 2001 at the Queens Hotel in Kandy.
The Director General GEYEF / Director NYSC central province Mr.Gamini Galgamuwa and the Assistant High Commission for India in Srilanka in Kandy His Excellency Mr. Achal. K. Malhotra jointly inaugurated the Association. The chief guest was the University Grant Commissioner Prof. Medis, Prof.Sinnathamby Dean Department of Sociology Prof. Wanigasundara University of Peradeniya were the guest of honours. Mr. Amodha Galgamuwa was appointed as the president of the association. 75 graduates and parents were present at the function. Great historic Function.

Now we are in the process of forming the following professional associatoons.

All the members are known to Jinendhi as she was the office assistant of GEYEF/ JRCFDS. Further they are all serving the people with Down Syndrome in the world.

International Students Day Celebration Organised By The Assistant High Commission in Kandy - 05/03/2016

7 BASLP and one MASLP Bangalore University Medical Graduates received their degree certicates at this event. Her Excelency Assistant High Commissioner Ms Radha Venkeyharaman and the Patron of the Association of Sri Lankan Graduates of Indian Universities Mr.Gamini Galgamuwa organised the certificate awarding event.
The chief guest was the Hon.Minister of Skills development and Vocational training Mr.Mahinda Samarasingha.
All three provinces Governess, leading School principals and many government officials were present at this function. INDIAN HIGH COMMISSION IN KANDY ORGANISED THE FUNCTION at The hotel Earls Regency. Great event. Few artist performed dancing items to make it a colour full unforgettable event for all invitees.

Degree Certificate Awarding Event - 15th July 2016

Forty fortunate Sri Lankan Graduates of Bangalore state university received their degree certificates at the certificate awarding ceremony jointly organised by Her Excellency Assistant High commissioner for India in Kandy Miss.nRadha Venkatharaman and Amasa Study Abroad / GEYEF on the 15th July 2016. Graduates were from Indian Academy and T John colleges in Bangalore. 5200 Sri Lankan have graduated since 1996.

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