Staff and Volunteer’s Blog

Our team blog features articles submitted to the website directly by staff and volunteers of the Shivan Foundation. Our team also runs a photo journal on the Shivan Foundation Flickr page.

A Tribute to Shivan (Letter)

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No greater love could ever be given by Edna, Leela and yourself to a fellow human being. Shivan was always at the centre of your lives, with no time, energy or expense spared in giving him the ‘very best’ life humanly possible. I was privileged to experience but a snapshot of this in action in Copse Way, Anglesey and Kandy.

The many memories of Shivan spring to mind. As Shivan grew and became stronger and heavier, the words ‘okay son’ as you lift him in and out of your specially adapted people carrier requiring Herculean strength but you just did it, with the team in support. On one occasion at a harbour front pub in Moelfre, Anglesey where we occupied the centre table outside with Shivan in animated form with his Winnie-the-Pooh music which seemed to be his favourite, many of the others eating looking on rather awkwardly but how right you were to give Shivan a normal life as possible for which I was so full of admiration. On Anglesey they don’t forget your visits. At the Beach Motel, John often asks is your friend and his son returning. You left an indelible memory that they still talk about, with you going into the hotel kitchen and making special vegetarian chapattis that Shivan liked. I personally was also very touched with you and your family making the effort to attend my mother’s funeral in Anglesey with Shivan. Your travels on planes with Shivan were made to look so easy when for mere mortals like ourselves travelling alone is quite an achievement often done with fear and trepidation. Shivan was right at the centre and a real high spot in your life was the opening of the Shivan Foundation in Kandy some 2 years ago to which I was privileged to attend with 800 guests present and it is so fitting that with the loss of Shivan his memory and the Foundation will live on, helping other disabled children with special needs and subsequently with the opening of many other centres throughout Sri Lanka. Quite a legacy and more than 99.9% of the population cannot lay claim to. How inadequate most of our lives are when measured against such immense achievements as yours but all inspired and made possible by the LIFE OF SHIVAN. His memory will indeed live forever!

I feel drawn to say that on a personal note my business involvement with you was made possible for me because of your immense compassion and caring for Shivan. No man, in my opinion, with those credentials would not be honourable. My instincts have proved me right.

My sincere condolences to you and your family.

Arthur


Thanking our tea plantation workers in preparation for Deepavali (Oct ’14)

For the upcoming Deepavali (Diwali) celebrations this week, the Shivan Foundation’s founder Ganesh has donated various gifts to the tea plantation workers at Teldeniya. The gifts are an additional thank you for their hard work since taking over the tea harvest a week ago. The event was also intended to promote awareness for the fair and respectful treatment of Sri Lanka’s tea workers who often have to work in dire conditions. The Foundation was therefore pleased to see media coverage of this event, including on ITN (video starts at 17:18) and Eye Channel (video starts at 18:38).


New steam box arrives (Aug ’14)

Our new steam box has arrived, which is a device similar to steam rooms used around the world for their healing attributes. Some of the known benefits of steam include relaxation and stress-relief, detox, improvement of breathing and circulation, boost to the immune system, cleansing of the skin as well as muscle pain relief.

Shivan was one of the first children to try out the steam box and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


roadworks

Road works (Dec ’13)

Over the past few months, volunteers from the Sri Lankan Rifle Corps in Balagolla (see our earlier report) have been making drastic improvements to the access path leading from the main road to the Shivan Foundation School for Special Needs in Kandy-Teldeniya. The access route is at times nothing more than a dirt track requiring the use of off road vehicles. By improving the road, the Foundation will be able to welcome more vehicles types (including tuk-tuks) thus making it easier for children, parents, staff and visitors to access the centre. This months, parents from the school committee and staff have been helping out with the finishing touches.

Much more work and funding is required to improve the entire access route. Please contact us for ways to help.

 


Pool

New children’s pool opens at Kandy-Teldeniya special needs school (Dec ’13)

After months under construction (mainly due to funding shortages), the outdoor hydrotherapy pool has finally opened at our special needs school in Kandy-Teldeniya. The pool, benefiting from Sri Lanka’s favorable all-year air temperatures, will offer disability swimming lessons, hydrotherapy (including water-based massages and physiotherapy) and open sessions for disabled children, their parents and carers.

Pool Shivan

Not only does swimming improve the body, it is also a fun and playful retreat for children. The excitement of the first children to use the pool was clearly visible. The pool, which was paid for entirely by the Foundation’s founder Ganesh Velautham, is fully lit and provides ramp access for suitable wheelchairs.


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Balagolla Rifle Corps anniversary visit (Dec ’13)

As part of their anniversary celebrations, volunteers from the Sri Lanka Rifle Corps in Balagolla visited the Shivan Foundation’s Centre for Disabled Children in Kandy-Teldeniya. They brought food for the children, their parents as well as the school staff and volunteers.

Over the past few months, personnel from the Balagolla Rifle Corps have been working hard to improve the dirt track leading from the main road to the Shivan Foundation Centre. The improvement works will facilitate access for smaller vehicles and those that do not have off-road capabilities.

The event was also an opportunity for the Shivan Foundation to thank the Rifle Corps for their great efforts and their collaboration with the community.


School Collection – Part 2 (5 Dec ’13)

Today, the shipment from London’s Linden Lodge School (see our previous article below) finally arrived via land and sea at the Shivan Foundation School for Special Needs in Kandy-Teldeniya. All items generously donated by the staff and supporters at Linden Lodge arrived in perfect condition.

Items included essential necessities difficult (or expensive) to source in Sri Lanka (such as nappies/pads, toiletries, sensory and therapy equipment) as well as toys (to the delight of the children).

A particularly popular donation was the electronic keyboard donated by Mr & Mrs Bhattacharyya who have two sons at Linden Lodge called Sandip & Jaydip. Music is a vital therapeutic and joyful medium for children, especially those suffering from sensory impairment.

The Shivan Foundation would like to thank Linden Lodge School for their kind donation and continued support.


Improvements Video (Nov ’13)

This month, the Shivan Foundation welcomed a new child with severe walking and coordination difficulties.

Through a range of treatments (Ayurveda, physiotherapy, massages, exercises) the child’s coordination skills and confidence improved drastically.

The following video shows her improvement over 1 month.

Music by teknoaxe.com under the terms of CC (Creative Commons) 3.0 license.


School Collection (Oct ’13)

Article by Angie Thompson, Head of Residential Care & Special Schools Linkworker. 

I was honoured to be invited to the opening of the Shivan Foundation in July. Shivan is one of our pupils at Linden Lodge School. Having seen how few resources the school has in Kandy compared to Linden Lodge in London I felt compelled to help collect items which the school and the families would welcome. Therefore I asked parents/carers and staff from our school to send in donations of toys, books, stationary, craft items, nappies, bedding, good quality clothes, toiletries and therapy equipment. The response was fantastic and within a few weeks we had collected enough items to fill 4 large barrels to send to Sri Lanka. Our support will continue, we aim to continue collecting and providing as many much needed resources as possible.