The Sunday Times recently published an article about our dream to create the Blue Rose Village.

Within the green trees of Kandy Primrose Hill rests the ‘Blue Rose Special School’ on a land donated by a philanthropist family. The school gives hope to children and adults who are differently abled. Today, the school is looking at working further towards enhancing the quality of life of Blue Rose students even after they have left school. The school plans to do this by building a village where former students can live once their parents and caretakers are no more.

The Blue Rose Special School began in 1981 to promote and safeguard the welfare of the intellectually impaired individuals with special needs. One of the first projects undertaken by the Service Civil International (SCI) – Kandy Branch, the school is run by the ‘Blue Rose Welfare Society’ comprising professionals, parents, teachers, well-wishers and the founder organization which is SCI- Kandy Branch. This is a 100% voluntary effort.

The school has 50 students with a permanent staff comprising the School Principal and six qualified teachers. The school depends on a few volunteer teachers to meet the demands of the children on a daily basis. The Principal and the staff have introduced Swimming, Basketball and Music in addition to the Physiotherapy and Speech therapy.

Blue Rose Special School staff is regularly invited by leading schools and government agencies to provide awareness training in order to socialize their students and officers towards understanding the differently-abled. A few faculties at the University of Peradeniya send their students to the Blue Rose School for practical training as well. Blue Rose also believes in networking with like-minded organizations, and is a member of the “Ceylon Association for the Mentally Retarded” (CAMR) which is the main body in the country to coordinate and network activities for the differently abled.

However, according to the Principal, all their work depends solely on the financial contributions the School receives. Each child’s cost per month is around Rs. 3500 and some children are unable to make this payment. The school meets the cost of such students from the funds received by donors. While the Principal is very appreciative of all the assistance received by the school, she says there is yet another serious problem that needs to be addressed by the society. The situation of these students once their parents and caretakers are no more is not satisfactory. In many cases after the parents’ demise, the differently abled persons (who by then are fully grown adults) are sent to homes-for-the-aged or left as destitute living in appalling conditions.

She says this is a big problem, where schools such as Blue Rose try their best to make their students productive members in society, their effort is not continued and does not benefit the individual when the guardian is gone. The school is planning to address this problem by building a Blue Rose Village where differently abled adults and children who do not have parents, guardians or a place to live will have a home. They are looking at a 5-acre land outside Kandy, where these adults could be living and working under professional care. The principal feels that although initially this may look like a gigantic project, the Blue Rose School also started small, but has progressed since with generous donations.

The Principal, staff, the parents together with the SCI Kandy Branch are hopeful that there will be individuals who will be interested to be part of the Blue Rose Village Initiative.

Written by The Sunday Times Sri Lanka
September 2016

Originally published by The Sunday Times Sri Lanka