‘Differently-abled people found through our workshops’
by Nimna Edirisinghe

The Sunera Foundation last week held a three day workshop ‘The flight of Butterflies’ funded by the Deutsch bank’s Asia foundation fund, for media, parents and for government and private sector officials inorder to raise their awareness of the differently-abled people, especially victims of war and their capabilities.

"We want to demonstrate what we are doing, give you glimpse of our work so that you can carry our message to wider community," the Chairperson,Sunethra Bandaranaike said emphasising that media can play a crucial role in changing the attitude towrds these special people, at the workshop for media at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. "Espcially we wish to draw the attention of Social Services Department and related government Institutions on these issues in our workshop for government officials, private sector and international organisations on December 2," she said. She also revealed that it is often that Sunera has found these differently abled people by conducting workshops islandwide not that they have reached out to Sunera.

The workshop was held to present a series of artistic expressions to illustrate how ‘Dance Dynamics’ can effectively release the creative energies of the differenly-abled and provide them with the means to express themselves.These special people were given several titles like fishermen, key, wonder fish,peace and snake to act. They performed to bring in their own ideas and creations.

"This how we put up our major theartical production, we never had a script or dialogues we just gathered their own creations and linked them," she said.

The response of the parents, guardiens and care takers of these young persons do not believe in the capabilities of their children and often seclude them from the rest of the society Rohana Deva, the Creative Director ‘Butterflies’ theatre companysaid.

The workshop has helped these people in many different ways. "When we first joined Sunera foundation we had lost our families and wereying hard to recover from those traumatic experiences. We didn’t know how to communicate with the sinhalese due to the language barrrier. So we started to communicate in sign language," said Thangeshwari a refugee from Tirukkovil.

Sunera foundation was found in 1998 and contributed to thewelfare of disadvantaged persons in our country and conducted many workshops to uplift the standards of these young persons. The Butterflies theatre company is a theatre group of a fifty member cast which was an initiation of Sunera. They recently staged ‘Turtles will never fly’ in September.The Head of the Deutsch bank, Stephen Mart and the Creative Director Ramani Damayanthi were also present at the occasion.


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