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Sunday, 15 May 2011

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A haven for elders, children



H.D Adwin

Only a handful of people who are blessed with wealth help others. The majority of people in modern society do not spend on others and utilise their wealth only on themselves. Although such people lead luxurious lives, no one will remember them after their deaths.

The Sunday Observer last week had the opportunity of visiting a Welfare Home for Elders at Matugama in the Kalutara district, and witnessed how one section of society helps another section. The Welfare Home for Elders is run by the Matugama Social Service Society.

The office of this social service society is at Agalawatta Road, Wettawa, Matugama (about a kilometre from the Matugama junction). It also runs a children’s home and a school for children, orphans and mentally retarded children, a vocational centre and a rehabilitation centre.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer, President of the Society H.D. Adwin said the Matugama Social Service Society was established in 1951 with the intention of helping needy elders and children in the area. The Society was later expanded due to the increasing number of inmates who started seeking their help and protection.

The Elders Home was established in 1956 and Eaten Wijegunawardana became its first Treasurer.

According to Adwin, over 5,000 elders had sought the assistance of the Society during the past 55 years. At present nearly 32 elders have found shelter at the Home, some of who are mentally retarded.


Elders at the Home

Inmates observing sil

The Government spends Rs. 300 per month on each inmate while philanthropists also often make donations.

To admit anybody to the Elders Home, the Grama Seva Niladhari and Divisional Secretary have to be approached.

Adwin said, if any inmates fall sick, he will be directed to the nearby Government hospital or given native treatment through an Ayurvedic health camp conducted by the Society every month.

According to Society member P. Thambavita, about five deaths are reported at the Home every year and the funeral expenses are borne by the Society if family members of the deceased do not claim the body.

The Mayura Children’s Home and School is organised by the Society for the benefit of orphans, mentally retarded children and other destitute children in the area. At present it provides shelter to about 26 children. Some parents keep their children at the Home due to poverty.

The children are kept in the Home until they reach the age of 14 years; they are also sent to schools and given vocational training in the making of paper bags, coir work etc.

The Society expects to expand the vocational training segment in future.

The President of the Society thanked individuals and various social organisations for making donations to the inmates often and said that inmates are also given an opportunity to indulge in religious activities during Poya and Vesak festivals.

The Society also organises New Year festivals for the welfare of children and elders.

It also maintains a physiotherapy centre for the benefit of elders and children.

The physiotherapists are paid by the Society and its management requested donors to help them financially to make this program a success.

 

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