The inauguration of the 22nd conference of the Asian Federation on Intellectual Disabilities was held in Colombo on October 3 to 7, 2015 at the Sri Lanka Foundation. The chief guests were Minister for Social Empowerment and Welfare, SB Dissanayake and Minister Mano Ganesan.
The conference was organized by the Ceylon Association for the Mentally Retarded (CAMR) which was established in 1969 and incorporated by an Act No. 10 of 1971. The CAMR did a great service for the welfare of Intellectually Disabled (ID) persons and 65 affiliated institutions which provided care and shelter for the ID persons in the country.
Most of these institutions are managed by non – government voluntary organization.
There were ten countries participated with more than 230 delegates at this year’s conference. The conference had also provided an opportunity to enhance the image of the country as a tourist destination. The participated delegates had opportunity to visit the following centers.
A) The Victory Special Studies Centre – Colombo 13.
B) Prithipura Children’s Home – Wattala
C) Child Guidance Center – Nawinna
D) Moratuwa Home for Girls with Special Needs – Moratuwa
E) Nisansala Special Training Center – Ja-Ela
Ms. GS Mallika (MA PGDE, BSc, Dip. in Special Education) delivered a lecturer in curriculum adaptations, assessment tools, intervention and teaching learning materials for children with intellectual disabilities.
In her speech, she expressed her desire to expand educational opportunities for the children with intellectual disabilities with the help of all relevant Ministries and educational institutes to develop their education. Concluding her speech she has expressed her views point by point that they faced following challenges for their future.
a) Lack of financial support
b) Lack of teacher training programs
c) Lack of supervision and monitoring system
d) Lack of human resources and physical resources
To build a society that provides space for all citizens to live in harmony, dignity, love and peace; a society that rewards citizens not only on the basis of physical or mental condition, but also on the basis of the content of their ability and citizenry. There only these persons could find their due place in the society under the sun.
The members of the executive committee of the CAMR and it’s staff did their best to make the conference a success. They organized the big event for the last two years.
The next conference will be held in Bangladesh in 2017.