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Sunera Foundation...

...was set up in 2000. SF works with disabled children and young people in Sri Lanka. In workshops, they use music, drama, dance and art to build participants' skills and confidence, which helps them to integrate with the mainstream of Sri Lankan life. See

P1000358 website About SF

Participants at the Dehiwala workshop rehearse for their performance in Colombo

Over 1,200 children and young people currently attend 37 SF workshops, mostly once a week. (Figures accurate as of May 2016.) They have a range of disabilities such as sensory or physical impairments or learning difficulties.

SF also works with those who have been affected by experiences of natural disasters such as the 2004 tsunami or civil conflict. SF was consistently involved with victims from all sides of Sri Lanka'€™s long-running civil conflict and, following the end of the fighting in 2009, has used its tried and tested methods with young people who have been traumatised and physically disabled by the war.

The workshop leaders have been trained to communicate with disabled young people and those with learning difficulties, and offer activities that build their skills and creative abilities.

The workshops build participants' confidence, giving them dignity and respect from others. For some, this is the route to a more independent life and even to employment. One parent said, "I joined so many different organisations, but none was able to give my daughter the help she needed. Then she joined Sunera."

People of all ethnic and religious groups are invited to Sunera workshops. Sinhala, Tamil, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Christian -- all are welcome. SF has found that when people are focused on a joint activity, they overcome their suspicions and fears of one another, and begin to understand their shared humanity, not just their differences.

In most years, Sunera holds the festival of Samanalayaya, where workshops present short plays written and directed by the trainers. The best plays go forward to performances in the capital city, Colombo. Occasionally, SF is able to stage major performances in Sri Lanka and abroad. These public events give the workshop participants the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and potential to a wider audience. This is a significant element in SF's advocacy work in building more respect for disabled people. A workshop leader said, "When their communities come to see them perform, they can see what they are capable of doing and therefore they are accepted in society. A great deal of joy is brought to the parents when they see how talented their children are."

In addition, there have been spin-offs of Sunera'€™s work, such as

  • access to health care,€“ hearing and blood tests, dental care and referrals to hospitals when appropriate

  • the initiative of the government-owned Bank of Ceylon, which has established and contributed funds to savings accounts for workshop participants.

Funding for SF'€™s work has come from a variety of international government and non-government sources, as well as some fundraising within Sri Lanka and from FSF.

("Sunera" is a people-friendly mountain in Hindu mythology. SF chose the word for its beauty, and to signify strength and reliability €”which is what Sunera provides for disabled people in Sri Lanka.)

SF's website is at, and also on Facebook:

SF asks UK donors not to make donations direct to them. map sunera 1Instead, please do it through FSF. This means that:

(a) Gift Aid can be collected on your money


(b) the bank charges for transferring the cash will be much lower.

Your generosity will go further if you donate through FSF!


Right: the 2015 Workshop map. Below: the key.

Colombo District

1  Dehiwala

2  Maharagama

3  Homagama

Gampaha District

4  Horagolla

5  Negombo

6  Wattala

Kalutara District

7  Horana

8  Panadura

9  Aluthgama

Puttalam District

10  Puttalam

11  Anamaduwa

12  Chilaw

Kurunegala District

13  Kurunegala

14  Kobeigane

15  Kuliyapitiya

16  Horombawa

Anuradhapura District

17  Anuradhapura

18  Thalawa

19  Kekirawa

20  Palugaswewa

Matara District

21  Matara

22  Kamburupitiya

23  Akuressa

24  Weligama

Galle District

25  Galle

26  Imaduwa

Kandy District

27  Kandy

28  Katugastota

Kegalle District

29  Mawanella

Jaffna District

30  Jaffna

Batticaloa District

31  Batticaloa

Nuwaraeliya District

32-36 Plantation Workshops

Sunera Foundation Mission

Copyright © 2010 Friends of Sunera Foundation.  Registered Charity number: 118536