Tel: +94 112 785 666
Honorary Chair: Madusha Dissanayake
National Coordinator: Indica Samarakoon
Home-Start Lanka was established by Madu Dissanayake in 2003. She had trained as a volunteer at Home-Start Brent while living in London, and later became the scheme co-ordinator. This made her realise the need for such a programme in Sri Lanka, where the concept of family home visits for support and guidance was not widely practiced. Home-Start Lanka is still the only organisation to provide a service of this kind in the country.
Home-Start Lanka is based in the Colombo District. It operates principally through satellite schemes at three maternity and child welfare clinics. There, the GPs, midwives and other staff are briefed on Home-Start services and then Home-Start coordinators will make weekly or more frequent visits to help assess families attending clinic. Some will then receive volunteer home visits, or be referred to other specialist organisations.
Similar services are provided at the Child Guidance Centre at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital. Home-Start Lanka has also run training in Life Skills, Healthy Living and Nutrition and Early Intervention programs for disabled children. They have trained maternity (called Community Midwives) nurses to help diagnose disabilities at an early stage. Just like in the UK the Community midwives visit homes for reproductive health information and services, however they don’t deliver babies as it’s done at the hospital as per regulations. Registered families have the use of drop-in services. There has been some collaboration with health organisations to take leaflets, and other health information, in the course of family visits.
Through these programmes Sri Lanka supported 70 families, 165 children with 12 volunteers in 2015.
There were 12 qualified volunteers at year-end covering home-visits. The team celebrated the visit of the British High Commissioner, Mr. John Rankin & Mrs Rankin to the Lady Ridgeway scheme in May 2014 and a visit from the Duchess of Cornwall in November 2013 as part of the 10th Anniversary of HSL in Sri Lanka which remain a highlight. The Home-Start Lanka website was launched in December 2007 by the wife of the British High Commissioner, Mrs Jane Chillcott.