DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY To Make a Difference

Sri Lanka’s rapidly ageing population presents a myriad of social problems and these problems are more pronounced among underprivileged communities and many elders in such communities face the risk of becoming destitute and neglected.Recognizing these problems BDS has initiated a number of programs to tackle such emerging socio-economic issues faced by the elderly.

BDS predominantly implements a large number of programmes in order to improve the mental and physical well being of the elderly. As of December 2014, Berendina has developed 155 elders clubs with membership of 6,894 elders (Male 2,826 and Female 4,068). The members meet at least once a month and engage in various activities such as cultural programs, religious activities, singing and dancing competitions and “Shramadana” work.

During the first half of the year 2014 alone Berendina has sponsored 22 picnics and pilgrimages for elders, which has benefitted around 1892 elders. Berendina also conducted 12 Elders’ Sports meets with the participation of 1275  elders and also conducted 70  programs to improve the psychological wellbeing of elders, benefitting around 2712  elders. Over the years BDS has sponsored over 27,000 elders to engage in such recreational activities.

 

Support for Elders Homes

BDS has been supporting many Elders’ and Children’s Homes for the past 20 years. Most of these homes are run by charity organizations and due to financial constraints many of these homes lacked resources to provide a decent life to children and elders in their care. Since Mrs. Berendina Borst’s time, the elders in Mahaiyawa continue to get provisions for food and clothes yearly. BDS continued to assist such homes to meet their expenses for infrastructure development, income generation activities and providing other daily requirements. Homes were chosen carefully checking on their governance and management.

Name of the organization Assistance given Number of beneficiaries
Elders home Mahaiyawa, Kandy Expenses for food and clothes 55 Elders
Vipulananda Elders Home, Kallady, Batticaloa Provision of a tank, water pump for supply drinking water and assistance for planting of 100 coconut plants, provision of financial assistance for purchasing newspapers for one year 26

St. Joseph Elder’s Home, Trincomalee

Expansion of coconut cultivation and vegetable cultivation 31 Elders

Computer Training for Homes in Colombo

In 2013, BDS commenced a new project to train elders and children in welfare homes in the use of computers. Under this project, 35 elders at the St. Luke’s Home in Nawala and St. Andrews’s home in Rajagiriya have been provided with required basic computer skills.

 

BDS partnership with Better Vision and Healthy Ageing Program (BVHAP)

BDS partnered with the Burnet Institute to implement the Better Vision and Healthy Ageing Program (BVHAP) funded by the Fred Hallows Foundation in October 2012. Currently, the BVHAP project works in 13 GND’s in view of forming more than 50 elders clubs consisting of 2000 elders. These GND’s are namely; Henfold, Waltrim, Peedro, Naouaya, Bangalahatha, Toppas, Kalukele, Kalapura, Drayton, Lippakelle, Thangakelle, Nagasena, Ruwaneliya.

Currently, through this partnership BDS works with 53 elders clubs. Under the project 1200 chairs and 46 tables for 46 elders clubs have been provided. Five (5) Eldership programs were conducted in 2013 for newly established elders clubs. BDS also celebrates International Elders Day and World Sight Day in collaboration with BVHAP partners in Nuwara Eliya.

 

BMI partnership with HelpAge Sri Lanka

In 2013 BMI entered into a partnership with HelpAge Sri Lanka to provide loans to senior citizens for income generating activities.

The main objective of this partnership was to provide access to micro-credit services to senior citizens above the age of 58 or their care takers. This would motivate senior citizens to start new or improve their current income generation projects. In addition, BMI provides capacity building of senior citizens by offering necessary technical and business skills training enabling elders to make a contribution to the country’s economy. They are also able to be an example to the younger generation and thus gain respect and dignity for themselves.