In a remarkable initiative aimed at ensuring the rights of children with disabilities and supporting their parents and volunteers, Caritas Sri Lanka (CSL) organized an exposure visit to the Blue Rose Special School and Training Centre in Kandy. This transformative experience unfolded on the 22nd and 23rd of November 2023, bringing together parents of children with disabilities, volunteers, and diocesan coordinators from Caritas Mannar and Caritas Kilinochchi together with the National Centre Staff.

Blue Rose Special School: A Haven for Learning

The Blue Rose Special School and Training Centre serves as a beacon of hope for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are 55 children and 8 teachers in the school. This centre caters to students with a range of learning difficulties, including autism, Down’s syndrome, and hyperactivity. Often turned away from traditional schools, these children find solace and support at Blue Rose.

The school has primary and secondary classes, a Vocational Training Unit, and various specialised facilities, including classrooms, a speech and language room, a Physiotherapy Unit, a music room, an auditorium, and separate hostels for male and female students.

The Exposure Visit

The first day of the exposure visit began with an introduction by Mrs. Namalika Dissanayaka, the principal of Blue Rose Special School. Participants were divided into five groups, allowing them to observe classrooms, interact with the students, and gain firsthand insight into the methods employed to nurture these exceptional individuals.

A highlight of the visit was an open discussion with parents of children with disabilities. Emotions ran high as challenges were shared, experiences exchanged, and a supportive community was forged and the day concluded with a deeper understanding of the daily struggles faced by these families and a renewed commitment to support one another.

The second day unfolded at the University of Peradeniya’s Gymnasium, where the children of Blue Rose Special School, parents, volunteers, and coordinators from Mannar and Kilinochchi experienced the thrill of participating in sports. Our participants were able to learn some techniques regarding the way of playing sports with children with disabilities. It was a momentous occasion filled with laughter and the joy of the physical activity.

Teachers from Blue Rose Special School delivered insightful presentations, shedding light on their methodologies and practices in working with children with disabilities. The knowledge exchange between educators, parents, and volunteers fostered a sense of unity and purpose.

The exposure visit organized by CSL has left an indelible mark on the lives of children with disabilities, their families, and volunteers from Mannar and Kilinochchi. It has not only provided a rare opportunity to witness the exceptional work being done at Blue Rose Special School but also created a platform for shared experiences, emotional connections, and a renewed commitment to championing the rights of children with disabilities.

In these two days, hope blossomed, friendships were forged, and a collective resolve emerged to build a more inclusive and supportive society for all. The exposure visit stands as a transformative power of empathy, understanding, and the unwavering belief in the potential of every child, regardless of their abilities.