Our co-founder and co-president, Chandima (Chammi) Rajapatirana and his family lived in USA for 31 years while his father was employed by the World Bank. Chandima was diagnosed with autism at the age of four years. Back then, even in the US, autism was considered a tragic fate and some experts predicted that Chandima’s life would be spent in institutions. Today he is a published poet, an award winning author and helps run an organization dedicated to enabling people with disabilities create productive, stimulating lives. We have brought to Sri Lanka the knowledge, methodologies and attitude that defeated what was predicted for him.
Deeply dissatisfied with the standard of education in special needs schools in the US, his mother Mrs. Anoja Rajapatirana set out to learn as much as she could about autism. Many schools and home programs were trialled. And today, Chandima has beaten all pessimistic projections of his future. The key to this was “presuming competence” – which equipped his mother to educate him – and gaining a system of communication which enabled him to convey his thoughts and feelings fluently.
When Chandima was finally – after 18 years of silence – able to communicate, he wrote often about how the ability to communicate ‘eased’ his life. When the Foundation was being set-up, we decided that its purpose was to ease the life of people with disabilities. How would such lives be eased but through Education, Advocacy, Support and Empowerment? And that is what we do today.
E.A.S.E. Foundation was set up to help children as well as adults benefit from the knowledge that Mrs. Rajapatirana acquired over the years and the insider information that Chandima has about the experience of autism and disability. The family has brought all the elements of those education systems that made a positive impact on Chandima’s life to Sri Lanka. We continue to learn from leaders and pioneers in the field of disability education and inclusion.
The volunteer board of trustees at E.A.S.E. Foundation comprises people with relevant experience and impeccable reputation. Our foundation was set up with a constitution developed by a lawyer from a leading law firm. We are registered as a non-governmental social service organisation and are committed to transparency and accountability.
“Chandima is one of a handful of leading communication advocates among people with autism. He has participated as a contributing lecturer in several of my university classes and has always left the students thoroughly spellbound with his insider insights about living with autism and engaging in and helping to transform the world’s approach to difference.”
Prof. Douglas Biklen, Dean – School of Education
University of Syracuse, New York
“Her [Anoja’s] lifelong interest in uplifting children of poverty led to Children, Inc. (an organization in the US) establishing an aid program in Sri Lanka. She has extensive training in the technique of FC as well as years of hands on experience with Chandima and others. Anoja and Chandima have conducted and participated in training workshops in the US and are currently working with schoolteachers as well as non-verbal children.
Chandima and Anoja Rajapatirana are not just wonderful friends but are also trusted teachers and mentors to me as well as countless others around the world. Through Chandi’s lifelong journey and Anoja’s motherly quest to unlock his silent world, they have found not just keys to help him communicate fully but also many extraordinary insights and lessons to share with others – which they do to reach a larger mission of shifting attitudes and helping everyone realize true communication.
Whether it’s through training workshops, conference presentations, one-on-one assistance, educated analysis or via Chandi’s incredible writings or Anoja’s loving stories, they bring a real-world honesty to others while increasing hope and opportunities!”
Rosa C. McAllister, M.Ed., A.T.P.
Co-founder and Associate Executive Director
Networks for Training and Development, Inc.
Children in need are Ms. Chandini Tilekarathna’s focus and lifework. As president of the Shilpa Children’s Trust she brings years of experience and an international reputation to E.A.S.E.
Ms. Jayanthi Liyanage, combines a career with international service agencies like UNICEF with leadership positions in many volunteer service organizations. Her professional experience is an asset to us at E.A.S.E.
Mr. Sumana Liyanage is a leader in Sri Lanka’s business community and in many volunteer organizations. E.A.S.E. is lucky to have his business acumen and his commitment to service.
Ms. Hiranthi Ratnayake, Ms. Thushara Ekanayake, Ms. Shahera Omar, Ms. Prasansini Bandaranayake and Ms. Ashani Gopallawa are the young leaders in the E.A.S.E. community. Their interest in community service led them to E.A.S.E. in spite of demanding careers and young families.
Our nine volunteer trustees manage the foundation. A select group of advisors assist the trustees as needed. We are professionals with established reputations in public life and/or social service organizations. As individuals we have impeccable reputations for integrity and as a foundation we have absolute commitment to transparency.