I first met this young man, now aged 32 in October 2007 when I had a wheelchair that had been funded by someone to donate to a worthy person in Sri Lanka.
I was immediately taken with this charismatic young man – and he could speak VERY little English. I asked his sister if he had just one wish what it would be – ‘new legs Madam’ she whispered – I discretely swallowed my tears – he is good looking, clearly has many friends and yet he is denied the normal life of someone his age.
He was playing football in September 2006 with some friends on the train track near to his house. As the train noise is part of everyday life they do not notice the clatter as it roars past. That fateful day, the train had no carriages and the noise was reduced. The engine was also travelling faster than normal – he misjudged running across the track! Rasika spent 3 months in hospital.
Before his accident he was a welder – now he had NO job. He was the only source of income for the house. His father is too old and both his sister and younger brother are studying. His older sister is married. His mother has a very menial job working in a Dr’s private house – bringing in a very low salary. The family are all very thin but Rasika is quite well built and I suspect the others give him the Lion’s share of the food. I wrote about him in my Newsletter on the website and someone from America gave me 4,000 pounds to build them a new house – someone else pledged the money for the land.
I did my research & took him to the limb centre in Sri Lanka, which was supposed to be the very best place. It was instantly clear that it was not going to suffice as 2 new limbs is a huge challenge - quality needs to be spot on!
Lord’s Taverner’s, the local Guernsey branch funded an extra special strong wheelchair - which made a radical difference Rasika…..BUT I wanted to get him new legs. I contacted my friend, retired surgeon, Roger Allsopp - he promised to help me. He went to see David Hills - Director of the Dorset Orthopaedic Clinic who had agreed to help provided we could raise the money.
We raised the money in 3 months, bought him to Guernsey in April 2009 and he now has his legs and walks with 2 sticks. We have trained him to make jewellery and these products you see here are what he has made. We employ him in our workshop in Galle and pay him a salary. ALL the money from this jewellery goes to pay him a salary! The Coral Sands Hotel has supported us in this venture enormously.
Sarah Griffith- Founder