Sri Lanka’s ‘King of Baila,’ the London – based superstar, flies
to Australia in March, to headline a prestige black tie dinner in Sydney. The
dinner is a fundraiser in aid of children with autism in the island of Sri
Desmond de Silva will be backed by the highly acclaimed Raddy Ferreira Orchestra
known in Australia as one of the finest, swingiest and most versatile dance
orchestras. The exclusive dinner will be held on the 31st of March 2006 at
Oatlands House, 42 Bettington Av. Oatlands 2117. The Oatlands House Functions
Centre is situated in Sydney’s Hills and Hawkesbury region – located in the
north west of Greater Sydney.This will be the first occasion of a fundraiser in Australia – in aid of
children with autism in Sri Lanka. According to the Autism Awareness Campaign
Sri Lanka there are 38,000 autistic children on the island. The vast majority
have no access to education, health, specialist speech therapy and respite care.
Life is a huge struggle for autistic children in Sri Lanka. There is a lack of
awareness about the condition and due to culture many of these children are kept
at home. The Autism Awareness Campaign Sri Lanka have appealed to the President
of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse to provide public services for all people with
autism and Asperger’s Syndrome on the island.
The campaign has the backing of some of Sri Lanka’s well known musicians, among
them: Sunil Perera and the Gypsies, Mignonne Fernando and Nimal Mendis.
Desmond de Silva is one of Sri Lanka’s leading musicians – he has popularized
Sri Lankan baila music all over the world and has appeared as far afield as Los
Angeles, New York, Melbourne, London, Auckland, Dubai, Bahrain, New Delhi and
Desmond de Silva created history by being the first ever Sri Lankan musician to
appeal on behalf of people with autism in Sri Lanka at a concert held at the
BMICH in Colombo.
De Silva received a standing ovation when he told the audience of thousands at
the BMICH: ‘Autism is a neuro-developmental disorder affecting so many around
the world. Autism is not mental illness, these children and adults think
differently. Albert Einstein they say was autistic. How many in the audience
know that there are 38,000 autistic people in Sri Lanka? So we as entertainers,
urge you all to ‘speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.’ Lets
spread awareness of autism, particularly when numbers of autistic children are
rising and we urge our government to also provide public services – who knows we
may even produce Albert Einsteins if we provide education, health, specialist
speech therapy for autistic children in our lovely island….’ said De
Many more Sri Lankan entertainers are scheduled to join the campaign and support
the message that people with autism in Sri Lanka need help. The Autism Awareness
Campaign Sri Lanka have urged western philanthropists and NGOs to come to Sri
Lanka and build Autism Units and equip them with badly needed sensory rooms and
other equipment in order to help children with autism. Teachers also need
training in educational strategies – but funding is needed.
For further details of the Desmond de Silva Concert for Autism, held in Sydney,
Australia, please access the website:
[Photo: Courtesy Sunday Observer].