Sri Lanka

Update from the Field

May 15, 2008

Michael Lear

Now in its fourth year this program continues to take on a life of its own. Our intention was to implement two trainings for therapists at Navajeevana and the surrounding communities, but the massive facilities expansion at Navajeevana and the staff now working six days a week to meet the ever increasing demands made it difficult for us to carry out group instructions and interphase with their clinic operations. Our planned activities had to be postponed until next year.

We have managed to deliver the two Massage tables donated by Oakworks Massage Tables of New Freedom, PA, and we held private training sessions for the therapists who had the time after their work to dedicate to learning more and reviewing techniques already taught.

In particular Samantha Udagama, spent over 14 hrs in private training sessions. As the lead therapist offering Trager based muscle therapy at Navajeevana, he was anxious to stay on top of his skills. The training that he has received in the past enabled him to find work at a local resort during the tourist season and secure a popular place among the European clientele. During one of my visits to Navajeevana, Samantha was treating a former patient of mine, Mr. Premadasa. Mr. Premadasa was smiling and very happy at his new found and sustained comfort.

Last year he was almost 100% debilitated with a pain level of 8 which plague his days even with out working. After treatments, the pain would return within 4 days. During this first visit, I learned that Mr. Premadasa is working hard labor in the fields for up to 7 hours and only experiences discomfort after especially long and challenging days. He remains comfortable for up to 20 days at a time even with this exponential increase in physical labor. Most importantly he is very happy, empowered by his newly regained physical strength and has a bright outlook for his future. (It must be noted here that he was suicidal just two years ago and had self admittedly purchased poison to end his life because of his pain.)

Additionally, as a result of his commitments with the Lilana Fund, a Netherlands based NGO that supports Navajeevana, he will be receiving some financial support to travel abroad and receive a formal professional certification in the therapy of his choice. Samantha chose The Trager Approach because of its efficacy with a variety of skeletal muscular conditions and as method of stress management and relaxion training, not to mention its Movement education component.

I spent a few hours with Samantha and wrote a recommendation for him to submit to the Liliana Fund for support and have offered to mentor him through the process.

I also met with Geeth Kumara, a PT student currently studying in Bangalore on behalf of Navajeevana. He expense support previously provided for by CBM has been eliminiated and now he needs to source approximately $2500 for the next three years to make ends meet.

I provided Geeth with two months worth of "pocket money" per the budgeted amount on his contract with CBM//Navajeevana and told him I would seek support on his behalf.

'Waves of Hope', American Massage Therapy Association's Massage Therapy Journal, Winter 2007 (2.5 MB pdf)

Navajeevana Project Summary (.8 MB pdf)

Team Whole Health Programs (.6 MB pdf)

RMF BWWB Complete Program (1.3 MB pdf)

Country Page: Sri Lanka Initiative Page: Physical Therapy Enhancement Training