The Payagala Medical Clinic & Vocational Center
The Payagala Medical Clinic & Vocational Center was conceived and executed by Mr. and Mrs. Jay Liyanage. It was also funded through the funds raised by them both in the bitter cold months of 2004/2005 December/January where they had a collection center in Denville, NJ in an abandoned gas station. Two container loads of food stuff, medicines, tents, housing material, clothing, toys, medical gloves, kitchen utensils, wheel chairs etc etc., were sent to Sri Lanka all donated by the people of Denville and Morris, Sussex, Warren, and Bergen counties in NJ. The Denville & District Rotarians were on had to help load two 40 foot containers on a bitterly cold day to send off this material to Sri Lanka. In addition Mr. Liyanage received over twenty thousand dollars in cash and check donations which were mailed to treasurer of SLMANA Dr. Sue De Lanerolle and kept for safe keeping until a place was found to initiate the clinic and vocational center.
Dr. Sue De Lanerolle had done a laudable project namely the “Long Island Fishing Village” project in Payagala earlier. With the help of most Sri Lankan doctors on Long Island, New York, 40 homes were built on government owned land for the Tsunami affected fishermen.
Mr. Liyanage was looking for an area to put his Medical Clinic & Vocational Center and Dr. Sue De Lanerolle invited him to take the last unoccupied home on the premises. Unfortunately before she inquired the house had already been given out to a deserving villager.
However, before Dr. Lal Samarasinghe completed his Presidential term, Treasurer Dr. Sue De Lanerolle found some unused monies and they jointly decided to help build a smaller building (compared to the homes around) to help start the Medical Clinic & Vocation Center. That building is pictured on this web page That picture was taken before an extra bathroom for the patients and the plaque etc were installed, including the equipment which were furnished by Mr. Liyanage’s collection of $ 20,000.00 which the new Treasurer Dr. Malik Deen sent to the Colombo West Rotary Club.
The Colombo West Rotary is now running the project. Colombo West Rotary invited the Health Minister Mr. Nimal Siripala De Silva to open the center on April 7th, 2009. The inaugural plaque includes the names of Dr. Sue De Lanerolle and Dr. Lal Samarasinghe for their efforts to support this project.
The Colombo West Rotary Community Development Chairman Doulat Kundanmal has gone into action since the opening. He has purchased three sewing machines and initiated a six month sewing lesson courses for the idling fisherman’s wives. The medical clinic did not start up until a toilet for the patients was built. This was a request by the Director of Health Dr.Mrs Piyaseeli. Only one toilet was built originally for the doctor or the Vocational Instructor etc. Mr. Liyange hopes to provide an update on the progress of this Medical Clinic & Vocational Center when he returns to Sri Lanka in the near future.