The ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative kicked off today for the second consecutive year, and 20 business leaders embarked on a 1400 km bicycle ride around Sri Lanka to raise public support and funds for children affected by cerebral palsy (CP). The ten-day bicycle tour will take the cyclists to all corners of the country and this year, all proceeds from the initiative will be donated to the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation (CPLF). Cyclists participating in the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative this year include leading business professionals Ajith Fernando, Yasas Hewage and Sarinda Unamboowe.
‘Around the Pearl’ is an initiative by ‘Wheels for Wheels’ which is conducted in partnership with the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation (CPLF) and WrooM – a project that promotes cycling as an alternative mode of transport and increases awareness of public road safety rules. The 20 cyclists will travel the perimeter of the entire island and their journey will take them from the city of Colombo to Galle, Negombo, Mirissa, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Anuradhapura and onwards. During the course of the journey, members of the public will be able to follow the cyclists and pledge donations by logging on to www.aroundthepearl.lk.
Last year, the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative raised funds for 1000 wheelchairs, and throughout this year’s journey, some of these wheelchairs will be donated to children in need across the country. Additionally, special camps to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, will be conducted in Galle, Batticaloa and Colombo. As the cyclists travel across the island, they’ll also conduct special WrooM cycling and road safety sessions for members of the local community.
Commenting on this year’s ‘Around the Pearl’ journey, one of the cyclists Ajith Fernando, Managing Director, Capital Alliance, stated, “We feel honoured to participate in the ‘Around the Pearl’ initiative for the second consecutive year. Last year’s bicycle ride was an immense success and we were able to provide 1000 children suffering from cerebral palsy with greater mobility and freedom. This year, all the funds we raise will be donated to the Cerebral Palsy Lanka Foundation which provides assistance to children with cerebral palsy across the island. The incidence of children with cerebral palsy is a high as 12 – 15 per 1000 births in Sri Lanka while it is as low as 6 per 1000 births in the developed world. There are an estimated 40,000 children with Cerebral Palsy in Sri Lanka and CPLF strives to provide as many children as possible with therapeutic assistance to improve their quality of life.”
Cerebral palsy (CP) is the term used for a group of non-progressive disorders of movement and posture caused by the abnormal development of, or damage to, motor control centers of the brain. CP is a common physical disability that affects many children and is caused by events before, during, or after birth. In Sri Lanka, CP remains a significant health problem and many parents are unable to provide adequate care for children with CP. Due to the social stigma of having a differently-abled child, many parents in Sri Lanka, keep their children out of the public eye. Additionally the lack of funds prevents parents from providing their children with adequate care and support. During the ‘Around the Pearl’ journey, the team hopes to dissolve the stigma around cerebral palsy in Sri Lanka whilst raising much needed awareness and funds to help children suffering from the disorder.
To follow the ‘Around the Pearl’ journey and pledge your support, please log in to www.aroundthepearl.lk.