The World Health Organization (WHO) affirms that leprosy can be easily treated and cured within six to twelve  months if diagnosed in time and before deformity sets in through a course of multidrug therapy. The treatment is highly effective, and has few side-effects and low relapse rates. In addition it has no known drug resistance. At present all patients are treated free of charge by the Dermatologists at the Dermatology clinics in the Government hospitals and at the Central Leprosy clinic at Room 21 of the National Hospital, Colombo. There are two Leprosy hospitals in the country in Hendala & Mantivu where there are in house patients.   

With the aim of helping to create awareness of this dreaded disease in order to promote early detection, diagnosis and treatment of the disease and to also better the lives of those who are already affected and residing at the Leprosy Hospital in Hendala, the students of the Colombo School of Arts (CSA), a newly established international school, have initiated a fund raiser to buy electronic wheelchairs and other individually custom-made equipment for the incapacitated inmates.  

The fund raiser will be a benefit concert titled ‘SPERO – Hope for Serendib’, and will be held at the British School Auditorium on Saturday, 1st August 2015. Sitarist Pradeep Ratnayake will be joined on stage by Ananda Dabare (violin), Ravibandu Vidyapati (percussion), Sureka Amarasinghe (flute), Peshala Manoj (tabla), Suraj Gunewardena, Karunaratne Bandara (percussion) and Isuru Perera (percussion). Together, these renowned Sri Lankan artistes will recreate the magic of ‘Pradeepanjali’ in a new light. Gold Sponsors of ‘SPERO – Hope for Serendib’ are Ceyline Group of Companies, Exclusive Automobiles and Tokyo Cement Group. MTV and MBC join hands in this venture as the official Electronic Media Sponsor.

Speaking of this initiative the principal of the school Ms. Shaleeka Jayalath stated, “As the number of Sri Lankans detected with leprosy is on the rise, there is now a great need to raise awareness of leprosy and to reduce the numbers, as well as, accept and reach out to those living with leprosy. Successful treatment with multi drug therapy (MDT) can help to reduce and eventually eradicate the disease in Sri Lanka. For this we need awareness, education and constant vigilance to ensure patients take regular treatment within the prescribed period. We also need to overcome stigma and myths that still continue in remote areas. Besides, for a country with high literacy, good accessibility to health facilities and highly trained medical professionals, such diseases being rampart is unacceptable.  Hence we thought this to be an appropriate and worthwhile project to undertake as the CSR initiative of the school.  Encouraging our students to carry out annual social service projects to benefit less privileged members of our society is a part of our agenda at CSA.”

The Colombo School of Arts is a newly established, international, Cambridge-associate school that focuses and specializes exclusively on the senior school study program, where a comprehensive educational experience is offered to those who are 14 years of age and above. CSA is affiliated to the Imperial Institute of Higher Education (IIHE).