Founded in 1964, Sambodhi is home to 47 residents, with disabilities ranging from mild mental or physical disabilities to more profound disabilities. In many ways, Sambodhi Home is truly a home; for many, their fellow residents serve as their family. They are a close-knit group of people in which many perform unique roles. Whether it’s leading the group in morning prayers, caring for others, helping to serve meals or purely getting up to mischief, there are plenty of characters with boundless energy, always awaiting a new challenge.
When visitors meet the cheerful welcoming residents, it’s hard to imagine the level of tragedy that many of the residents have experienced in their lives. Not only have many of the residents faced abandonment by their natural families, they have also witnessed the destruction of their new sanctuary and home by the 2004 Tsunami. 41 of the 84 residents lost their lives, as the waves crashed through the dormitories at Sambodhi Home. To learn more about the Tsunami at Sambodhi Home CLICK HERE
My name is Kusumalatha and I am 60 years old. I came to live in Sambodhi Home on December 26, 1980. Before I came here, I was married, settled in my husband’s village and ready to have a family. Fortune did not favour me though, as shortly I became gravely ill with meningitis. Although I survived, meningitis left me paralysed from the waist, and partially blind.
Life has offered me some harsh experiences but seems to have chosen me as a survivor. Again on my birthday, 24 years after I first came to Sambodhi Home, I found myself clinging tightly to a tree as the tsunami crashed through our home. I was one of the lucky ones, rescued before it was too late.
In my dreams I live with my family but a lack of facilities and the elderly age of my brother, make me think it is wiser to stay here. So I make the best of life and enjoy family visits and holidays at home.
I love teaching the other residents, especially the children and have a busy day normally with the garden and my handwork. I like making bags and mats.
I truly appreciate volunteers who come in lend a helping hand and support our need to be creative. Unfortunately as time passes and my eyesight deteriorates further, I know I may loose these pleasures some day……… All the more reason to enjoy it now.
My name is Lilly. Little is known about my life before I came to live in Sambodhi. My birth name and date is unknown. Lilly is the name that was given to me by my new family when I came to live here as a young girl. Those who remember when I came, guess that I must be nearly in my mid-fifties.
I love and care about the residents in Sambodhi Home a great deal. They are my life. I used to take special care of Prasanna, a young blind man, who needed my assistance daily. I called him baba, because he is like a son to me. Sadly he recently passed away. It was a very difficult time for me.
When I’m not busy helping out, I like to paint, create collages and make jewellery. I love bright colours and always make a special effort to match my clothes, hair clips, ties and jewellery.
The doctor always worries that I may be over doing it, and tells me to take things slowly. Easier said than done for a busy bee like me.
My name is Jayasiri and I will be 49 years old this year. I can’t see very well but I can make out shapes and colours. I know the sounds of different people and most of the time without having to look at all, I know who is passing by.
I suffer from anxiety and panick easily ever since the Tsunami. I used to dislike the back of the building where the old Tsunami ruin still stands. I felt unsafe. In recent years it has become more comfortable. The tsunami was a terrifying day. Even when new volunteers come to work and play with us, I sometimes feel afraid.
Kumarasiri is my friend because I trust him. We are art partners and often work on collaborative pieces like the one pictured below.
My all time favourite past time is playing ball. If there is no one around to play ball with, I enjoy lining up pebbles in the courtyard.