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June 19, 2018

British Sri Lankan Association (BRISLA)
The President of the British Sri Lankan Association (BRISLA), Dr Zimar Sivardeen attended a campaign launch by their affiliated charity partner Their Future Today, hosted by Sir Anthony Seldon at the Houses of Parliament last week.

The 'Hearts Beat Together' campaign was also attended by Dragons Den celebrity Patron Richard Farleigh who grew up in family style 'foster' care to become the successful entrepreneur he is today, as well as Mr Sam Cooray from the Sri Lankan High Commission, the Sri Lankan Tourist office, Sri Lankan Airlines, alongside 150 distinguished and other celebrities and professional guests who attended the launch - many offering to lend their expertise and knowledge to support the programme.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of vulnerable children living in Sri Lankan orphanages and children from the Country who are disadvantaged through poverty. The 'Hearts Beat Together' campaign aims to highlight and explain the need for alternative systems of care in Sri Lanka and the importance of establishing family-style care that will keep children out of orphanages. There is substantial evidence from studies across the world to show that institutional care in orphanages causes children irreparable long-term emotional and physical harm.

The British Sri Lankan Association has endorsed the 'Hearts Beat Together' venture, with Zimar Sivardeen stating, "We are committed to supporting Their Future Today in their vision to change the way we think about orphanage care for children in Sri Lanka. While families often believe they are doing the best for their children by leaving them in orphanages, decades of extensive international research provides evidence that living in an orphanage is detrimental to children's long-term health and well-being. Their Future Today is working in partnership with other stakeholders to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050."

Since the charity started, soon after the Asian Tsunami, Their Future Today has strengthened families in the community, supporting them to self-sufficiency and when safe and possible to do so have reunited children with their families.

It is estimated that 80% of the eight million children in orphanages around the world have at least one parent and many more have extended families. The one thing these children have in common is they want to go home - something Their Future Today is helping to happen.
Mrs Lynn Stanier MBE, founder of Their Future Today with Dragon's Den celebrity Mr Richard Farl
Mr Sam Cooray, representative of The Sri Lankan High Commission with Mrs Lynn Stanier MBE
Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of Buckingham University with Mrs Lynn Stanier MBE, Their Future Today
Dr Zimar Sivardeen, President of BRISLA with Ms Anthea Turner, TV celebrity
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