Jetha Devapura, a Sri Lankan Australian, had a vision to transfer best practice health care from Australia to Sri Lanka.
He established the CCC Foundation (Courage, Compassion, Commitment), a Not For Profit organisation, to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and technology between Australia and Sri Lanka in the field of paediatric oncology care.
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute (now the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) and Royal Childrens Hospital (RCH) in Melbourne partnered with the Foundation to provide training to medical staff at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) In Maharagama, Sri Lanka.
This best practice transfer was the first of its kind between the hospitals.
As a flow-on result, CCCHouse, a 190 bed cancer transit home for patients at the NCI, was built to assist cancer patients from rural areas. In effect, CCCHouse is Sri Lanka’s equivalent of Australia’s Ronald Mc Donald Houses, a place close to city hospitals where children from rural and outer city areas can stay while they are being treated. Prior to its existence, patients would often sleep on the floors of corridors or under beds, placing them at greater risk of infection because of their already depressed immune systems.
The transit home is the largest facility of its kind for children and their carers as well as adult outpatients with cancer in Sri Lanka.
Here’s a link to an audiovisual of the facility: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSkKZftF9d4
The total cost of building CCChouse was approximately AUD$1.6 million. It was built entirely from donations and is run by a voluntary committee with minimal staff to run the 24/7 facility. To help raise funds to maintain CCChouse as a world class transit home facility the CCC Foundation runs various fundraising campaigns and events throughout the year.
It really is heartening to see what a common vision and a creative fundraising team can achieve. Turn on the news and you are bombarded with so many disheartening stories. But, I LOVE the compassion, empathy and drive behind the CCC Foundation. Humans looking after each other. Heartwarming. Hopeful.
The other focus of CCC Foundation is CCCline, a free and confidential telephone counselling service, not dissimilar to Lifeline in Australia. In fact CCCline is a member of Lifeline International. Telephone counsellors from Lifeline Hobart volunteered their time to travel to Sri Lanka to train the CCCline telephone counsellors.
The ultimate aim of this project is to prevent suicide in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is placed in the top ten highest suicide rates in the world. The CCCline was started in December 2009 and today they answer over 2000 counselling calls each month from people all over the island.
According to founder Jetha Devapura, the two main challenges facing CCCline are promoting its toll free 1333 phone number across the island and also maintaining its 6 lines with trained volunteer counsellors.
One way they promote the 1333 phone number is through the 1333Bikeathon “Out of the Shadows” campaign. Running for its third year now, it is an annual 1,333 km cycle ride across Sri Lanka to promote the 1333 toll free number operated by CCCline. Elevating awareness within the country has also been made possible via a key partnership with cricketing star Kumar Sangakkara, who is the ambassador for CCC Foundation.
’Results have been very positive with call spikes to 3,500 during the month of the campaign’, highlighted CCC Foundation.
1333Bikeathon 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vLN3VzWlE0
CCC Foundation are now currently developing a program for Sri Lankan schools that encourage students to talk about their concerns in an open and safe environment, building resilience and empowering students to resolve their problems in a constructive manner. This program will be piloted in a few sites around the island in early 2017.
Generosity and Giving are catching. Some people, like Jetha Devapura, have an inexhaustible passion for serving others. Lots of other people, like myself, are attracted to that energy and want to connect to something beautiful in a world with lots of ugly.
So that’s why I’m writing this. To promote hope. To bring awareness to small organisations like CCC Foundation that are making a difference. To elevate humans who have a heart to change someone’s world for the better.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” (Dr Seuss)
For more information about 1333Bikeathon Out of the Shadows, Sponsorship Packages, Registration or CCC Foundation projects, please contact Jetha Devapura on +61438007930