Bryan de Kretser, my father, if he were still alive would argue about the next comment ... 'he was an extraordinary man'...he would say that he was just a guy, doing something about the tragedy of human society - the fact that no society, either in a developed or un-developed nation does enough for it's poor and disadvantaged...so at forty eight, after a long and distinguished career in theological circles, he left a comfortable upper middle class life to start work with what is arguably the most significantly disadvantaged group in society - the intellectually and physically disabled, and in his case, children.
His plan was to take abandoned children from the hospital, bring them to a safe place he would create and give them love and care till they died. The safe place he created was 'Prithipura' close to the sea, which would play a significant role in the on-going well being of the children, close to a lake - a place of tranquillity, and since he was a spiritual man in the complete sense, this place would operate along the lines of an ashram - no religious barriers, everyone working receiving the same pay, no hierarchical structures...he achieved all this and more.
Importantly Bryan recognised his frailty and humanity - he wanted no grandiose gestures of acknowledgement - only that his work would continue and that the least loved or wanted in society would be cared for...to this end, his wife, Thillaka and my eldest brother Peter continue this work ably aided by an army of committed local people who provide around the clock care.
Since Sri Lanka is a country in political turmoil, any monies available are significantly filtered through to aid programmes, which concentrate on providing services to those affected directly or indirectly by the war, so government support is minimal. The primary source of funding comes from networks established by my father Bryan, people and organisations who have lent support financially and emotionally for over thirty years...more support is needed however and your help would be greatly appreciated.
Contributed by Cynthia de Kretser.
In the last 40+ years the Prithipura Communities has grown enormously, and is now a place well known for the invaluable services it renders towards making people with disabilities happy. Our centres today remain one of the largest and safest havens for those individuals who do not fit into the world due to their disabilities. Currently around 250 people with disabilities rely on the services of the Prithipura Communities.