Help is on the way to assist Nova Scotia families with the cost of their children’s wheelchairs. Applications are now available for the children’s wheelchair recycling demonstration project. The province is providing $500,000 and the program is being administered by the Abilities Foundation of Nova Scotia. “This program provides important support to help families cover the cost of wheelchairs, to meet the needs of their growing child,” said David Morse, Minister of Community Services. “The Abilities Foundation is an experienced partner, and we appreciate their support in delivering this service.” The program provides wheelchairs to children 18 years of age and under who need a chair for the first time or who have outgrown their current chair. A steering committee of representatives from community organizations and the Department of Community Services will monitor the program and participate in its evaluation. “We’re pleased to help make this vital program available to families in Nova Scotia. From experience we know that covering the costs of a wheelchair can be very challenging,” said Tom Merriam, president and CEO of the Abilities Foundation of Nova Scotia. “We are heartened that the government of Nova Scotia has provided this funding and recognized this is an investment in the development and independence of young Nova Scotians.” Eligibility for the program and the amount of any possible family contribution are based on family income. Eligible children will be offered a wheelchair to meet their specific needs based on the assessment of an occupational therapist or other medical professional. In addition to new chairs purchased for the program, recycled wheelchairs will be offered to provide assistance to as many applicants as possible. Applications and more information on the program are available from the Abilities Foundation of Nova Scotia on the website at www.wheelchairrecyclingprogram.ca or by phone at 902-453-6000.
The Magistrate also ordered that public notices be issued in all three languages to ensure than anyone who has more information or wants to give evidence in the case comes forward. The international police INTERPOL has been asked to assist in the investigations into the Matale mass grave, the Matale Magistrate said today.The Magistrate said this when the case into the mass grave found at Matale last year was taken up for hearing once again today. Meanwhile another 22 petitions were filed today in relation to the case.Over 150 skeletal remains and human bones have been unearthed from the mass grave in Matale. Forensics had determined that the remains were of those killed sometime in the late 1980′s and the area has now been marked as a crime scene. The Magistrate said that INTERPOL assistance had been sought and once that is obtained then DNA tests will be carried out on the skeletal remains found at the grave site. At least 10 skeletal remains were first found from the site near the Matale hospital in November last year by construction workers when land near the hospital was being dug-up to construct a new building. Following police investigations excavation work began to look for skeletal remains at the site and more remains were found.The JVP had demanded that the government carry out investigations on the mass grave following fears the remains maybe that of JVP members or supporters killed during a 1987-89 insurgency.The UNP, which was in power during the 1987-89 period, said it will back an independent investigation into the mass grave. The UN had also been called to assist in the investigations into the mass grave. In a written statement submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, ahead of the 22nd session last March, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a nongovernmental organization, had said that the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances should, through their experts, study the situation and the conduct of inquiries relating to the remains of the 200 or more persons found in Matale and assist the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these inquiries meet international standards. (Colombo Gazette)