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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2522

The Story Of Lalitha – plea for help

Narrated By Dr Gamini Goonetilleke FRCS - A surgeon at Army Hospital

I first met Lalitha in 1998 when she was admitted to my ward (No 8) at the Sri Jayewardenapura General Hospital. She was 36 years of age, very poor, unmarried and living with her mother. Lalitha was suffering from a very serious condition of her gullet (the passage that takes food from the throat to the stomach). Her gullet had become very narrow and as such she could not swallow any food leading to wasting of her body and malnutrition. If the problem was not corrected, death would have been inevitable. I decided to operate on Lalitha to give her a new lease of life.

The Operation

Lalitha underwent a major surgical procedure which lasted for 8 hours. The diseased gullet was completely removed. A segment of the large bowel with it’s blood supply taken through the chest was used to bridge the gap.

This was connected at the top end to the throat and the bottom end to the stomach. This will now act as the conduit to convey food from the pharynx (throat) to the stomach. She survived and went home happily as she was able to swallow food and drink once again.

Lalitha was followed up in our clinic on a regular basis. She had no money to spend for the operation (Sri Jayewardenapura General Hospital does not give free treatment). The hospital bills were settled by me using funds which I had collected to help poor patients. She has survived for 20 years after the operation.


After the operation she continued to live with the mother until the mother’s death. Following the death of her mother, Lalitha who was 45 years married Chathupala, a rubber tapper living in the vicinity. One year later she delivered their only son Kumuditha who is 10 years old now and attending school. He is in Grade 7.


They live in a small dilapidated house at a village called Akaravita. This is on the Meepe- Ingiriya road about 2 km from the main road. The house is approached via a footpath across a rubber estate. There is no public transport on that road.(see attached photos)


This family has no regular income. Chathupala (71 years) has worked as a rubber tapper and may earn about Rs 300/== on and off. He is sick and cannot work on a regular basis. In addition they get Samurdhi benefit of Rs 2000/= (not regular ) per month.


In a state of desperation Lalitha has been calling me repeatedly and asking me for help. I decided to visit the family in their humble home with some goodies. They were happy. I opened an account for her at the Peoples Bank, Handapangoda and also contributed some money towards their daily expenses. Lalitha is in a difficult and desperate situation finding it difficult to live without adequate finances especially for food and spend for travelling to school and the other expenses connected to education of her only child.

Plea for help

This is an appeal from me to generous donors to help this family financially so that they can lead a better life and also educate their child.

How can you help

1. Monthly contribution to the bank account of Lalitha Jayasinghe – Peoples Bank Handapangoda. Account no 300200150048840

2. Money could be deposited in an account in my name which I have opened to help poor patients – Dr G C Goonetilleke, Hatton National Bank, Rajagiriya, 1424 Kotte Road, Rajagiriya Account No 036020047158 (sort code – HBLILKLX )

3. Cheque can be posted to my address and the money can be sent to her account on a regular basis.

4. In any case please inform me by e mail/ phone when money is sent or deposited so that I can keep a check on the accounts.

Thank you

May God Bless You

Dr. Gamini Goonetilleke
22 Sulaiman Avenue Colombo 5
Sri Lanka
Phone – 0777 794 107
E mail –

- Asian Tribune -

The Story Of Lalitha – plea for help
Lalitha has recovered from the operation and can eat and drink. But she has no food to eat. A sad plight indeed !
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