President promises school admission to boy shunned for ‘having AIDS’

Mother waits in vain for the school to admit her childPresident Maithripala Sirisena has assured a mother in Kuliyapitiya that he will get her son admission in a school after he was forced to leave his school over claims he has AIDS.

Rehan Dilshara, the five year old son of Chandani de Soyza is unable to get admission in any school in Kuliyapitiya because of an unfounded and persistent rumor that he has AIDS.

After the media turned the spotlight on Chandani’s plight, and she filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court, President Maithripala Sirisena called her on Saturday to assure her that he will put Dilshara in a school, the New Indian Express reported.

But it is not going to easy, said Ranjan Ramanayake, Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment, who visited the mother and son in Illukhena, their village.

“What if the parents of other children protest as they did in every school the mother had approached in the past month?” Ramanayake asked.

The Bohandiya Primary School at Illukhena had turned Dilshara out because the parents of 179 other children had vociferously protested against his admission. They showed scant regard for a certificate from a government doctor saying that he is not HIV positive and that his father had Sepsis Tuberculosis and not AIDS.

When Chandani faced the problem of parental opposition in all other schools in Kuliyapitiya, officials suggested that she try her luck outside Kuliyapitiya. But she was too poor to shift residence.

Meanwhile, Trinity College, a Christian school in Kandy, and Zahira College, a Muslim school in Kurunegala, offered Dilshara admission.

“But the mother is too poor to shift to Kandy or Kurunegala. The boy might get hostel accommodation but it will not be good to separate the mother and the child,” Ramanayake told Express.

Meanwhile, offers to take charge of Dilshara have come from Europe. “ Unlike us, they care for AIDS patients,” the Minister remarked. (Colombo Gazette)


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