Girl from Sri Lanka with Down syndrome reunited with family

7238186-3x2-940x627A nine-year-old Sri Lankan girl denied an Australian visa because she has Down syndrome has been reunited with her family in Western Australia.

Eliza Fonseka’s father moved to Shark Bay last year after he and his wife, Shanoline, were granted temporary visas to work at a Christian crisis centre.

Mrs Foneska stayed behind in Sri Lanka after their daughter’s visa was rejected by the Immigration Department who said she was considered to be a “significant cost to the Australian community in the areas of health care”.

That decision caused outrage in disability advocacy circles.

After fighting for 11 months, last month Immigration Minister Peter Dutton intervened and grated the girl’s visa.

The family have now reunited and travelled to Geraldton, where most of their extended family already live.

“I would say we are the most happiest parents in the world right now,” said Mr Fonseka.

“Thank God for everything … finally my family is back together.”

Mrs Fonseka said she was excited about the family’s future together.

“It has been so nice to see my family again because we’ve been separated for so long,” she said.

“All of my family members — my brothers, my sisters, my mum, my nan — they’re all here, so I’m glad and very happy and overjoyed to be here.”

It is Mrs Fonseka and Eliza’s first time in Australia.

Mrs Fonseka said she already loved WA and Eliza was adapting quickly.

“I’m very happy and excited to experience more and more things,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to a great future.”

The family were keen to thank all who backed their cause, including Cricket Australia.

They plan to move to Shark Bay in the coming weeks to carry out their missionary work. (Courtesy ABC News Australia)


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