Vimochana Illam was established in December, 2011 as a social service organization, with the help of a Canadian national and a leading social worker in Batticaloa District. At the time of its establishment, the vision was to educate the public in the district on the negative effects of alcohol consumption and to run a rehab center that would accommodate at least 12 inmates and educate them over through a 42 days program. It was subsequently registered with the department of social services, under the Parliament Act.
After its inception, the Vimochana Illam center played a central role in inspiring many families in the district who had been victimized by drug, alcohol abuse and consumption. The center also initiated projects which featured visitations to villages and conducting awareness programs on the effects of alcohol, especially among low income generating families. Accordingly, many addicts who required help to abstain from consumption of alcohol were identified, along with the devastating impacts of alcohol addiction, including severe hardships, poverty, violence and hopelessness.
Vimochana Illam is headed by the Board of Directors, constituted by the president, secretary, treasurer and nine board members. These board members include professionals such as doctors, human rights professionals and a PHI Officer. The board plays an advisory role to the working director, and advises her on various levels of the organization’s operations. The founder of the organization, Mrs. Selvika, is the current president of Vimochana Illam.
The center provides 3 meals and refreshments to the beneficiaries, alongside catering to their medical needs and basic supplies and accommodation. To date, the center has successfully treated 464 patients at the center. Out of this figure, 342 of the beneficiaries joined for treatment thanks to awareness programs which are carried out by the organization. The rest of the 122 beneficiaries have been referred through the courts and hospitals. Monitoring and evaluation studies conducted by the center have revealed that 70% of the beneficiaries have adapted an alcohol free life, and their fortune and family name have been restored from high levels of poverty, abuse and social discrimination. This reflects a success rate of 70%.
The Vimochana Illam has carried out 352 awareness programs throughout the country, targeting approximately 28,000 members of the population. In addition, the center has conducted 2 awareness programs through the state television. The center also actively reaches out to the public through leaflets, talks and banners which are driven towards creating high levels of awareness. These awareness programs are conducted jointly with the Police, the Education Department, Charity Organizations, Government Officials and Religious groups.
Over 8 years later, the center has maintained its original objectives; every participant who enrolls to the center goes through a 42 day rehab program in a serene environment that is specifically built to promote tranquility and ambience. Up to date, the organization has implemented several projects thanks to the generous support from donors such as the United Humanity Canada (UHF), World Vision, ZOA, the EU and YMCA. The center has brought in many inmates and has been instrumental in championing rehabilitation from alcohol abuse, through meditation, yoga, self-evaluation studies, counseling, physio/psychotherapy, sports, home gardening and leadership training. As was during its inception, the rehabilitation center accommodates a maximum of 12 participants at a time. The rehabilitation also includes anonymous meetings. The center follows a standard well-structured curriculum for smooth transformation of the participants.
Vimochana Illam is located at No185,New Kalmunai Road, Kallady. On the gate of the premises is a simple board whose message speaks volumes on the vision of the center:
“This is a place of peace leave your ego at the gate”
Vimochana Illam runs a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addiction. It is located a few hundred meters from the Kallady Bridge on a one acre piece of land. The land is cultivated with various vegetable crops and fruits crops which are cultivated using organic methods. The location and environment provides an aura of ambience, peace and serenity which are ideal for relaxation. The participants make use of their time to engage with their thoughts and to interact with nature, which enhances the healing process and their rehabilitation back to society. The center also carries out follow-up sessions for a period after the patients leave the center after completion of the program. On the same breadth, family members are also allowed to participate in the public meetings held with the patients every Saturday evening.
In addition to the participants and beneficiaries from Batticaloa District, the organization also receives referrals from other districts such as Colombo, Trincomalee, Jaffna, and other upcountry districts such as Kandy and Nuwaraeliya. These referrals come from the police, the courts, hospitals, NGOs and women groups. There are also numerous beneficiaries who volunteer for treatment or are brought in by family members courtesy of the awareness programs carried out by the organization.