12/01/2014, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Sri Lanka's Bible Society offers eyeglasses and blood tests to the elderly

by Melani Manel Perera
The Ceylon Bible Society (CBS) devoted a whole day to the senior citizens of Dandugama. More than 500 people took part in the activities, which included a flea market, medical visits and more. Some volunteers donated towels and clothes to the residents of the St Martin's Home for Disable Women and the St Vincent de Paul's Home for Elders.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Ceylon Bible Society (CBS), an ecumenical Christian organisation, offered a number of free services to the senior citizens of Dandugama village, including blood tests, medical examinations, eyeglasses, Bibles and basic necessities.

In a country of 21.8 million, senior citizens represent 8.7 per cent of the population. For the past ten years, the CBS has devoted a whole day to the town's senior citizens, regardless of faith, providing material and spiritual support and preparing special activities in their honour.

For the first time, this year the event was held outside the capital Colombo. According Wilakshitha Mendis, one of the CBS's directors, "more than 500 people participated in the activities and made use of available services."

Senior citizens who went to St Mark's Church, where the main event was held, were seen by the staff of Devon Pharmacy and Hemas Hospital, who performed free blood tests. Volunteers handed out 500 pairs of eyeglasses.

At a flea market set up for the occasion, people were able to buy clothes, food, linen, as well as Bibles, Christian literature and postcards.

"I came here with my sister to get our eyesight checked," said Dulic Perera, a Catholic teacher who spoke to AsiaNews. "It is hard for me to take her to the doctor on my own, but today the doctor saw us and we got two pairs of glasses. It was good service."

"They checked my blood sugar level," said Magrett Fernando, another Catholic. "It is not very good. The doctor gave me some drugs to take for the next few weeks and explained to me how to take them properly."

Some CBS members also visited the St Martin's Home for Disable Women, in Kotugoda, and the St Vincent de Paul's Home for Elders, in Nagoda, where they handed out 50 sarongs and 50 towels, provided by the Red Cross, to the residents.

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