Help this family with Multiple Sclerosis stay in New Zealand after 8 years of paying taxes

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  • Dinesha and Sam Wijerathne have been in NZ for 8 years, paying their taxes and contributing positively to the community
  • They are both skilled workers and are NEEDED in Queenstown, where there is a serious skill shortage
  • The Wijerathne boys – aged 11, 10 and 8 – attend Queenstown Primary School, where they are regarded as excellent students. Two made it to the recent finals of the Otago-Southland Spelling Bee. They were invited to sit Australian academic exams.
  • They are swimmers and cricketers, playing for the Queenstown Club where dad Sam coaches. The children are doing well at school and know no other life. They go to church every Sunday.
  • It wasn't an easy life. The Sri Lanka-born parents have worked long hours as a chef and a taxi driver in one of the most expensive places in the country to support them and their mother has developed health issues. But it is better than the life they left behind eight years ago.
  • In 2014, Dinseha slipped on the floor while working and was later diagnosed with a lumbar sprain. Despite the pain in her leg, she continued to work while awaiting treatment but in January 2015, continuing problems forced her onto ACC. In May 2015, she had a brain scan and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
  • Dinesha had good health before coming to New Zealand and clear medical reports before and at least two years after applying for residency
  • The community value this family and do not want them to leave

  • It would be inhumane to send them back to Sri Lanka where the children have no friends and Dinesha will not get the healthcare she needs as her medications are not available at public hospitals. 
  • Due to the delay in processing their immigration documents, the family have already been subjected to enormous stress and their well-being has been compromised
  • They need to be treated with compassion and an urgent exception be made so that the family can return to normal life. They need to be granted Permanent Residency: access to healthcare, education and an opportunity to work and support their family.
  • Sampath Wijerathna came up the hard way. From the time he first started working he used to say that he will uplift his family from their hard life. He started working to help his father feed his family. Now he has his own family and faced with more complicated issues. I hope and pray that the good God above will guide his family and give him and his wife Denesha all the strength and courage to carry on and take care of their three sons'.


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