Gayani Amarasinghe

I was brought up in Anuradhapura, a remote city in Sri Lanka renowned for its rich archeological heritage. As a child I was fascinated with the arts and technology in the ancient ruins and used to teach myself history and explore, hoping to become an archeologist one day.

 We used to live close to Anuradhapura hospital, which was the main treatment point for casualties from the raging war at that time. Listening to sirens of multiple fleets of ambulances bringing in casualties from the war or terrorist attacks on neighboring towns and feeling the dead weight of helplessness while knowing that these people are dying or suffering several meters away, was one of my worst childhood experiences. This made me give up on archeology to pursue a carrier in medicine.

I initially attended medical school with reluctance, until I found a new passion in Public Health. After my graduation and completing an internship, I joined the Department of Community Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine and Allied sciences, Rajarata University. Later I went ahead to obtain a Master’s in Community Medicine and Master’s in Public Health, with a main focus on maternal health research; especially stigma and health behaviors related to maternal mental health.

As a child there was a period I could not read or write as my peers did and drawing was my main medium of expression. As a child artist, I later contributed to several non-governmental and community organizations’ projects about building ethnic harmony among children, child right protection in the context of war, and protecting limited water resources of the city. During my medical career, I initially used arts for health education. I used to doodle or write poems when the suffering of my patients moved me. Later I experimented with arts-based approaches and interventions for befriending and resilience building in children on an individual and community level.

I look forward to working with the ECLIPSE team in a new area of health and hope to contribute my best for making a change.