I grew up in Nittambuwa, Sri lanka, neither country nor town, as the eldest of a family with two other siblings raised by a single mother. Ever since I can remember I was a “Head inside of a book for hours, can’t hear you talking” type of a bookworm. But I was also the mischievous, jumping up and down little girl who runs here and there and who just can’t shut up.
If you ever ask me what I wanted to be when I was a little girl, I always said “I want to be a scientist”, then in my late teen years I said “I want to work for women”. Passion for both these areas, science and community work, has been the underlying driving force of all my work.
I got my bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Technology and Management from University of Peradeniya. I chose Development communication and organizational behavior as my major. This study area was in agriculture extension side, where I studied Communication, Gender and a little bit of Sociology. Having to learn both agriculture and the sociological aspects is great strength to me, because I got to do a lot of work in the grassroot level, and understand the real scenario which goes beyond text books.
Even at the university I was engaged with a lot of gender and sustainability related activities. While doing my degree I started working with Dialog Axiata, Sri Lanka’s biggest telecommunication company on their new platform for women called “Yeheli” (https://yeheli.lk ) as an intern and eventually took control over the project as a consultant, running “Yeheli” at the mere age of twenty-five. “Yeheli” was Sri Lanka’s first trilingual digital platform (Web and App) for women to ask anonymous questions for free about their mental health, reproductive health, domestic abuse and violence and all the other topics that were considered Taboo in Sri Lankan society. I was working with hundreds of doctors, lawyers and counselors across the country training them.
This is how I entered to the world of Health and I am glad. To be armed with experience in different areas, like Agriculture, Telecommunication, Mental health and Gender, and to use the knowledge I gained to work for the grassroot levels. And ECLIPSE was perfect timing. This was exactly what I wanted to do, to work with these communities and for me to do something that’ll have an impact, for my doctoral study.
The plan is to grow with the project, just like I did with “Yeheli”. I will be focusing on the stigma associated with cutaneous Leishmaniasis in my study. I will be saying good bye to my twenties with ECLIPSE, ECLIPSE will change me, and I can’t wait to see the new improved “Me” in four years