I’m Kalingu Liyana Pathirage from Monaragala. I just finished my A/L’s last August and I’m waiting for my results. I represented my school at FLC Season 2 (2010) which was how I got involved with SLU.
My dream is to be an Engineer one day. But I love working with people. I got a scholarship to Matara Technical College last year to study Draftsman Course. Since then I’ve been drawing landscapes. I hope to show the beauty of this Island to the world.
Sri Lanka Unites is a role model to all Sri Lankans who are still refusing to let go of the past. It is the microcosm of the “Sri Lanka” I want to see. Monaragala is a predominantly Sinhala Buddhist district. I had little or no interaction with anyone from a different background. Now, after participating in FLC, I have friends from Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Jaffna and many other places. I’m still in touch with most. It was a dream come true for me.
My parents are very supportive. My mother is the vice principal of our school, and she too came for the conference. I’m not saying this is the case with everyone in Monaragala, but I think we can win them over in due time.
I am H. M. M. Aslam from Zahira College, Ampara. I’m 17 years old, and study in the commerce stream. I was a participant in FLC-3 (2011). Our school has been part of the SLU network since 2009. I was already an active member in our school chapter when I got picked to attend the Conference.
I ambition is to work in the marketing field. It is a profession where you get to meet people from all walks of life. I am personally committed to helping poor communities. I want to work for them in future. It’s very hard to bear when you see youth from poor families leave their parents in pursuit of better wages. Some of these parents are very elderly and find it very difficult to survive without their children. I’ve seen some elderly parents crawl to toilets due to their inability to walk.
Sri Lanka Unites is breaking the “us against them” type thinking. That is great. I’m also truly appreciative of the fact that Sri Lanka Unites is continuously creating opportunities for people to not just meet once, but to continue on the relationships formed. I think this is essential because it takes time to completely come out of the “us against them” thinking. I have friends from diverse backgrounds. FLC was a great learning curve in my life. I was able to get new insights on many things.
The Ampara community is highly conservative. Women find it very difficult to move around and do social work. I see these as barriers in our community. I feel that Islam beliefs are wrongly interpreted nowadays, and that has to change. But there are people here who are open to new ideas.
We have a new set of guys running the SLU club in our school now. We have whole year ahead of us I can’t wait to see what we can achieve.