The Sunday Island

A collection of articles I wrote for The Sunday Island, a weekly newspaper I interned for during my time in Sri Lanka.

Experiencing three days of the Esala Perahera: Kandy’s magnificent sights and hidden stories

The Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the oldest and most awe-inspiring Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka. Perahera loosely translates to pageant, which comes from the Sanskrit word ‘parihara’, a ritual that involves the parading and display of sacred objects. In Sri Lanka, the Esala Perahera has come to represent a grand procession that occurs over a series of days.

Sri Lankan society should help change attitudes surrounding youth leaving care: SOS Children's Village Says

It’s a small village, situated on the outskirts of Piliyandala, about 20 kilometres south of Colombo. The architecture is decorated with bright colours, walls adorned with child-like paintings and messages of hope. There is a distinct warmth and vitality to the environment, as a familiar sense of belonging hangs in the air. It feels like walking into a family home. To these children, it is home.

Ahaspokuna: A Bush-Walk Oasis

I am travelling on Ahaspokuna, Sri Lanka’s first and only bush-walk and camping experience. The name itself has significance in the Sinhalese language, as "ahas" means "sky" and "pokuna" means "pond" or "pool". This is in reference to the nearby lake, which is situated in the hills and fed by rain waters. Its shore was also the site of a former settlement; however the jungle tide has washed away these bygone days to give way to a unique wilderness retreat. The area, steeped in rich history of the Kandyan Kingdom and the subsequent colonial invasions, is today the site of a holiday experience like no other.

SOS Children’s Village developing support systems for youth leaving care

SOS Children’s Village in Sri Lanka has called for support from the government and private sector to help develop support systems for youth leaving alternative care. A ‘Speak Out’ session was held on Thursday at Waters Edge to provide a public platform for past SOS youth to share their experiences of leaving care, as well as opening up the room for discussion. Past SOS children called upon industry leaders and politicians to provide additional funding for preparation services and aftercare support to better equip youth in childcare for independent living.

There could be more than 1,000 cases of undetected HIV in Sri Lanka – Dr. Iyanthimala Abeyewickreme

One of Sri Lanka’s top venereologists and former regional adviser on HIV for the World Health Organisation throughout the South East Asian Region, Dr. Iyanthimala Abeyewickreme, has called for greater awareness surrounding HIV in Sri Lanka. Dr. Abeyewickreme delivered a passionate speech at the 27th Susan George Pulimood Memorial Oration, which was held at Visakha Vidyalaya, one of Sri Lanka’s most respected girls’ schools. The oration was titled "Thirty years into the HIV epidemic in Sri Lanka: Achievements, Challenges and Perspectives," which addressed the contemporary issues surrounding HIV and AIDS in the country.