2015 LankaCorps Fellows

November 28, 2015 —

LankaCorps is a unique opportunity for young leaders of Sri Lankan heritage to professionally engage in social, cultural, and economic development activities in Sri Lanka. The program aims to foster the involvement and understanding of young members of the expatriate Sri Lankan community who have limited in-depth experience with the country of their heritage. Each year, The Asia Foundation selects an outstanding group of LankaCorps Fellows to live and work for six months in Sri Lanka, granting them the unique chance to “explore their roots while giving back.”

Five young women in traditional Sri Lankan dress and one young man pose and smile at a gathering

Nithya Thiru
ThiruMs. Nithya Thiru is a US citizen from Alaska. She has a bachelor’s degree in History with minors in Political Science and French from the University of Alaska. Thiru has a background working in media and journalism.

She is based at Verite Research Pvt Ltd and is part of the Communications and Media Team. Her duties and tasks include supporting awareness and dissemination of research in terms of converting written research into media releases and scripts for radio news, producing podcasts and short videos on key research. Thiru will assist and support research-based events and activities on history and politics, media and information, and gender and justice.

Sanjay Pathmanathan
PathmanathanMr. Sanjay Pathmanathan is a Canadian citizen. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in Mental Health and Philosophy. He has a background in the public health sector and in mental health services.

Pathmanathan is based at the Foundation of Goodness (FOG). His tasks and duties include conducting capacity-building programs in the North and the South, relating to mental health, English, photography, IT, children’s activities, village heartbeat project, diving and swimming. He will work with FOG on project management, fundraising, leadership, and event-management-related programs and contribute to the organizing of the annual FOG events such as the Murali Cup and the International Tuk Tuk Ride. Pathmanathan will carry out work related to the North Development Initiatives and the Sustainable Income Generation Initiatives within FOG.

Ruvani Fonseka
FonsekaMs. Ruvani Fonseka is a US citizen. Fonseka graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in History and Science and has a master’s degrees in Public Health and Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley. She has experience working with social justice initiatives, mainly focusing on domestic violence. She is based at the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) and at Women In Need (WIN), carrying out duties and tasks co-related to both organizations. Fonseka is supporting Post-war Development by designing a research project, writing literature reviews and reports.

She is also involved with Infrastructure by assisting and identifying, collating, and reviewing literature on the equity and inclusivity dimensions of urban infrastructure development and writing a literature review that will be fed into the CEPA background paper. She will also assist with CEPA’s Annual symposium in terms of organizing, managing workshops, following up on papers and presentations and coordinating logistical requirements. Fonseka will carry out research and advocacy programs and publish articles for CEPA and WIN on gender equity-related topics and will work with WIN on report writing, case studies, project proposals, and position write-ups.

Jessica Uthayakumaran
UthayakumaranMs. Jessica Uthayakumaran is a Canadian citizen. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Health Studies. She has a background working in the public health sector with clinical experience in social development and mental health. Uthayakumaran is based at the Family Rehabilitation Centre (FRC). She will assist with analyzing the progress of the clients of the FRC clinical database and provide support to the clinical team by developing training manuals.

Her work will include working with the psycho-social workers during monitoring visits to the Regional Centers, participating in workshops and providing practical training and awareness sessions on selective topics with the support of the clinical team. Uthayakumaran will also support the project staff with awareness programs planned in the North and the East, such as preventative programs, forum theaters, observation and report writing and will support the Colombo staff on day to day activities related to FRCs core services such as clinical supervision sessions and proposal writing, as FRC is presently going through a strategic change and will be incorporating sexual gender-based violence survivors into the target category.

Suram Edirisinghe
EdirisingheMs. Suram Edirisinghe is an American citizen. She graduated from Clark University with a bachelor’s degree in International Development and Social Change with a concentration in Gender Studies. She has experience working in local community health based initiatives and field research. Edirisinghe has expressed an interest in pursuing a career in nursing.

She is based at Emerge Lanka. Her key tasks and duties include working on The Life Skills Curriculum Development program and to identify ways to enhance learning and streamline activities and to contribute to develop the next edition of the Life Skills curriculum based on a list of changes and updates that need to made as well as changes identified in person through workshop attendance and to develop an “Instructor’s Guide” to the Life Skills program. Edirisinghe will support with refining monitoring and evaluation systems and the “Community Fund” Project principles and work with the teams to oversee the translation of final curriculum translated into Tamil and the translation of workbook modifications into Sinhala and actively contribute to Emerge Lanka‘s public presence through strategic networking and community engagement.

Rapti Ratnayake
RatnayakeMs. Rapti Ratnayake is from South Africa. She has a Law degree from the University of Edinburgh. Ratnayake has experience working as a legal intern and assisting lawyers with social justice initiatives.

She is based at International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES). Her key tasks and duties include carrying out research and activism programs based on their ongoing post-war recovery, gender and justice projects, assisting with coordinating and managing the current projects on inter-religious harmony, women’s livelihoods in the North, urban displacement and inequality, and transitional justice work. Ratnayake will be exploring research options on women and disability and domestic work and contribute to policy dialogue and reforms, initiatives on archiving and memory, develop a new intervention area for ICES and present a working paper on a related topic.

Related programs: LankaCorps Fellowship Program

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