VOF Week 2: The Journey Continues…
My journey started young, as I became fascinated with words and how powerful they were. I stumbled across a collection of Lord Tennyson’s poetry and even though I was only 12yrs, I remember being enraptured by the magic of words, a twist of phrase that could open my eyes to new ways of thinking. This fascination led to a career in print journalism, and though I’ve now moved on to the audio visual medium, I still continue to be addicted to words.
Growing up in a country embroiled in a military conflict, you see injustice, inequality and man’s inhumanity every day. I developed a social conscience early on and this was bolstered by my Christian faith, where I knew we were all created equal by God, no matter our ethnicity. I was 10 years old when violent ethnic riots took place in Colombo, now considered the start of Sri Lanka’s “war”. This was a defining moment in my life – I watched helpless and angry as marauding gangs set fire to a Tamil-owned shop near my grandma’s home, cars were stopped and set on fire, gangs of drunken men roamed the streets with sticks, clubs & knives. Ever since that day, I have never considered myself a Sinhalese, it’s not something anyone should be proud of.
Words carried me on my journey into journalism, where after a few years I became disenchanted with how words could so easily be twisted to mean something else. I watched as politics and political posturing took over journalism in my country, and decided it was time to get out, and fast!
My day job now is producing video documentaries and managing the programme work of an Asia Pacific educational foundation that works to raise awareness on issues of sustainable development and social justice. And on weekends, I volunteer my time at my church, working in ministries involving children, troubled & abused teenage girls and with widows. In both these worlds that make up my current universe, I find the power of words as strong as ever: the power to lift up a broken spirit, to give hope, to make people sit up and take notice, to be moved to take action.
My current part-time volunteer project is to gather the stories of the teenage girls I work with, their very troubled and horrific experiences at the hands of adults, and to try and make sense of what is happening to young girls in the villages and urban sprawls of Sri Lanka. Words will carry me through this too.
It was words that drew me to World Pulse. I believe very strongly in personal testimonies, and I believe that humans are pre-programmed to tell stories! I believe strongly in dialogue and debate, in allowing different opinions to be heard, but not necessarily being swayed by them!! I am also drawn to World Pulse by the sense of community that has been generated online, the bond of familiar stories, resonating words.
And so my journey continues…
Word count: 499 words