COLUMNS

When Microfinancing Drives Borrowers to Despair  

Columns
    For those struggling to make ends meet, particularly the rural poor, microfinancing is seen as a God send.  Unable to obtain credit facilities through conventional methods they see these loans with manageable repayment methods as an answer to bettering their lifestyles. Microfinancing is particularly attractive to women, especially when they do not have the collateral regular banking systems require, to obtain money for a self-employment scheme or to stabilise the financial viability of small family ventures.   But when that attractive and seemingly ...Continued

Equal Opportunities a Must for Everyone

Columns
Photo courtesy- friendsofnavajeevana.org While she told the audience gathered at the Shangri-La hotel, that evening of March 8th, that ensuring peace and harmony for all could be achieved only if such values are imparted to children very early in life, she recalled that being a special needs person, she experienced no negativity from her classmates.  De Silva had been the first student with disabilities to be admitted to Bishop’s College, College, and the school must be congratulated for the bold step it took more than ...Continued

Cardinal’s Crusade for Truth, won’t make him a Darling of...

Ying and Yang
Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith does not seem to be a happy man these days. Well, he couldn’t, could he, when he finds himself between a rock and hard place? The bone of contention is the recently released Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) report, commissioned by former President Maithripala Sirisena into the Easter Sunday Bombings, on April 21, 2019. The bombings which shook Sri Lankans to the core, resulted in more than 250 deaths, and at least five hundred being maimed, a majority of them Catholics who ...Continued

COVID-19 Vaccinations: Mixed Signals and Mixed Priorities

Columns
By Kshama Ranawana
    Confusion and miscommunication seems to be becoming the hallmark of this government. Just like the many other instances where gazettes are issued, then cancelled, prices of goods are lowered officially, but consumers are told by vendors that there is no price change, taxes removed or lowered and then re-introduced or raised, the much awaited roll-out of the National Vaccine Deployment plan too seems to be suffering the same fate. Following World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, Health officials first said the vaccinations would be ...Continued

Wake Up! It’s time for Gender Parity not Patriarchy

Columns
By Kshama Ranawana
In filing a Fundamental Rights petition against the appointment of a woman officer to the post of Acting Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), the thirty two aggrieved Senior Superintendents of Police have placed the spotlight on a glaringly discriminatory practice in the country’s police department. The petition which is to be heard on May 18 states that the appointment of Bimshani Jasin Arachchi as the Police Departments first female DIG violates the standard procedures followed in the promotion of senior police officers.   The ...Continued

What a battle to save our oxygen!

Columns
Gampaha Divisional Wildlife Officer Devani Jayathilake is one rare public servant!   She is in the news again and for all the right reasons. Unlike most public servants who are only too ready to do the bidding of their masters, whatever the legality of the matter, Jayathilake has, for the second time in a year stuck her neck out to protect the environment. This time it was to stop the destruction of a rare tree ‘Crudia zeylanica” found along the route of the Kadawatha- Mirigama expressway ...Continued

Can Cosmetic Changes Unite a Nation?

Columns
February 4th has come and gone, and Sri Lanka marked its 73rd year as an Independent country. The celebration was not as grand as other years; the organisers thankfully seemed to have taken the Covid 19 pandemic and its consequences into account, keeping to a smaller guest list and less display of military might and pageantry. Simultaneously, residents living in the East of the country began a protest march to the North of the country. Dubbed the “P to P” to denote the march was ...Continued

Standing Against Impunity!

Columns
    January is still Black! Sri Lanka’s journalists begin each year remembering their colleagues who have paid a price for wielding the freedom of the pen and other forms of expression. Some reports claim that in the past 35 years at least 70 journalists and others affiliated with the media have been killed.  Many, many others have been abducted and maimed. Lasantha Wickrematunga, Editor of The Leader newspaper was murdered in January 2009.   As well, this year marks eleven years since PrageethEkneligoda, cartoonist ...Continued

Erasure does not Bring Closure

Columns
      There was a post, more like a fence post, a silent sentinel at the main junction of my home town; a post I hardly looked at, though, tucked away in some part of my memory was the knowledge that it had been erected to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. Naturally, that junction where the post stands has come to be known as the Jubilee Post, a quiet suburb outside Colombo in my young days, though, today, falling within the jurisdiction ...Continued

Dealing with the New Normal of E-learning

Columns
      With the Covid-19 pandemic showing no signs of abating just yet, there is every possibility that school kids will be staying at home for a while more.  At least most of those residing in areas where the number of Covid cases is high will not be returning to school proper any time soon. It also means more time spent learning online. Caught unawares, Sri Lanka’s education system, like in many other countries, has not been geared to online or distance education.  Naturally, ...Continued

“Hands off Muthurajawela” – Cardinal

Columns
The Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith was in his element recently when he took up cudgels against those who are planning commercial development of the Muthurajawela wetlands. He certainly did not mince his words when he reminded government that it is only the temporary keeper of all that is public, and businessmen who throw around their might and money have no right to interfere with such resources that do not belong to them. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, January 7 the Cardinal ...Continued

Addressing Period Poverty in Prisons

Columns
That the Catholic Church has responded positively to a concern raised by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is certainly heart-warming, especially when most news one hears these days is about the coronavirus pandemic and its depressing outcomes. On December 22 the AHRC wrote to Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, drawing his attention to the plight of women prisoners and their inability to accesses sanitary napkins.  The concerns stem from a recent “Prison Study” by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka which said amongst other issues ...Continued

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