Single Handed Achievement – Inspiration for All Women
8th March is the International Women’s Day. All women can draw inspirations from courage, determination of exemplary women across the globe on this day.
Bhagya Senevirathne, a daughter of a Post Master a union member of UPTO in Sri Lanka. She was a beneficiary of the UNI Apro JPGU Kanto Scholarship scheme that UNI Apro introduced in 2000 as a Union Social Responsibility [USR] initiative. The scholarship is funded through the generous financial support from Japan Postal Unions for the benefit of children of postal employees in Sri Lanka.
In 2001, eight months before her GCE ordinary level examination, Bhagya met with a tragic accident and was run over by a train on her way to school. She was fortunate to survive. But to save her life, the doctors had to amputate both her legs below the knee and the right hand. Having barely recovered from the trauma, she attempted for the GCEs in the same year of the accident using her remaining left hand to write for the examinations. She passed with flying colours.
Despite this major setback in her life, Bhagya remain determined to achieve her scholastic achievements. She went on to successfully clear her GCE advanced levels exams two years later. And having come to know of the UNI Apro JPGU Kanto Scholarship in 2004, Bhagya applied for it in the same year.
The scholarship board awarded her the scholarship based on her past exemplary results. Some members of the board, moved by her determination, galvanized their own contacts within the university she was accepted into and mobilized some of the staff and students to make the campus more accommodating to her mobility and learning needs. In 2006, UNI Apro/JPGU and partners went another step further by raising resources to import a motorized wheelchair from Australia.
With the scholarship assistance, she successfully completed her studies at the University of Rajarata in 2014. She achieved a gold medal for her academic grades and was recognized as the top student in her graduating batch. She is now employed as an Operation Executive at a leading clothing company in Colombo. She is married and blessed with a daughter.
Bhagya shared her inspiring story at the recently held 8th UNI Apro/JPGU Kanto scholarship award ceremony on 24th February 2017, in Colombo. The scholarship scheme came a long way since it started disbursing scholarships for 10 students initially in 2000. From 2016 onwards, the number of scholarships increased to 15 with increased monthly payments for the scholars for a period of two years.
Mr. M L A Haleem, Honourable Minister for Post, Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs was the guest of honour at the ceremony. Mr. Takayuki Kumoro President of JPGU Kanto led a ten-member youth delegation to Sri Lanka for the ceremony, which was graced by the Post Master General Mr. Rohana Abeyratne, Mr. Vasantha Hapuarchchi Secretary to Ministry of Post, and officials of UNI affiliated unions, parents and the scholarship recipients.
A joint forum was held to exchange experiences between the visiting JPGU youth delegation and the members of the Youth committee of UNI Sri Lanka Affiliates council in conjunction with the scholarship ceremony in Colombo.