• Amber O'Keefe

The LBW Trust's Impact- Tharaka's Journey

Tharaka hails from the little village of Dikwela in the Kurunegala District. He was born with a visual impairment that has challenged him all throughout life. His vision is seriously low in daylight and in well-lit locations but becomes more manageable as dusk sets in as well as in conditions of dimmed lighting. Tharaka however persevered in his education to the extent of being the Head Prefect of his school. He went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts at the Peradeniya University in the central hills of Sri Lanka and graduated in May 2021.


Tharaka achieved all this while battling the multiple burdens of poverty as well. Not having a living father, it was his mother who supported the family working as a casual employee in a

bank office. She also had to support Tharaka’s sister, who is now 15 years of age.

In his 2nd year at University, he was fortunate to be selected to receive a sponsorship from LBW Trust through CandleAid’s education sponsorship programme. From then onwards he was on CandleAid’s radar and being a beneficiary of LBW Trust, he was able to participate in the English and Personality Enhancement Programme (EPEP) run by CandleAid funded by The LBW Trust.


During the times of COVID, his mother being laid off work, the family survived by selling coconuts that fell out of the 6 trees in their garden. Of course, they were included in the COVID assistance programmes, part of it funded by the Trust too. CandleAid has also granted an education sponsorship to Tharaka’s sister Kushmika.


Since graduating, he conducted online tuition classes in Political Science in order to enhance the family income. It was his brainchild to produce audio books of English textbooks for grades 1 to 13 and this was successfully done with the help of CandleAid and its band of volunteers who came from London, Wales, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore and Colombo. Currently CandleAid and Tharaka are awaiting the approval of the Ministry of Education to make these audio books available free to all schools in Sri Lanka.


It is with much joy CandleAid records that commencing 01 December 2021, Tharaka is employed by a leading garment manufacturing organization in Sri Lanka, Brandix Ltd as an HR Officer receiving a modest salary. He is now able to provide his wonderful mother and young sister a reasonably comfortable lifestyle. Having spent the first month at CandleAid President’s home acclimatizing to his new surroundings, he is now boarded in close proximity to his workplace. His company provides him free transport to office and back. He is indeed an example of the heights one could reach if one had the courage and the discipline to overcome life’s challenges. Yet he is the first to acknowledge that he could not have done so without the unstinted support given by The LBW Trust and CandleAid Lanka.











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