He may be a person with vision impairment, but CBM supporter Prabath Wickramanayake has not held back.
Born in Sri Lanka, Prabath grew up in New Zealand, and while experiencing vision impairment himself, he gained no particular knowledge of others with a similar condition.
He attended Newlands College, a mainstream school in Wellington, where he was fortunate to develop and thrive in an environment in which he was extended, and not just in his school pursuits. With the encouragement of friends and teachers, he went horseback-riding, canoeing and hiking – not even mountains could stop him.
After completing his secondary education, Prabath studied international relations. Now living in Melbourne, he has worked in designing and developing programmes of support in many parts of Asia. For instance, he was involved in studying the housing needs of Sri Lankans after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
In his travels throughout Asia, Prabath noted that it was particularly challenging for those with disability to secure employment. But he also discovered that, rather than plunging these people into despair, such experiences fostered resilience and the willingness to make the most of their situations. In adversity they were determined to support each other and share limited possessions.
Prabath’s focus has remained primarily on the country of his birth. In 2017, he published a novel which aimed to educate Sri Lankans about the experiences and needs of those with vision impairment within the wider population.
He was asked to work on a Facebook endeavour named Power of Heart, raising awareness of vision impairment issues. Those interested are invited to join or like his project.
Prabath came to CBM on the recommendation of a friend and was impressed by the organisation’s many years of support for the world’s most disadvantaged.
His words fizz with positivity. Vision impairment, in fact the loss of all his vision, will not stop him. “Trusting your capabilities and qualities, namely, patience, determination, courage and confidence to overcome the challenges, will help you to achieve your goal.”
Prabath notes that even small contributions to CBM’s work with people with disabilities can render real change. When someone with vision impairment is provided with spectacles, they can do so much more for their community, such as helping with fetching water and gathering firewood. As he suggests, small drops of water can accumulate to fill a large tank, so tiny actions can add up to a large transformation.
We can only sincerely thank Prabath for his support and his positive outlook on life. He is focused on his own mountain goal. Let that water flow.
Graeme Turner has worked in the contact centre at CBM for more than three-and-a-half years. He uses JAWS technology to help him in his work. When Graeme is not speaking directly to donors, he is interviewing them for CBM. Why? So he can engage Australian donors in working with CBM to end the cycle of disability and poverty in some of the poorest places on earth.