Don Sanka Hasintha

The wave of fate is uncertain. It may carry you to a land or it may carry you to the deep sea.  Some obeys this tide yet some goes against it. There are people who attempt to swim against the wave and swim towards the land no matter how strongly the wave tries to carry them to the deep sea. Sanka is also one of those who are swimming towards the land although the wave is trying to take him to the deep sea.

Don Sanka Hasintha was born to Thilak Jayasiri and Nelum Sandya Liyanarachchi in February 1986 in Badulla. He was a bright student at school, and everyone hoped that he’ll become a doctor one day when he passed both Grade Five scholarship exams and Ordinary Level exam with flying colors. To fulfill his dreams, he selected biology stream for his Advanced Level. Everything was clear and perfect until he was 16 years old.

As soon as he started his Advanced Level classes, he noticed that it was hard for him to see things clearly during nights. Gradually, this weakness in his eyes grew and he was not able to see long distances during day time too. He missed all his organic chemistry diagrams on the blackboard. How could he pass AL Chemistry without organic chemistry diagrams? He could only pass the other two subjects.

Sanka realized that his dream to become a doctor was not a realistic one as he could not succeed in his AL second attempt. Although he had to let go of the dream of becoming a doctor, he reoriented his goal to become an English teacher and started following an English course. His mother, still having immense hope about her son’s future, requested him to face Advanced Level Exams in Arts stream.
He started working as hard as he could while he continued to lose sight of both eyes. According to the doctors, he was suffering from a condition called macular degeneration. Seven years passed since the day he knew that his vision is impaired and today his vision is completely blurred that he could barely read a paper.  Making his mother’s dreams come true he passes his Advanced Level that ultimately he received admission to the Arts Faculty of the Colombo University.

However, by this time he excelled at Braille and the computer keyboard so that he could both read and handle a computer. He mentioned that Jaws Screen Reading Software, made especially for visually handicapped people, helped him immensely in reading.
His hard work kept his grades up at the university.

In his second year he was selected for a course in Education Faculty due to his extraordinary performance. Yet, the lecturers were quite hesitant to give him this opportunity due to his medical condition. They thought that it would put too much stress on Sanka and that will be too hard for him to handle.

Sanka was courageous enough to take up the challenge. His significant other, Dilani Buddika, who encouraged him throughout his journey at the university, was his strength. She was his eyes when he wanted to see.

Four years he spent at the university was fruitful. He graduated with a first class becoming the first visually-handicapped student to acquire a first class. Now he has a new goal in his life. He hopes to become a lecturer and share the knowledge he posses. He currently helps out visually handicapped students by holding workshop to train them to use computers.

Wave of fate is such. It can be brutal at times and gentle afterwards. If it was gentle at the beginning it might become rough towards the end. No one can predict it. Sanka embraced it when it was gentle. And he was brave enough to fight it when it became harsh, without ever cursing it.

Translated by Kusumanjalee Thilakarathna