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Randika Jayasinghe: Tackling Sri Lanka’s Waste Problem

Posted: 17 April 2016

Sri Lanka, Impact,

Australia Award gives Randika the experience of a lifetime and equips her to tackle Sri Lanka’s waste problem.

The Australia Awards can change your life, as Australia Awards scholarship recipient Randika Jayasinghe has found.

The PhD she earned from the University of Western Australia in 2015 has Engineering and Related Technologies has kick- started her career as the coordinator of a key development project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to develop community-based recycling businesses in Sri Lanka.

“My research interest was on a serious environmental issue in Sri Lanka, the waste problem. I found Professor Caroline Baillie and her work on Waste for Life at the University of Western Australia, and after initial communications via email, Professor Baillie was eager to take me in as her student,” Randika says.

“I come from an ordinary family in Sri Lanka, and doing a PhD in a country like Australia would not have become a reality if not for the Australia Awards.”

Randika found moving to Australia, and living away from her home and family for the first time, to be a challenging but rewarding experience.

“Australia taught me to be stronger than I have ever been before. Although I always considered myself to be an independent individual, after stepping out of my comfort zone, I experienced life differently than how it was before. I learnt to be content with myself, learnt to cook, travelled alone, learnt to do everything alone, without parental support. It was difficult at times and I would miss home, but I would pick myself up and move on with life.  Four years and three months later, I am a completely a different individual, in a good way!”

Australia’s beautiful landscape and sparse population were also a source of joy and surprise.

“Coming from a busy, populated country like Sri Lanka, the most surprising thing I found about Perth was the laid-back calm and quiet environment. I still remember the first weekend I was in Perth, I was surprised to see empty roads and was wondering why there were no people on the roads!”

Randika cherishes her memories of studying in Australia, and is grateful for the friends she has made in Australia and all over the world.

“I would like to thank Australia Awards, the University of Western Australia and the Government of Australia for this amazing opportunity. Most of all, a big thank you to each and every individual who made my stay in Australia a memorable one.”