Rohan was a happy-go-lucky young boy who dreamed of a future in the big city one day. Tragically, he met with a life-altering accident when he was a teenager and lost his right foot as a result. RohanApart from having to adjust to a future with a life-long impairment, Rohan also had to give up on his dreams of leaving the village and travelling to Colombo in search of a job. Rohan was often overlooked when job opportunities arose, because of his disability. Even though he was faced with insurmountable obstacles, Rohan never let it disillusion him.

He met Shriyani nearly 16 years ago and today, they share a life together with their two daughters Nirosha (20) and Tharushi (15) in Katana. From the start, Rohan and Shriyani were faced with heartbreak as their first-born son was born with congenital birth defects, and was paralysed as a result. He lived in a paralysed state for nearly 23 years, with Shriyani as his primary care giver. Taking care of her son’s medical needs meant that Shriyani was unable to engage in any full-time work. Nearly two years ago, the young boy passed away due to health complications, and while they grieve for his loss, they strive to move forward in life while honouring his memory.

Rohan works as a watchman overseeing a Coconut Estate, and Shriyani also contributes in every way she can to make ends meet, by cooking homemade string hoppers to order. Rohan and Shriyani, constantly worry for their daughters’ safety and their future. Their eldest daughter Nirosha, who recently turned 21, is currently employed in a store in Negombo town. Even though she secured good results at the Advanced level examination; she gave up on her dreams of pursuing higher studies in order to contribute financially to the needs of the household. Having seen the economic hardships her parents have battled for many years, Nirosha’s only dream is to be able to provide for sister and parents, giving them a better life. She encourages her younger sister Tharushi to pursue her higher education so that she will have a chance at a brighter future.

The family currently lives in a small temporary one-room wooden shack meant to be inhabited only by the watchman of the estate. The family is forced to move whenever Rohan is assigned duties at a new estate, which has created a great sense of instability and uncertainty in their lives.

 

“Our only wish is to see that our two girls will have a safe and permanent place to call home. We never know when we will be asked to leave the estate where we currently stay. This feeling of instability is what keeps us up at night. It would be a dream come true to finally have a place to go to sleep at night, knowing that it is a place of our own.”

Rohan Priyantha

Negombo, Gampaha District