Banu Goes to Sri Lanka!
(Picture taken at the Aga Khan Foundation in Toronto only days prior to departure!)
Hello! I hope you’re doing well :) My name is Banusha Mahendren and I am currently in my fourth year of studies at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus (UTSC) where I have been studying International Development Studies with a focus on gender and health. After completing three years of academic study complemented by various extracurricular engagements, I have been genuinely excited to get out into the field to witness and understand how grassroots development truly unfolds. While there are many places where I could be completing my ten month co-op placement, deciding to complete it in Sri Lanka was a very intentional choice for me. Although, I have never been in Sri Lanka before, it is also my motherland and I hope to learn a lot, both personally and professionally during my time here. I was very fortunate to have placements being offered through WUSC in Sri Lanka this year and I most certainly hope to make the most of my time here. During these ten months I will be working with an organization called the Women’s Development Centre in Kandy, Sri Lanka as a Gender Inclusion Program officer. In this role I will be working to develop a gender policy for the Centre, finding ways to document stories of impacted women, conducting gender sensitizing workshops with both staff and clients and developing gender training modules. Don’t worry if that sounds a little abstract. I know it does but we will figure it out as we go. I will also be conducting field research for my undergraduate thesis which I hope to complete upon returning to Toronto for my final year of studies! All of this is both exciting and overwhelming but I am incredibly grateful to have the support of people both near and far during this ten month journey. It has been exactly one month since my flight landed in Colombo, Sri Lanka on September 7th, 2016 and there is so much more I would like to share with everyone but for now I’ll leave you with a quote a dear gem shared with me, “Nothing in nature blooms all year round, so be patient with yourself.”