Priskila Arulpragasam

Priskila Arulpragasam - 2016 Nominee
Position: Trainer Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Organization: Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka
Doing training with young people on SRHR and an Advocate for safe abortion rights at her age is a representation of the new generation of family planning leaders. She gives SRHR voices to the youth. – Tom Oludhe, Founder and Executive Director at AfyaElimu Community Based Organization
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

Panelist at the “We hear you” “Say it Right” Sign Language Glossary and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights terminology guide a joint project by UNFPA Sri Lanka, Family Planning Association Sri Lanka, Y PEER Sri Lanka and Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka. I also was a part of developing the above materials, in the process of this I worked with young people with hearing disability and other authorities.
I conduct training for young people from around the country on SRHR
I advocate for safe abortion rights in Sri Lanka and am in the process of Developing an advocacy video and doing a survey among young people to find their perception and attitude towards abortion.
Volunteer of Family Planning Association Sri Lanka here I work with many young people to make an impact

What sparked your passion for family planning?

I am a young girl from an ethnic minority in Sri Lanka, coming from a very conservative family background I saw that women suffered alot due to the patriarchal ideologies in society. When I was thinking of how I could do something small to change this I was introduced by a friend to SRHR and then I realized advocating for SRHR will be the best I could do to make an impact and empower women in society and to teach men to respect women. So I started to work towards this goal.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

The biggest challenge was my family background. As a girl from a conservative family talking about sex in public is seen as a disgrace to my family, and I was scolded and mocked for this. But I always stood strong and explained my dreams to my mother who understood me and stood by me at all times. Whenever someone made fun of me I explained the reality and then they were speechless. I worked hard to gain more knowledge and insight in to FP related issues and this gave me confidence.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

Biggest FP challenge in my country is the lack of awareness and the social stigma. Many young women are kept away from the topic of sex till they marry which makes them vulnerable and motivates them to seek information from unreliable sources, the lack of CSE for young people is the main reason for this. Teaching young people about their bodies and to respect the body of another is very important. CSE should be included in the school curriculum.

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I want to reach out to rural and poor women who face many issues because of the lack of information on SRHR and help them to empower themselves. I want to conduct training on SRHR for young people and advocate for safe abortion rights and rights of women. I want to work at the grassroot levels to create change and impact lives.

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