Supply of medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital – Part 2

During her recent visit to Sri Lanka, Mrs Gayani Senaratne, APSL Membership Secretary, visited Anuradhapura hospital accompanied by her husband Mr Upali Herath, on 28th October. The purpose of the visit was to deliver the remaining medical equipment that was not available for delivery during Mr Silva’s visit.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Gayani and Upali met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake and his medical staff and presented them with the following items:

  • One infusion pump
  • One Syringe pump, and
  • Five digital blood pressure monitors.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

They spent about an hour being shown around the OPD (Out-patient Department) and wards and saw for themselves the multifunctional patient monitor donated by the APSL in use.

During their visit they also saw a young man from Nuwara Eliya who had been a soldier stationed in Jaffna for several years seriously ill with CKD. They also saw a number of local children  aged 15 -16 years who were affected by CKD, which now seems to be crossing the geographical and age boundaries.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Thanks to the donations from the APSL and other charities the vital medical equipment needed is now in place.   At the end of their visit Dr Rajeewa who was leaving for Medawachchiya to run his screening programme drew their attention to the next priority. Once discharged from hospital the patients need to attend the hospital twice a week to undergo monitoring and dialysis. While the government has promised to increase the monthly allowance given to patients from Rs 500 to  to Rs 2000 per month when this would come into effect remains unclear.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Therefore a monthly donation of Rs 5000 given directly to patients to help with the transport costs would ensure that they attend hospital without fail to continue to receive the vital treatment they need after being discharged.  Whilst the hospital is able to release patients’ details whilst in hospital, they are allowed to release them once they are discharged with the patients’ consent. So if you are able to support a CKD patient with Rs 5000 per month towards their transport costs, please get in touch with our General Secretary – Dr Mahesh de Silva and we will do the rest.  Finally, the CKD unit at Anuradhapura has launched a website to keep the donors updated of their ongoing needs.  You can access the site at:

Finally, I would like to thank everyone – members and friends who attended our 10th anniversary dinner dance and through their generosity supported this very worthy cause.

Report by:
Mervyn Silva,
APSL President,
10 November 2014

Read Report Part 1

Supply of medical equipment to Anuradhapura Hospital – Part 1

During his last visit to Sri Lanka, APSL President, Mr. Mervyn Silva, visited Anuradhapura Hospital on 25th August and met with Dr. Rajeewa Dassanayake, his medical colleagues and nursing staff.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The purpose of this visit was to:

  • hand over a multifunctional patient monitoring machine bought with the funds raised during APSL 10th Anniversary event, which was gratefully received,
  • learn more about the work going on with increasing numbers of patients with kidney disease, and
  • find out how APSL may be of help in the future.

The hospital is faced with the serious situation of patients with kidney disease, presenting in ever increasing numbers. There are theories as to cause/s, but as yet no definite reasons have been found.It is possible that there are multifactual causes, rather than one main cause, making detection difficult. It appears that more females present in the early stages, and more males in the later stages of the disease.

A study has shown a 22% infection in Badulla, 18% in Polonnaruwa and 15% in Anuradhapura.

The epidemic appears to be more prevelant in low income families many with poor hygiene facilities and often social problems.  The average household income among the dialysis patients was found to be Rs14,700 per month. Patients who are diagnosed to have reached advanced stages of kidney disease receive an allowance of Rs.500 per month from the government.   The hospital has 4,000 registered patients and 4 satellite centres, staffed by junior doctors. The treatments carried out includes assessment in clinics, dialysis to clean the blood, and kidney transplants with follow up care. All treatment is free but the biggest cost to patients is in travelling to the hospital or clinics, which could be as much as half a households income.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The first floor at the CKD Unit  is the hemo-dialysis ward, the second floor has separate male and female inpatient wards, and the fourth floor  is the peritoneal dialysis ward ( through the stomach). The transplant unit can treat up to 1 patient every 2 weeks with kidneys coming mainly from family members, some from monks for altruistic reasons and some from deceased people.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

According to Dr Rajeewa, one of the main problems for the hospital is facing is the low staffing levels. At the time of the visit, there were 6 doctors doing the work of an ideal number of 18, and therefore having to work extremely long hours, often doing a weeks work within one day! Also nursing staff numbers are low, ideally more trained nursing staff are needed. In spite of these difficulties, to their credit, amazing work is continually carried out, with only one complaint in 3 years!!!

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

Because of the large numbers of patients attending the clinic, often as high as 130 – 140 per session, a more effective management system is needed, where  information and possibly educational input is clearly and effectively displayed, so the whole assessment area can operate more efficiently and smoothly and increase the level of patient care that all staff are working so hard to achieve.

Anuradhapura Hospital Renal Unit

The mulit functional monitoring machine donated during this visit was purchased with the funds raised at the APSL’s 10th anniversary dinner dance.  They will enable the staff to monitor patients on the wards more accurately.

In addition to this monitoring machine, Dr Rajeewa and team have requested a syringe pump and an infusion pump to help them administer drugs more accurately to the transplant patients.  They also asked for five digital blood pressure monitors that would help them measure patients’ blood pressure faster and more accurately. Being more portable devices they would also come in handy during the outreach screening programmes.  Mr Silva promised to send these items through the next APSL representative to visit Sri Lanka.  [Arrangements were being made to supply these items using the remaining funds at the time of writing this report.] 

As with all hospitals, there is an ongoing battle with infection and much work needs to be done in trying to educate and change peoples attitudes towards standards of hygiene. However, during the visit, the hospital appeared very clean, all credit to the wonderfully hard working staff.

Mr. Silva thanked  Dr. Rajeewa and staff for their warm welcome, for giving up their valuable time to show them around the hospital and for the detailed level of information which was shared.

Report by:

Mervyn Silva,

APSL President,

10 Sept 2014

Read Report Part 2

APSL Scholarship Scheme Launch

During the 10th anniversary celebrations held in June 2014, APSL announced its intention to establish a scholarship scheme to support bright but needy school children in Sri Lanka. Making that noble intention a reality the APSL Scholarship Scheme was launched on Saturday the 25th October, at the Grange City Hotel, London attended by APSL members, their families and well-wishers.

View scholarship-launch-photos

The proceedings started with the APSL president Mr Mervyn Silva welcoming the guests and giving an overview of the events leading up to the launch. The speaker of the day, was Professor Terrence Fernando, Director, THINKlab, Salford University who initiated the scholarship scheme.  He started his presentation by sharing his own life story with the audience. He referred to the influence others had on his formative years, such as his school experiences, teachers and friends. In explaining his own motivation to study, he described the impact he had in growing up in a family of seven children, the support and encouragement he received from his family, especially from his father. Together with what he described as ‘luck’, he has been able to reach his full potential and pursue a very successful career.

Prof. Fernando’s aim is to establish a vehicle for providing scholarships to gifted children from low income families in Sri Lanka.  It is based on his childhood experience in growing up in a low income family with friends from similar backgrounds.  The saying ‘Much is expected to whom much is given’ is what is motivating him to give something back to his home country of Sri Lanka, in the form of the scholarships. .

He believes that there are many Sri Lankans who have gone through a similar experience like himself and understands the need for supporting children who have the potential to become future leaders and contribute to the society with their knowledge and skills.  He would like to see it being developed into a sustainable scheme so that it can continue to grow over time by attracting funds from like-minded individuals. He hopes the scholarship scheme will offer others like him in the UK and elsewhere the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children to reach their full potential through education.

APSLs vision is a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, where Sri Lankans from across the world who have realised their true potential, help the future generations in turn help others to realise full potential.  Prof. Fernando identified with this vision and felt as a UK registered Charity with considerable experience and expertise in delivering relief and development aid, APSL was the right partner to work with in realising his vision. He remarked that this was the start of the journey and concluded by presenting APSL president with a cheque for £1000 as the initial sum to get the scheme started.

Five children had been selected with help from Prof. Fernando’s sister-in-law for the award of scholarships at the launch. The five children, two boys and three girls, and their families who were presented with a letter of confirmation of the support they will receive. They joined the proceedings from Sri Lanka over a Skype link and a very fruitful interaction between them and the audience took place.

On closure of the Skype call, scholarship committee member Ms. Buddhini Liyanage presented how the scheme would work in practice, monthly and yearly grant amounts and how individuals could support the scheme. To support her presentation a flyer was circulated among the audience, giving a basic introduction to the scheme.

Mervyn Silva then opened the floor to discussion and questions, and some very useful comments were made, with some promising avenues for sponsorship and a pledge to fund a child from one of the attendees.

The meeting ended with an air of excitement at the potential for creating wonderful opportunities by this scheme. APSL immediate past president Mr. Rohan de Alwis gave the vote of thanks.

A special thanks to the members of the scholarship committee: Mr. Mohan Siriwardena, Ms. Buddhini Liyanage, Mr. Thushara Madurasighe, Mr. Suraj Wijendra, Mr. Leslie Dep and Mr. Rohan de Alwis and General Secretary Dr. Mahesh de Silva for all their hard work leading up to the launch.

The second half of the event was a seminar on changes to UK pension regulations and the opportunities this offered.  This delivered by Helen Morris, Senior Financial Advisor, Holborn Assets – the sponsor of the day,  and Laurence Lancaster, Group Tax Counsel,  The Sovereign Group. Among other things it covered topics such as:

  • What budget changes are in April 2015 & how they can affect UK schemes
  • What are HMRC Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme
  • How pension Benefits are paid tax free
  • How 100% of the pension asset passed to your beneficiaries
  • Protection from further changes to UK pension legislation
  • IHT Liabilities

Those present raised many pertinent questions, at the end of the presentations, Mr Gihantha Jayasinghe thanked the speakers on behalf of the APSL.

Report by: Mervyn Silva, 12 November 2014

APSL 10th Anniversary Celebrations Report

APSL celebrated its 10th Anniversary in grand style with a Symposium followed by a Dinner Dance held at the Grange City Hotel, Tower Hill, London on 21st June 2014.

Celebrating the tenth anniversary in the United Kingdom for a Sri Lankan Association is a very significant event and therefore this year the APSL executive committee decided to allocate all the proceedings from this event to a selected project for alleviating the Chronic Kidney Disease in Sri Lanka.

Both events were well attended by the members, their families and well wishers.

The occasion was graced by the presence of Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs in Sri Lanka (a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and a past Patron of APSL) and His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis, the current High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom and the current Patron of the association.

Symposium – Achievements Sky is the Limit

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Mr Mervyn Silva (President, APSL) welcomed the attendees and moderated the Symposium with Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary, APSL).

The Symposium  was addressed by the following three eminent Sri Lankan professionals who have reached extraordinary heights in their careers.

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Professor Terrance Fernando – Director of THINK lab at the University of Salford
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Professor Mrs. Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam – Consultant Vascular Surgeon, The General Infirmary, Leeds, Honorary Professor, Division of Surgery and International Services, University of London

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Professor Chnadra Wickramasinghe – An internationally renowned Astronomer and Honorary Professor and Director of the Buckingham centre of Astrology at the University of Buckingham.

In line with the theme of the Symposium the speakers gave highly inspirational accounts of how they were able to achieve such heights in their respective disciplines and the work they are currently engaged in their respective fields.

The interactive Q&A session at the end of the presentations gave the audience an opportunity to ask several questions in relation to their speeches.

During the Symposium the following APSL project Leaders also gave presentations on their respective projects outlining the work done so far and what is planned in the future.

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Mr. Rohan de Alwis (Immediate Past President) – “We Sri Lanka” . This project focuses on the reconciliation between the Sri Lankan communities living in the UK and Mr. De Alwis gave an account of the many events carried out under this project since the commencement of the project in 2010.

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Professor I M Dharmadasa (Past President) – “APSL Awards Scheme”. Professor Dharmadasa explained the two APSL Awards Scheme projects carried out in Sri Lanka by APSL to date; The essay competition on ‘How to develop Sri Lanka’ for school children and the competition for  proposals on the theme ‘converting green energy ideas into green products’.

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Mr Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer APSL) – “Eastern Values – Living in the UK”. Mr. Madurasinghe outlined the objectives of this project, where speeches targeted to second or third generation Sri Lankan children on how to lead a successful life in the UK while preserving the Sri Lankan culture and its values. He also gave a brief account of the events held to date mainly at the Birmingham Jethawana Buddhist Vihara.

Dinner Dance

The Symposium was followed by the highlight of the 10th Anniversary Celebrations, the grand Dinner Dance to the music of the most popular band in the UK – “Sky High”.

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The evening event began with the welcome address by APSL President Mr Mervyn Silva, who gave an account of the work carried out by APSL during the past ten years fulfilling the objectives of the association.

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Mr. Mervyn Silva’s speech was followed by the keynote address by Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne. During her speech she thanked the APSL for inviting her for this important occasion and praised the work done by APSL over the past ten years for the benefit of the Sri Lankan community in the UK and also in Sri Lanka. She also mentioned APSL is unique in comparison to other organisations due to the diversity of the membership and the demonstration and maintenance of very high standard of professionalism in all its activities. She also gave an account of the development work undertaken by the current Sri Lankan government under the leadership of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka and requested APSL to join hands with the government’s development programmes in whatever way taking the country forward to the next decade as a developed country.

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His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis also addressed the gathering with his inimitable style and he also praised the good work done by the APSL for the benefit of the Sri Lankans here in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. Furthermore he expressed his continuous support to the association.

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Maintaining the theme of the event on supporting a project to alleviate the Chronic Disease in Sri Lanka, Mr Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary) gave a presentation on the current status of this disease, the projects which can help prevent this disease spreading further by providing purified water in the affected regions and how to support the people suffering from CKD and their families. CKD is a killer disease rapidly spreading among the farming communities in the districts of Anuradhapura, Medawachchiya and Vavuniya and requires immediate and effective assistance from everyone to completely eradicate this problem.

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A novel idea of a “Dutch Auction” conducted by Mr Ranjan Perera (a Vice President of APSL) was highly entertaining with the participation of everyone for raising significant amount of funds for the above cause. In addition, the raffle draw organised by Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary) was also successful raising  a record amount of funds.

The members and their guests were treated to a sumptuous authentic Sri Lankan dinner and special thanks go to “Sky High” for their beautiful lively music keeping everyone on toes until very late into the night.

  • APSL wishes to thank the following sponsors who supported our event by      providing adverts for the souvenir or raffle draw prices; Trico Freight, UK
  • Glen carriers, UK
  • Nandy and Co Solicitors, UK
  • Magna Arts, UK
  • Lewke Printers, UK
  • The Royal Calibre Group of Companies of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom
  • John Keels Residential Projects (Private Ltd), Sri Lanka
  • Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka
  • Inforgrid Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka

We also wish to thank the following local media for publicising the event adverts.

  • Newslanka
  • Sesatha Web
  • SL Events Web
  • Serendib News
  • Lanka Times Web

With great pleasure we wish to offer our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who attended both events and especially to Her Excellency Mrs Kshenuka Senewiratne who came all the way from Sri Lanka accepting our invitation to attend this event showing her admiration and  appreciation to APSL.  We also wish to offer our thanks to His Excellency Dr Chris Nonis for attending both events and for supporting APSL events over the years.

Finally many thanks to the 10th Anniversary organising committee lead by Dr Andrew Nayagam (Past President) ,Dr Mahesh de Silva (General Secretary) and Mr. Thushara Madurasinghe (Treasurer) for all the hard work carried out with the fullest corporation and support form all other members of the executive committee to make this event a very big success in achieving the main objective of the event.

Article prepared by Leslie Dep (Immediate Past General Secretary)

View Sysposium photos

View Dinner Dance photos

Ask the young professional event

The Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) held a further “Ask the Expert” Presentation titled “Ask the Young Professional” on Saturday 15th March at the ‘Il Botacio’ Hall at the European School of Economics in Grosvenor Place , Hyde Park, London.

The Speakers were all young/new generation of professionals, considered as ‘rising stars’ in their respective professions. They were Asaf Bakeer Markar, Paola Bethmage, Sudantha de Silva and Dinu Senadheera. Dr Mahesh de Silva, the newly elected General Secretary of APSL presided the event.

Asaf Bakeer Markar was the first to present to the well attended audience on “Management Consulting – an insight”. Asaf dealt with his own experiences on the forward path of his professional career after graduation and the projects he has dealt with and also led. He also examined the benefits of being a Management Consultant and the career opportunities available to new entrants.

Paola Bethmage’s presentation on “Challenges in gaining graduate employment” was specifically aimed at the young graduates looking for their first break in their careers. Paola, who is a Marketing & Student Recruitment Officer at the European School of Economics was best suited to ‘talk to the hearts of young graduates’ spoke about the need to get involved in work experience, involvement in charity work to show candidates are able to socially interact and many more interesting aspects an employer would wish to see in their endeavour to select the ‘right candidate’.

Sudantha de Silva, an Architect made an interesting presentation on how people perceive architects, where the majority of the ‘one off’ projects are carried out without professional in-put from an architect. Sudantha presented interesting facts form a survey which showed among others that 72% did not know architects were able to prepare and submit planning applications. He also highlighted the entry requirements and the 7 year training an architectural student had to undertake before becoming a fully fledged professional.

Dinu Senadheera, a Solicitor at Shanthi & Co Solicitors in London brought the interesting event to a climax with his presentation on “Legal profession and how it works” with analysis on the UK Court System, prospect and the risks of litigation, the startling fact that there was very minimal representation of ethnic minorities in high judicial posts.
Following individual presentations, there was a group Q&A session where the audience was able to ask many questions from the panel of speakers.

Dr Asanga Fernando, member of the executive committee proposed the vote of thanks to conclude the proceedings followed by refreshments.

Students Day 2013

A joint student event organised by the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK (APSL) and the Association of Sri Lankan Students UK (ASLS), was held on the 19th October 2013 at the Sri Lanka High Commission, London.

The main objective of the event was to welcome the new intake of Sri Lankan students to the UK universities and to give them an opportunity to meet Sri Lankan professionals for a networking session and also to listen to a few important presentations with respect to living and studying in a new country.

The event was held under the patronage of H.E Dr Chris Nonis, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the UK. Mr Neville De Silva, the Deputy High Commissioner was also present.
It was a full-house event presided jointly by Mr Mervyn Silva, President of APSL and Mr Mithila Wegapitiya, President of ASLS, in the presence of nearly seventy five students and many members of APSL.

The event started off with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp and a welcome speech by the APSL President, followed by a talk on the objectives of the event by the ASLS President.

The following presentations were given by members of the APSL, which were carefully selected to cover many important issues relevant to students during their study period in the UK.

1. Life in the UK – Mr Rohan De Alwis (Immediate Past President APSL)
2. Cultural Difference – Prof I M Dharmadasa (Past President APSL)
3. Studying and Working in the UK – Regulations – Ms Ruki Pinidiya (Solicitor)
4. When things go wrong – Dr Anya Perera – (Past Ex Co member APSL)
5. Career Development – Mrs Gayani Senaratne (Membership Secretary APSL)

H.E Dr Nonis in his speech welcomed the new batch of students and gave a glimpse of his study days in the UK and stressed the importance of making use of the time they spent here and do well in their studies to further their career prospects and offer their knowledge and services to the motherland.

The highlight of the event was the “Speed networking event” participated by all present giving everyone an opportunity to get to know each other during a given period of time.
During the Q&A session, Dr Kokila Waidyaratne, Minister for Education at the High Commission, gave a brief account of how the High Commission can assist the Sri Lankan student population in the UK.

The event came to a close with concluding remarks made by Mr Mervyn Silva and Mr Mithila Wegapitya and the vote of thanks given by Mr Malinga Ratwatte, Immediate Past President ASLS.
In conclusion APSL would like to thank H.E Dr Nonis and Mr Neville De Silva for their presence at the event and Mr Herath, Minister for Cultural Affairs at the High Commission for making all the arrangements to hold this event. We also wish to thank the speakers, all members of the APSL and ASLS and finally all the students present at this very successful event.

APSL Awards Stage II

 

Competition Held in Sri Lanka for Converting Green Energy Ideas into Green Energy Products
(GEIs to GEPs)
The APSL held the second successful stage of the “APSL Awards Scheme  with a competition to submit project proposals to convert green energy ideas (GEIs) into green  energy products (GEPs). The deadline for the submissions was 31 December 2012.
Fifteen submissions were received from participants all over Sri Lanka and the  results of the competition were announced at the Annual General Meeting of the APSL held on 27th April 2013 at the City Grange Hotel, London.11176642

The award ceremony was held at the National Science Foundation Auditorium in Sri Lanka on 7th August 2013.  Chairman NSF-Prof. W. L. Sumathipala, Director NSF-Anusha Amarasinghe, and Director IFS-Prof. C.B.Dissanayake, participated as the Chief Guests. Director IRD Dr. Athula Sumathipala, Prof. I.M. Dharmadasa,  Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy and Dr. Chesmal Siriwardhana represented the APSL UK.
The APSL Awards Stage 2 was an island wide open competition to generate bright ideas/proposals in the clean  energy sector, and to select the most promising ideas, by an eminent body of scientists and introduce these  selected projects to funding bodies, local industry and the Government Ministries to further develop these  ideas/proposals, guide & nurture, incubate and scale-up, for possible manufacturing and marketing the final  products in future. The competition was widely publicised by the Sunday Times, Lankadeepa and Veerakesari  papers (Sponsors for publicity in Sri Lanka) and open to all Sri Lankan citizens living in Sri Lanka and abroad
without any age restrictions. Final assessment selected four winning ideas for awards, and each winner received a Rs25, 000 cash prize,a trophy and a certificate from APSL.

The winning project proposals;
Mrs W. P. Somawathie, c/o (Mr W.G.Ariyawansa) Ranrasa Products,Food drying and packaging centres round the country.

Mr Lal Wickramasinghe
: Hemp (Pan) Industry Centres,–commercialise traditional hemp products

Mr N Geekiyanage- : Durru-Maduru-Mosquito repellent from betel leaves and solar energy

Mr M Hettiarachchi-: Lquid manure from leaves and power generation from sticks.

The three runners -up;

Mrs Sumana Dissanayake -: Cottage industry using Vetakolu fibres

University of Moratuwa-: Sustainable city development & bio-gas project

Mr M Siriwardane-; Milk production centres for food and manure production and job creation round the country.

The awards ceremony included a lively discussion between the academics, scientists, entrepreneurs, award
winners and the general public on various nationally important green energy related topics and problems faced by
small -scale green energy industry.
During the discussions, it was clear that there are three different categories of research;

BlueSky Research, Applied Research and Knowledge Transfer Research Programmes. The first two categories can take decades of
research activities to see any impact on people’s lives. However, at present Sri Lanka needs urgent attentions
from the third category activities; Knowledge Transfer Research Programmes, for immediate jobs and wealth
creation to contribute to the rapid economic and social development of Sri Lanka.
This competition was purposely designed and carried out by the APSL-UK to fulfil this most necessary requirement.
The awards event was organized through joint collaboration of the APSL,-UK, NSF, IFS and IRD.


Finally APSL would like to thank Prof Dharmadasa (Project Leader) and his team, the sponsors for publicity, NSF,
IRD, IFS and most importantly the participants for the successful completion of the Award Scheme Stage II
project.

APSL Awards Stage I

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The APSL-Awards scheme was introduced in order to positively contribute to the sustainable development of Sri Lanka. The first stage of APSL-Awards in collaboration with the Institute of Research and Development (IRD) was introduced in July 2010 in order to get active engagement of the general public with the Sri Lankan Government’s rapid development process. Sixteen to nineteen year old pupils were invited to write an essay on the five most important issues relevant to the development of their districts, after discussions with their relatives, teachers and colleagues. The island-wide essay competition was widely publicised by the Sunday Times, Veerakesari and Lankadeepa newspapers, and submissions closed on 31st December 2010.

A good response was received as 110 essays were submitted from 19 districts. The first stage of the assessment was carried out by teachers at the National Institute of Education (NIE), and the best 20 essays were forwarded to the APSL Committee in London. The second stage of assessment consisted of three independent examiners for each essay and a professional examination board took place to determine the winners. Eight finalists were selected from all three media (Sinhala, Tamil and English) and the following adjudged winners.

Name of Winner School

English:

Mr Shehan Mohammed St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy

Tamil:

Miss Thamodhiram Ghaanaroobini Sri Ganesha Tamil Maha Vidyalayam, Koslanda

Miss M H Farina Hasna St. Joseph Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Kegalle

Mr V. Kobishanth St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy

Sinhalese:

Miss E M T Eshani Ekanayake Ibbagamuwa Central College, Kurunegala

Miss H A K Eshani Hettiarachchi D S Senanayake Jathika Pasela, Meerigama, Gampaha

Mr T H Maduranga Talakotuna Vijitha Madya Maha Vidyalaya, Pulasthigama, Pollonnaruwa

Miss R D E Muthumali Wijendra Ibbagamuwa Central College, Kurunegala

The Award Ceremony took place at the conclusion of “Solar Asia 2011” Conference held at the Institute for Fundamental Studies (IFS) in Kandy during 28-30 July 2011. The proud winners with their parents and teachers joined over 125 participants of this international solar energy conference.

Each winner collected their trophy, a framed certificate and Rs 10,000 cash prize in a ceremony in the presence of a learned scientific community boosting their confidence for rapid progress in their chosen fields. The winners were congratulated by a large group of international scientists after which they faced the photographers including a group photograph with these distinguished guests.

The ideas that came through the grass-root level are extremely important and interesting for the rapid progress in sustainable development of Sri Lanka. These ideas will be widely disseminated in the future for the benefit of all concerned.

APSL is currently designing the second stage of APSL-Award scheme in order to convert bright and innovative ideas into manufacturing of useful products to help communities.

APSL was represented by its Immediate Past President Prof I.M. Dharmadasa, Vice President Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, and two members, Mr Ajith Weerasinghe and Dr Chesmal Siriwardena. Both IRD & NIE were represented by Dr Godwin Kodithuwakku, Aruna Walisundara, Charmali Jayasinghe and Dr Anushka Adhikari.

The APSL & IRD gratefully acknowledge the support of the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (www.iciafs.org), the generous contribution of Rs 25,000 made to cover expenses of preparing trophies and certificates for the winners in this essay competition. Our grateful thanks go out to IFS and Solar Asia 2011 organisers led by Prof C. B. Dissanayake and Prof Lakshman Dissanayake for their invaluable contributions to make this Award Ceremony a success.

Research Symposium 2

APSL Convention – Research Symposium (APSL-RS 2012)

The Second APSL Research Symposium (APSL-RS 2012) was held on Saturday 17th November 2012 at Double Tree by Hilton Sheffield Park Hotel in Sheffield. APSL-RS 2012 provided a platform for UK based young Sri Lankan and international researchers to come together, share knowledge and start effective collaborations. It was also an exciting opportunity for the delegates to learn about cutting-edge research and technologies.

Since its launch, APSL-RS 2012 has attracted significant interest from Sri Lankan researchers around the UK. Following a comprehensive review process, 19 papers were selected for oral presentations and posters, giving attention to social and commercial benefits of the research projects.

APSL-RS 2012 host, Prof. I. M. Dharmadasa, welcomed the guests at the start of the proceedings, while APSL President, Mr. Rohan de Alwis introduced numerous projects in the UK and Sri Lanka and the events organised by APSL for the Sri Lankan professional community in the UK.

The symposium consisted of three sessions.

Session One

Prof. Dharmadasa and Dr. Mahesh de Silva co-chaired this session on engineering and the built environment research. Prof. Dilanthi Amaratunga, Head of the Centre for Disaster Resilience at the University of Salford, delivered a keynote speech ‘Rebuilding for Resilience: Reconstructing Infrastructure in the North and East of Sri Lanka’ commencing session one.

Other presentation included ‘Electroplating of semiconductor materials for photovoltaic and optoelectronic device applications’ by Obi Echendu, ‘Innovations in lightweight structures & electric propulsion in aviation’ by Asela Jayampathy,

‘Process capability maturity modelling in the construction industry’ by Mohan Siriwardena.

‘Satellite link availability enhancement by integration of time diversity in the 2nd generation Digital Video Broadcasting system for Satellite (DVB-S2)’ by Leshan Uggalla.

Session Two

The poster session  which included posters entitled ‘Challenges faced by the steel industry’ by Amal Karunathilaka,

‘Development of ZnTe layers using electrochemical technique for applications in thin film solar cells’ by Fijay Fauzi,

‘Solar villages for sustainable development’ by Ajith Weerasinghe,

‘Reducing the scarcity in mental health research from low and middle income countries: A success story from Sri Lanka’ by Chesmal Siriwardhana and ‘Reforming higher education to contribute to lifelong learning in the built environment’ by Mohan Siriwardena.

Session Three

Dr. Andrew Nayagam, Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust and Dr. Mahesh Nirmalan, Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine at University of Manchester co-chaired session three on medical, biological sciences and chemistry research.

Dr. Mahesh Nirmalan delivered the opening speech.

Session three presentation topics included ‘Assessment of Mental Health and Physical Wellbeing of left behind family members of international labour migrants:

A national comparative study in Sri Lanka’ by Chesmal Siriwardhana,

‘Structural Insights into the Initiation of DNA Synthesis in Eukaryotic Replication’ by Rajika Perera,

‘Evolution of human conserved non-coding elements (CNEs)’ by Dilrini De Silva and

‘Enhancement in Photoelectrochemical Properties of Microwave Treated Zn(OH)2, TiO2 and Fe2O3 Electrodes’ by Nirmal Peiris.

At the end of each presentation, delegates had the opportunity to ask questions and share their knowledge with the researchers.

Following the conclusion of session three Prof. Dharmadasa launched his latest book ‘Advances in thin film solar cells’ and the attendees had an opportunity to win a copy of the book.

APSL President, Mr. Rohan de Alwis awarded certificates to contributing presenters. The Symposium Chair, Dr. Mahesh de Silva thanked all those present and invited the delegates to join APSL to strengthen the association and expand its activities.

The Social event started around 7pm. A message from His Excellency, Dr. Chris Nonis, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK was read by the APSL President. Delegates and the many new guests then went on to enjoy a Sri Lankan dinner provided by East and West Restaurant, Sheffield, followed by an interactive  musical experience provided by Dr. Ruwan de Soyza, with a raffle organised by Mrs. Gayani Senaratne. A surprise guest of the night was Mr.Bill Forbes, a veteran UK bases singer.

Mr. Mohan Siriwardane, APSL Membership Secretary, delivered the vote of thanks, with special thanks going to APSL members Lal and Mangalika Jayawardane for their support in organizing the event, followed by the national anthems of Sri Lanka and UK to end a highly successful event by APSL.