Who we are

The Arka Initiative is a grassroots organisation which provides tangible and practical support on issues pertaining to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Sri Lanka. The initiative is led by a group of highly skilled, committed young professionals, who are advised by senior professionals in diverse fields.

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Our Team

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Manisha Dissanayake

Founder, Director

Manisha is an Attorney-at-Law practicing in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, with a focus on Human Rights Law, and is pursuing a masters in Human Rights and Democratization at the University of Colombo. She obtained her LL.B. at the London School of Economics and has worked in several Chambers, Law Firms and think-tanks in Sri Lanka and the UK. Manisha has previously worked on the transitional justice and reconciliation process in Government. She has also been invited to speak at various forums, including the Law Faculty and Medical Faculty of the University of Colombo and Harvard University.

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Shruthi De Visser

Director

Shruthi De Visser has worked in both the government and non-profit sector as a researcher, activist and consultant focusing on the areas of reconciliation , gender and politics. She is currently a consultant to the Women and Media Collective , where she works on the issue of Unpaid Care work. Shruthi is completing her Masters in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Colombo.

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Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya

Head of Mentors

Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya is a Medical Officer at Kings Hospital Colombo and is currently undergoing postgraduate training in Family Medicine. She was previously based in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the District General Hospital in Embilipitya. She completed her BSc and MBBS at King's College London and Newcastle University respectively. She has interned at the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka where she conducted extensive research into the use of contraception. Her research has been published widely, and includes analysis of the use of contraceptive implants and women's understanding of family planning.

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Head of Resource Persons

Dr. Sathyani Wevita obtained her MBBS at Tianjin Medical University, China along with an internship at the Tianjin medical university General Hospital. She is currently conducting medical research at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) on Dengue, TB and Covid-19 with affiliation to General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) and La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI), California.

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Tharakie Pahathkumbura

Head of Research

Tharakie is a researcher who works in community outreach through research, education and creation of accessible, safe spaces. She studied Women’s and Gender Studies (BA) at Augustana College, Rock Island, and worked at the Swenson Swedish Immigration and Research Center, and the Jane Addams’ Hull-House Museum. Tharakie now works to identify and resolve gender and sex-based issues on a societal and individual scale.

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Dilki Wijeyesekere

Head of Operations

Dilki is a Relationship Associate of Citi Bank N.A. She holds a Bachelors degree in Economics and Finance from the University of London. She has worked for Macromed, a medical equipment company that allowed her access to many hospitals and health care institutions in
Sri Lanka. She has also worked with the UNFPA for a gender based violence project as a research assistant and is passionate about creating awareness in relation to social issues.

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Natasha holds a BA (Hons) in Graphic Design from Northumbria university, (UK) and is
the creative brain behind self-titled studio
'The Nutty Designer'. She has worked as Creative Group Head at an integrated advertising agency that championed cause marketing, and has been involved in changemaking projects such as helping local social enterprise Selyn build their unique brand identity, navigating the creative communications for the Tedx Colombo events, spearheading the agency creative team for the Southbank Women
of the World Festival in Sri Lanka, designing
creative material that further pushed
the sustainability initiative by Keells supermarkets.

Natasha Tikirimali Perera

Head of Creative

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Tarangee Mutucumarana‬

Operations

Tarangee is an Attorney-at-Law and a Barrister at Law of England and Wales. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws from the University of London and has completed her studies at the University of Colombo in the field of Forensic Medicine and Science. She works as a Junior Counsel in the fields of criminal law, family law and labour law and with organizations working in the areas of women and child rights.

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Kemalie Herath

Mentor and Head of Project Adithi

Kemalie is a medical student at the Kothalawala Defense University (KDU).
She is also conducting research on gynecology and obstetrics, and is the principal investigator in a prospective observational study on neonates admitted to a NICU. She has previously been part of a family attachment program, analyzing poverty conditions and coping mechanisms in rural areas, and was an intern at the Introduction to Research at the Clinical Research Organization, Remediumone.

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Tiffahny is a law student who has recently concluded her final year examinations for
her LL.B. under the University of London
and holds  a diploma in International Relations from the Bandaranaike Center 
for International Studies. She previously worked at 'Sisters at Law',  a non-profit organization which works towards women and children empowerment, and assisted
in several pro bono cases. In pursuing 
her corporate career she has interned at NWS Holdings, an investment company,
and Sudath Perera Associates in the Corporate Department, whilst also assisting in various company closures in the Mergers and Acquisition Department.

Researcher and Operations /
Marketing & Sales, Project Adithi

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Compliance and Project Management

Nayanthara is an Attorney-at-Law, and holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London. She is currently reading for a Master of Laws degree from the University of Colombo, with a focus on Gender Justice and Women's Rights. She has worked in private chambers, for the official bar, and counts three years of experience in academia as a tutor and lecturer, for the University of London.

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Researcher

Francesca is a English Literature and Drama graduate from Royal Holloway University who currently works as a singer, BnB owner, model, and actress. Her work has included performing at the prestigious Barbican theatre in London, modelling for local brands like Selyn, and playing the
lead in 2017's short film, 'The Red Mustang'.
She is also a journalist at the Sunday Times and has interviewed poets, actors and other game-changing women such as Justine Picardie (editor of British Harper's Bazaar) and director, Phyllida Lloyd.

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Tamara has a background in Genetics
& Education. She graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Human Medical Genetics. She has previously worked in research laboratories in the field of Genetics and currently runs

a private Biology institute where she lectures A/Level and O/Level students.

Mentor

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Asma Wazeer

Creative Design/Marketing,
Project Adithi

Asma is a freelance designer/ illustrator with a background in marketing. She completed her postgraduate diploma in Marketing through the Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK & Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing and also obtained her diploma in Fashion Designing at Lanka Institute of Fashion Technology, Sri Lanka. She has over 4 years of professional experience in the apparel industry as a fashion designer and marketing executive.

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Product and Quality Management, Project Adithi

Sabreena Lahie is a chemist, and obtained her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Chemistry specialising in Organic Chemistry from University
College, London. She has worked in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry
and has now embarked on a new entrepreneurial enterprise in skincare products.

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Druvinka is a creative writer by profession, working in advertising. She volunteers
as the co-producer of "Shh the Talkshow; Talk about taboos" a youtube talk show that shines light on some of Sri Lanka's forbidden topics of conversation.
A Visual Comms and Broadcasting Graduate of University of Wollongong, Malaysia, Druvinka's work has mainly revolved around advertising and marketing communications, with a
heavy focus on cause-centred marketing.

Druvinka Karunadasa

Creative Design/Marketing,
Project Adithi

Our Advisors

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Board Director, Bimputh Finance PLC and Daya Group of Companies.

Manjaree holds a BA. in economics from the University of Durham. She also has a MSc. in Management and Human Resources from the London School of Economics and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Manjaree has worked for Global Insurance and Human capital consultancy firm Willis Towers-Watson in their London Office, and has prior experience at leading companies in Sri Lanka, such as Daya Group of companies and MAS Holdings. She currently holds the Managing Director position at Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC and is a Board Director of Bimputh Finance PLC and Daya Group of Companies. 

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Dr. Suranga Hettipathirana

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital

Dr. Hettipathirana is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital Malabe. He previously was the Resident Obstetrician at Mahamodara hospital, Galle and a VOG at the District General Hospital, Matale. He was also a Senior Lecturer at the SAITM Medical Faculty.

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Dr. Jayasinghe is a Professional Counselling Psycologist, Psychotherapist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Life Coach, educator and trainer. He is the founder / Director of  IMH, Sri Lanka. He is also a senate member and the International Academic Dean and the Director of Behavioral Sciences, Sri Lanka at The Open International University for Complimentary Medicines (OIUCM) affiliated to Medicina Alternative.
He has been appointed as an expert and an advisor to the United Nations University for Global Peace (UNUGP) in USA.

Dr. Romesh Jayasinghe

Founder, Director, Institute of Mental
Health Sri Lanka

Our Partners

We are currently in partnership with notable entities and brands both in Sri Lanka and overseas. 
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Hemas, the Dilmah MJF Charitable Foundation, Sarvodaya and Arka, reaching underserved women in plantations. 

Selyn and Arka are in partnership in providing both awareness and reusable sanitary napkins across Sri Lanka. 

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Arka was the recipient of a grant from The Pad Project and This is L., in order to purchase Adithi’s sanitary pad machine. The Pad Project is the 2019 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short, “Period. End of Sentence.,”and its mission is to create and cultivate local and global partnerships to end period stigma and to empower women and all menstruators worldwide.

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This is L. is a B. Corp certified period care brand making products free from synthetic pesticides, dyes, and fragrances. For every purchase of L., one period care product is made accessible to someone around the world who needs it. 

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