Wonder Woman magazine cover and article

Web Article : https://tinyurl.com/yyjxvw9k

Original Article :

Traslation of the article

I got a lot of opportunities because I fearlessly took up risks – Poornima Meegammana
Lecturer / 3D Animator / Founder and Director – Inzperia International Private Limited / Director – Shilpa Sayura Youth Development Foundation

Poornima Meegammana is still in her youth. But, since her long journey so far is an inspiration to all the women
in this country, she joins us as the cover girl of this “Wonder Woman” edition.

The name Poornima Meegammana came into limelight in Sri Lankan Media in 2013/2014 time period. That is because of the project “Respect Girls on Internet “. This project is dedicated to preventing harassment in the cyberspace which targets girls. We received funds from an internet society ‘Beyond the Net’ grant . When we were going forward with this project, I applied for ‘Queens Young Leaders’ award and I became the runner up. More recognition for that same project came since then. In fact, this project was initiated because of a personal experience of mine.

When I was in school, I was a victim of cyber harassment. My parents are working in IT field, so they knew what to do and how to handle an incident like this. Back in 2011, there was a youth club called ‘Youth Empowerment Society’ in Kandy and I held the post of president. We were a group of young people, who joined with Kandy Municipal Council and contributed to several social causes. When I shared my experience with the youth about cyber harassment, I figured that many of our youth had no clue or knowledge as to how to handle a situation with regard to cyber crimes or cyber harassment. Back then, parents did not know much about Facebook or social media. So, most of the people chose to stay silent and not act or react when they experienced cyber harassment. That is why we initiated the project called ‘Respect Girls on Internet’. We got approval from ISOC (The Internet Society) for our project as well.

I am an animator by profession. I work on 3D, 2D animations and for that purpose, I run my own company called ‘Inzperia International (Pvt.) Ltd. Apart from that, I work as a lecturer at NIBM and AOD. I teach Animation, Visual Effects and Film. ‘Respect Girls on Internet’ and other projects I work on are done as part of my social development work. Apart from that project, I work with projects such as ‘Digital Rainbow’, ‘Girls in Technology’ and ‘NextGen’, through which we conduct special projects in partnership with schools and universities, to inspire youth, especially girls, to venture into the world of technology-related studies.

In countries like ours, there is a void of girls who choose the field of information technology. Through our projects, we did figure out that the girls in our country are somewhat afraid to indulge in technology
related education.

Also, we have identified that there is a considerable gap between university education and the demand for jobs in the market. Accordingly, we offer some vocational education to university students through ‘Girls in Technology’ and ‘NextGen’ projects. If all these take place with a vision and a proper mechanism or process, girls will step into the field of information technology without fear. The whole world faces this issue of girls not entering the world of information technology. Thus, many countries try out special projects to bring in more women into the field of information technology.

My parents set the foundation for me to enter a profession that is related to a field of technology, despite me being a girl. They adjust themselves according to the changing trends in the world. They were happy that I was venturing into the field of technology, not trying to be a traditional girl. They never forced me to take up work in the field of technology either. They gave us support to take up a field of our own interest. The reason why I got involved in social causes is also them. Even to date, my parents are directors in my company. When we were trying out different things, despite the protests against us from factions of the society, my mother and father supported with a good understanding, so that I could balance both my education and social service.

When I compare myself with other girls who are of the same age as me, my specialty is being involved in lot of different fields. Most of the girls choose to pick one field and move forward. But I work in several fields. I work as a lecturer. I am also an animator, working on films etc. I am someone who does not let an opportunity to go away from me, thinking that I cannot do that. I was never a person, since my childhood, who was fine working in my comfort zone. That is exactly why I was able to achieve in so many different fields. I got a lot of opportunities because I fearlessly took up risks.

I am 26 years old. I was able to come this far in such an age because of the blessings from my parents. Also, I always had a good team. I value the happiness I gain from doing something good for someone else, rather than the good things I do to myself. That is why I have tasted success in everything I do. I do not think I can attain happiness from anything else, when compared to the happiness I gain from doing social development work .

I have never had long term plans. But I have figured out my way of life. I do not have long term motives about where I will end up. I just plan out on what I need to do next, based on the opportunities I get. Based on the opportunities I get, I set up short term targets and work hard to do it successfully. I have the ambition to run my business successfully and make a name for it. Apart from that, I enjoy my lecturing duties too.

I work with a combination of ‘Art and Technology’. I have experienced some instances where the preconceived notions in the society about ‘things or the kinds of work girls cannot do’ came into play. But, I must emphasize that our skills and talent shall not be undermined merely for the fact that we are girls. There are plenty of examples for women who have achieved in and served the world of technology. Despite the fact that we have achieved something in this field and that we are passionate about this field, there are instances where we are neglected just because we are girls, instead of taking a close look of what our skills and talents are. We feel really sorry and upset in such instances.

The general culture in our country discriminates girls. When a girl hits puberty, restrictions on her are imposed. The society also discriminates girls when a girl’s family itself imposes restrictions on her. If girls are also given equal opportunities, nobody will be able to stop girls from reaching their highest potential.

Penned by; Nadeeshani Pathirana / Pictures; Sarasi Nethmini