2021 Sep 24
What’s your view on Sri Lanka today? The land of sunny beaches, lush green rainforests and cold mountain ranges? Or the pandemic-hit nation strapped to an economic electric chair? Well if you aren’t a time traveller, chances are it’s the second. Let’s be honest, Sri Lanka is a struggling nation. However, there is a ray of hope. Innovation is not a new concept to the Sri Lankan mind. We have achieved great heights because of our pursuit of innovation. Yet these stories are often hidden from the public eye. So lets take a look at the bright minds that will shape our future!
During the eternity known as the pandemic, products like masks, gloves and sanitiser became essential. These have become hygienical needs of the contemporary law abiding citizen and the medical professionals who strive to fight this disease.
Nilupul Senevirathna and Kanchana Arunakumara had identified this and were working on a prototype to make hand sanitising easier. They were promoting their prototype on social media when they received a call from a doctor regarding this, and their paths changed. They now sought to revolutionise the whole process of hand sanitising.
Enter the Automated Hand Sanitiser. A machine that is portable, rechargeable and fully automatic that has been employed in hospitals throughout the island. The duo developed this with extensive research and feedback from doctors and medical institutions like the Panadura Base Hospital. Although getting some parts were quite problematic, they have persevered with the help of the Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC). Now with their company Robotechnica, they aim to produce more innovations for a better Sri Lanka.
Let’s not step out of the medical field just yet. During her tenure as a nursing officer at the National Institute of Dialysis and Transplantation Unit in Colombo, Anuruddhika Jayarathna noticed something very peculiar. As a nursing officer, she had to visit patients who had to wear long term urinary catheters and she had noticed that most of them were suffering. Not only because of their physical condition but their mental condition as well.
Concerned about the mental health of the patients, Anuruddhika dove into researching a way to make lives for patients easier and figuring out an alternative for the existing external catheter. For this, she has come up with a concept known as the External Public Bladder Hanger. This is a much more cheaper and easier to conceal type of urinary bladder that would improve the daily lives of patients who are in need of these types of devices.
While her project is still undergoing development, she also has had to face obstacles like sexism and a significant lack of funds. This is despite the fact that she holds a bronze medal at the Geneva International Exhibition. She hopes that one day she will get the support she needs in order to produce these devices.
Now, to jump overboard the medical sciences and into education! How much do you think a single pen weighs? On average it’s about 6 grammes. We usually think nothing of it, do we? But according to a study conducted by the Ministry of Environment within public schools, 80 kilogrammes worth of pen tubes were discarded every day. A shocking amount indeed. After hearing of this, father-daughter duo Sugirthan and Christina set upon a journey to change the future of this island 6 grammes at a time.
The plantable pen is a type of pen that has been constructed with biodegradable materials. This is an extremely eco friendly alternative to plastic that can take an enormous amount of time to degrade. The benefits of this pen are twofold. One is its biodegradability and the other is its ability to give back to the environment by being able to grow plants. Thus, the earth is relieved of its plastic burdens while also having the opportunity to nurture new plant life.
Sugirthan and Christina did have their setbacks. But their drive and determination led them to new opportunities. Now with both local and foreign help, they have founded a brand called “The Creator” and have begun mass producing these pens to make the world a better place.
All of these innovators went through massive hardships and obstacles to get to where they are at now; be it prejudice, a lack of knowledge, a lack of materials or even the pandemic itself. But they have done it. Their vision and ideas are here. And to do that, they had to start simple and think outside the box, draw or write their ideas down. They asked for support and feedback and responded accordingly. They adapted. Just like we must too.