"Dreams are beautiful when you can see them. As a woman, do you dream only when you close your eyes? Believe me, try seeing dreams in your real life when you are awake.”
Eshani Diluka is a Mapping Specialist and Data Manager for the World Mosquito Program in Sri Lanka.
Her entire week is spent doing things related to the field of mapping. Eshani travels five hours a day to work for the program and on weekends she attends classes for her postgraduate studies at the University of Peradeniya, specialising in GIS and remote sensing.
“Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, shaped by culture, respect for others and a rich tradition of hospitality,” she says. “I am from a society in which nothing is offered easily. You must work on that through dedication and hard work. Since I was old enough to decide how my life should be, I always wanted to be involved in what I like. That is how I became involved in the field of mapping and it’s why I joined the World Mosquito Program.”
In recent months, the Sri Lankan dengue epidemic has emerged as a serious public health concern. According to figures released by the Epidemiology Unit of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Health, nearly 100,000 cases were recorded in 2019, almost double the 51,000 cases reported in 2018.
The World Mosquito Program has been working to engage with the community in Colombo to raise awareness about its intervention. The level of acceptance in the city means plans are in place to release Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in 2020. And it’s women like Eshani who are leading the charge.
Eshani Diluka is proud to be setting an example for women in her community. She is driven by the opportunity she has to do work she enjoys.
“Do you ever give up on your dream of doing what you like because of society - because of what others think of you when you enjoy what you like? That is the biggest challenge we women face when growing up,” Eshani says.
“It is tiring physically being involved the whole week. However, when you start enjoying what you do, believe me, you never get tired. Sometimes it’s hard. Difficult to face when it affects you mentally rather than physically. You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
Learn more about our work in Sri Lanka.