Rural Knowledge Centers of Sri Lanka

In Memory of Pushpa Rekha
Raju Pushparekha 15.06.1988 - 10.12.2008

Pushpa teaching at Koslanda, October 2008
Pushparekha 15.06.1988 - 10.12.2008

If I do not write this note, the world may forget Pushparekha soon. I am writing this note as I think she is symbolic as a Nanasala (Telecenter) operator and also important for us to remember as a person who contributed for what we all do in this movement.

We met Pushpa on 28th January 2007, when we visited Koslanda Nanasala. She was teaching ICT to some kids. Until that day she was an unknown Nanasala operator, innocent, humble, and beautiful too. She could not speak much Sinhala or English, I could not speak much Tamil But we communicated using all languages. She was a wonderful Nanasala operator with education and commitment.

She had come to Nanasala as a one of the first students to learn ICT. She did well under Srikanthan teaching and later became an ICT teacher for students. When we asked about her future plans, she said that her aim is to learn more ICT, complete a degree and become a better ICT teacher at Nanasala to develop the children. Then today only, I hear that she has passed away after meeting a tragic landslide accident created by monsoon rain.

She became a Telecenter operator as she wanted to serve. She didn't accept job offers that came her way in Colombo. It may have been because she wanted to be in the community and with her family.

She served those who are least served in Koslanda, a distant rural village from us. She delivered what we plan, She was the interface and the most important link to the community we serve. Her community was mostly poor estate children.

She may have taken only a small allowance. She gave her youth life totally committed to Nanasala and to develop her community.

When I met her again for the second time in May 2008, we didn't have much time for conversation. She served us a home grown cup of tea. I can still remember her as a happy smiling person, a one that needed by Telecenters.

She may have been the First ICT Teacher for many kids who will remember her kindness and what she thought. Someday some of these kids will take her route to become Nanasala operators, and do more to change the world.

In coming January we had planned her to invite for e-BIT online degree programme at Colombo University, She was one of the good prospectus with the need and commitment. But before she could complete her Telecenter Journey, we hear that she's gone.

As I hear, her house went under a landslide in heavy rain, her family has become homeless, now living in an orphanage, and she faced major injuries and fought for her life for 20 days. She was supposed to bring to Colombo National Hospital when she closed her eyes for ever. I think we have had some way to help her when she was helpless in an ICU of a rural hospital.

Life would have become different, if she left Nanasala and took the job offered in Colombo, or got married and left the community. However she choosed to be a Nanasala operator until she crossed the line of living.

When kids come to Nanasala for their next lesson of ICT, they will find that she is no longer be there. Some kids are so small to understand, will wait until she shows up and some may even stop coming to Nanasala, if she is not there any more.

When Pushpa Rekha faced with the tragic accident of a natural disaster, she was doing her service, she was not known to many, although she was member of a large community movement.

At least now we can recognize her service and contribution, which makes significant and a noble act to up lift the sprit of Nenasla community. We will remember her, because she represents many such silent Telecenter operators, who serve the last, taking nothing but giving everything to develop our world.

She was not another person but a symbol, a Telecenter operator and a community leader, an ICT teacher and a friend at the Telecenter for many. Let us remember Pushpa Rekha as a continuing spirit in Telecenter movement.

At the sometime let us work towards to uplift other Nanasala operator lives like Pushpa...

In Memory of Pushpa Rekha
The Smiling Nenasala Operator of Koslanda

Niranjan Meegammmana
10th December 2008

See also: "In Memory of Pushparekha" by Patrick Harrigan