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With an assorted bundle of serviettes, dusters, and bed sheets carefully balanced over his head, Piyadasa’s working day stretches from 11am to 11pm. Feeling his way around with a walking stick, his journey through the bustling streets of Colombo is patched with obstacles that includes angry conductors refusing to give him a ride, physical injuries caused due to unseen puddles and slips on the paved road, days of hunger and thirst, and petty thieves and pickpockets taking advantage of his condition. In spite of all this he continues his business daily in order to put bread on the table for his wife and 2 children. Piyadasa is also blind in both eyes.

Born in Matara, a healthy boy with no defects, Piyadasa lost his sight at the age of four due to a misdiagnosed eye condition.  As time passed his family gave priority to his education sending him to Rakwana School for the Blind, where he would meet the friends that would later take him to a training institute in Seeduwa. During a period of 2 years, Piyadasa learned how to weave clothes and then sell them.  However when the government’s economy over turned, his business trickled down to the foot retailing of clothes.

Piyadasa lives with his family in a small, incomplete house he started to build in 1986. Years of labor and toil scream from every corner of the house with no grills on the wooden windows, a decayed roof, cracked walls which have sunken in, and a toilet at the point of falling down.  His children of 12 and 25, one studying in grade 8 and the other in university, require around Rs 15,000 per month to satisfy their educational requirements. But as times modernize, people use tissues instead of handkerchiefs, offices use air conditioners for dusters, and imported foreign fabric is favored instead of locally woven cloth. All this have great negative impact on the Piyadasa’s world.

However as a strong-willed and responsible father and husband, Piyadasa’s only wish is for financial support to keep his children in school and help for the completion and reparation of his dilapidated house.

Piyadasa cannot see the lives he is helping which is why his immense love and courage is truly admirable and one of a kind.

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