Visually impaired UoC alumnus wins Commonwealth Masters Scholarship to read Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK.
Ridmi Handapangoda, alumnus and former Assistant Lecturer of the Department of Sinhala, University of Colombo, was awarded the Commonwealth Masters Scholarship 2023/24 to pursue a Masters degree in Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University, UK. Ridmi was recruited to the Department of Sinhala in November 2020, subsequent to her graduation in which she won five gold medals in recognition of her academic excellence including the Neil Bandaranaike Memorial Prize and Gold medal for the aggregate best performance at the Faculty of Arts in 2019. Ridmi is a totally visually impaired individual who advocates for equal access and empowerment of people with disabilities. She is seen as a role model by many students in the faculty given her commitments, courage and unflagging efforts to reach academic excellence in spite of the difficulties and limitations she encounters due to her visual impairment. During her tenure as an Assistant Lecturer, Ridmi dedicated herself to maintaining and improving inclusive education standards within the Department, even in the face of the ‘new normal.’ Drawing from her own experiences as a student with a disability, she constructively applied her past endurance to facilitate the smooth transition of disabled students into online education. Ridmi holds a deep belief in the ‘boon of the loss,’ an idea that she hopes will guide her on her path to becoming a linguist with a special focus on inclusive language education. With her exceptional research skills and unwavering rigor, Ridmi has presented papers at both national and international symposia, delving into the realms of Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics, and language education. Her primary research areas center around visual-centric practices in language and spelling. Ridmi’s postgraduate pursuits exemplify her commitment to catalyzing a paradigm shift within Sri Lankan language education, particularly in the realm of disability inclusion. Her dedication to this cause has garnered recognition from the University of Colombo, which eagerly anticipates her future academic endeavors.