When I first met Major Dushyantha Yapa, an amazingly courageous totally blind soldier it was somewhere in 2007 at Ranaviru Sewana, Ragama. Some friends of mine from Australia and the USA had arranged some donations to Ranaviru Sevana and I was introduced to Dushyantha at one of the visits I made to Ranaviru Sevana.
Dushyantha was in army uniform and he had dark sunglasses covering his eyes. What attracted me most was his broad smile. I don’t know how someone in his circumstances can smile like that. He is totally blind as a result of his final battle with the LTTE at Mankulam in 1998.
Being blind has not affected his spirits. He is always positive minded and treat everyone with a warm smile and makes any newly introduced person very comfortable within a few minutes. He has got that proverbial never-say-die attitude and takes things easily.
He has been in the Sri Lanka Army since 1995 and has taken part in many a battle from “Edibala” to liberate Vaunia – Mannar Road, to the last phase of “Jaya Sikuruy” operation. He was injured before two days of the winding up of the operation Jaya Sikuruy.
Dushyantha’s dad is a retired army captain mother is a retired graduate teacher. One of his brothers died of cancer in 2004. His younger brother works in a shipping company.
Dushyantha married Darshani in 2009 and now has one kid. His love story is an extremely interesting one. Read it with his own writing at http://dushyapa.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/how-i-met-my-wife-and-got-married/
Dushyantha was an active athlete before he was injured and the blindness did not become a big barrier for his sports as he took up blind archery and kept winning tournaments. He once went to England for a blind archery tournament. Dushyantha possesses the national and army records on 100m, 200m and long jump events under totally blind category. He has also taken part in 2 Asian para games one in Malaysia in 2006 and next one in China in 2010. Read more about his sporting talents at http://dushyapa.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/dushyantha-the-fastest-blind-runner-in-sri-lanka-part-1-2/
Major Dushyantha is best known within the army ranks for his computer skills. He has contributed a lot to Ranaviru Sewana with his computer expertise. He is adept in computer programs that are made for the blind. Computers and the Internet have helped him to immensely minimize his disability and be in touch with current developments in and around the world. (Read his post about how the blind use computers at http://dushyapa.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/how-do-blind-people-use-computers/)
Dushyantha now works at Abhimansala, Anuradhapura as a Special Education Officer.
Dushyantha recently became a blogger after I kept encouraging him to do so as I thought his blog would be an inspiration to others. His English is exceptional and the post he wrote about the battle he was injured in is a good example to see his English skills. He has more or less the same vocabulary the war correspondent Iqbal Athas has in the above mentioned post. (Read the post about how he was injured in his own writing at http://dushyapa.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/my-final-battle-as-an-infantry-officer-and-last-memories-of-the-sighted-life/.)
Visit his blog at http://dushyapa.wordpress.com/