Poornima is a twenty-two year old young designer from Kandy. She is currently reading for her Northumbria University UK Animation Design degree through AOD. Schooled at the Pushpadana Girls College Kandy, Poornima recently got a rare recognition for a Sri Lankan designer by getting featured on the legendary media house BBC online. To mark International Women's Day, women from 11 countries who are using technology to make a difference were documented on BBC. Poornima was among these women. Her work uses animation as a medium to create awareness and empathy for women, with a special focus on online harassment and bullying.
Speaking about her achievement, Poornima mentioned that she never expected her animation project to receive worldwide attention through BBC; “I never thought my first international interview will end up getting featured on BBC. It was a great opportunity to be featured along with those amazing women in tech. I'm really happy that it also brought attention to the topic of cyber harassment of girls on internet, which is a big issue in Sri Lanka although not too many know about it.” Local authorities protecting women and children have shown concern over the growing trend of harassing and blackmailing propagated through online media.
There is a dire need for the issue to be discussed in schools and young women who need to learn how to protect themselves online and young men who need to be educated and made empathetic towards cyber harassment of girls. Poornima’s project discusses this growing issue by using animation design, as an interactive digital medium to reach young minds. “With internet use growing fast day by day, cyber harassment grows with it .The group most vulnerable to this today, is young girls. Although there are laws to take action against these issues, I believe that laws alone cannot stop it and never have been able to. But it can definitely be helped through empathy and awareness. My project called ‘Respect Girls on Internet’ uses animation design and technology to prevent cyber harassment by creating empathy and awareness”, Poornima explained.
Poornima is now a young leader spearheading change through animation design to spread awareness at school level. She also presented her work at the Internet Governance Forum 2016
This bright young animation designer doesn’t want to stop here; her plan is to keep using animation design as a medium to reach the masses about important discussions that need to made with the youth; “my future aspiration is to become an animator and film director focusing on social issues and the problems that our society faces, as well as solutions for them through film. I continued my work and shared it at The Internet Governance Forum that happened in Sri Lanka recently too. Here, we shared a short film about how a group of kids bully a girl through WhatsApp, which happens a lot here."
Poornima will graduate with a world-class Northumbria Universiry UK degree this year from AOD, which is currently training her to take on her future aspirations with the right knowledge and skills. She said that her friends and family as well as her campus AOD were behind her early success; “I want to thank my family and all my friends who were there with me from the beginning, Shilpa Sayura Foundation and Adobe Foundation for providing me resources and a platform for my community development work. I really want to thank AOD where I study and my teachers there who inspired and supported me to come this far.”
To find out more about Poornima’s work, or how designers are recognised among influential change makers in society and to learn about successful design careers, reach AOD on 0775980141, 0115867772/3, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit 29, Lauries Road Colombo 4 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.