Free services can be taken for granted - Himaya Niyas

16 July 2020 12:00 am - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Himaya Niyas is a Colombo district candidate representing Independent Group 10. She is an active social worker and an entrepreneur in the beauty industry, who also trains youth through an entrepreneurship training programme at the Maharagama Urban Council.   

Q Your educational and professional qualifications?
I have completed my secondary school education, sat for the Ordinary Level and Advanced Level Examinations. I’m a qualified beautician, with my own business. I have been training in this field since I was 18 years old.   


What influenced your decision to contest the election?
Even though I work in the beauty industry, I was completely dedicated to social work. Through my work as a beautician I have met a lot of women, who seemed to have constant issues. I have often helped them, mediated in some issues, advised them, helped when they fall ill and sometimes I have even helped them financially. Gradually there was a small crowd around me.   

I was then offered the opportunity to represent women of my electorate, which I accepted.   

As a social worker I didn’t feel like I needed to contest an election to do my work. I was worried that people may misunderstand my social work as a campaign for elections. But a lot of people I had helped along the way, volunteered to organise meetings and canvass for the election with me. A lot of people have gathered around me to support my decision.   


What is your vision for children and youth?
First of all I would look at the street children issue in Colombo. There are children in some areas who have absolutely no education. Their clothes are worn and torn. We have this idea that Colombo’s people are from well-to-do and middle class backgrounds. That’s false.   

There are streets in Mattakkuliya or Kolonnawa, suffering in poverty. When parents are not educated the children in these areas are also not educated. Even though education is free, some parents are not even knowledgeable enough to enter their children to the school system. If these problems are not addressed at the correct time, it leads to our youth either wasting their potential or drifting towards substance abuse. We need to change this and appoint people to look into their welfare at the community level. That is what I would do first if elected.   


Don’t you believe that the Grama Niladhari is capable of addressing at least some of these issues?
If the Grama Niladhari officer was capable, these people wouldn’t be suffering as much. But these are just appointments, there are transfers and they have a separate body of work. What I wish to see is for another person or a committee to be appointed in order to supplement the
Grama Niladhari’s work.   

What are your thoughts on community development?

I wish to see at least a 75% engagement of youth, for the betterment of their own community. I was recently asked by a young girl if I could get the sewers in her area cleaned. I made her an offer. I asked her to organise a group of young men and women of her area to initiate a shramadana campaign to clean the sewers. I promised a team of workers from my end as well, as long as the community and the youth too were interested and involved in maintaining the cleanliness of their surroundings. I believe it is important to inculcate a work ethic and culture where we try to solve our problems with some help from others. Free services can be taken for granted. 


  Have you ever reconsidered something that you wanted to do because you are a woman?
Not at all. I have reached where I am gradually. I don’t take these things as a challenge. Instead I look at them as achievable goals.   


Do you think we need more women participating in politics?
Only a woman can relate to another woman’s needs. As women are an important unit in the family set up, they tend to have a different approach to solving problems than men. Many of the problems experienced by women can be solved with the help of another woman. We need more women to speak up. I believe more Muslim women should participate in politics as well as social work. This is what I wish to support.   


Why should people vote for you?
Your vote is at your discretion. I won’t ask the people for their vote. Perhaps they may not even vote for me. But whatever amount of votes I receive I will gladly accept to continue my work for the people.   

  Comments - 10

  • Sashi Thursday, 16 July 2020 03:52 AM

    First make sure that Muslim women have the same rights as other Sri Lankan women- that should be your priority!

    sharmila Thursday, 16 July 2020 09:18 AM

    Hey first of all we need to address females as Sri Lankan ladies. Don't you think that overall female empowerment is still lacking in all communities? Discussing firstly we need to limit sending Sri Lankan females as domestic workers to the Middle East. Next we need to stop the abuse and violence against women . And finally we need to act on avoiding women getting into prostitution. These are the general problems we are facing as a society. Just coz women cover their heads and faces do not think that muslim women are kept as dummies and households. Thursday, 16 July 2020 11:45 AM

    first see your house.. then u can tell others

    Kanishka Thursday, 16 July 2020 11:00 AM

    Reply to Sharmila- Firstly, Muslim women are the least empowered of Sri Lankan women- fact. This is nothing to do with covering their heads or staying at home. Domestic violence against women and prostitution should be addressed, but these are universal issues, not just prevalent in Sri Lanka. Inequality between the genders should be dealt with first, and many Muslim women do not have the same rights within their community as other Sri Lankan women. E.g. Age of marriage, quasi courts, etc. Do they even have a way to express their problems without being thrown out of their community?

    Don Thursday, 16 July 2020 08:44 PM

    in private sector many females executives spread their legs in front of male managers for greater perks. Some other worker has to bare the impact of these inappropriate and unethical occurrings by sacrificing their deserved promotions and pay hikes. Women should voice this too. This is a major modern trend/issue in Sri Lanka's private sector..

    City Friday, 17 July 2020 07:36 AM

    This happens in all sectors. including schools, universities etc.even at hospitals.

    Amina Friday, 17 July 2020 04:12 PM

    Don't you wish. Unfortunately more men harass women in the work place cos of this archaic view.

    Lanka putha Friday, 17 July 2020 12:40 PM

    You are absolutely correct. They want everything free. At least pay some thing so they know the value of it. Good luck with your election campaign. See you soon in the Parliament

    fairplay Saturday, 18 July 2020 02:23 AM

    @Reply to Kanishka, what kind of ignorant fool are you?, how do you know Muslim women have no rights?, They have all the rights and they are well looked after by their families and community at large. So don't worry about them and the statistics say very high number of girls (including young children) get sexually abused and molested by their close relatives mainly in the Sinhalese community. So first go and liberate them and then you can worry about others.

    Peduru Siridasa Sunday, 19 July 2020 05:19 PM

    You are correct if you have no head! Banda Parippu!

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