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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Keishia Fernandopulle

Growing up I was faced with many situations that caused me to see how the greedy benefited by pushing the less fortunate down. This stemmed my understanding of the importance of contributing positively to the community, as well as my desire to make an impact to mitigate some of the losses of people who are less fortunate, which led me to pursue many initiatives. Last year, I restored homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi. Over the summer, I travelled to Sri Lanka where I volunteered at an orphanage for disabled children and interned at government's human rights commission.

Additional Information

Personal Definition of Sustainability

I believe that sustainability in the business world is the ability for a business to meet the "triple bottom line" standard. This means that businesses acknowledge that their actions have negative social or environmental consequences and take necessary actions to mitigate the effect. This essentially allows businesses to meet the needs of the consumers without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their own needs, while remaining profitable. I also believe that by mitigating lost opportunity for others, sustainability fulfills the principle of "teaching a man to fish" by creating equal opportunities in the world.

Sustainability-In-Action

I have participated in various sustainability projects, mainly within NGOs and government organizations. In 2009, I organized a fundraising project at Prithipura Infant's Home, an orphanage for disabled children in Sri Lanka, resulting in $5000 in donations. Last summer, I returned to the orphanage to volunteer at the home and take care of the children. While I was in Sri Lanka, I also interned at the Human Rights Institute, a local NGO, and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. During my internship, I researched migrant human rights issues and created a presentation for various policies that should be implemented to protect their rights. I also critiqued Sri Lanka's "National Action Plan" by writing a report that highlighted and resolved loopholes in the document and gave further recommendations to protect the rights of Sri Lankan citizens. I also went to Biloxi, Mississippi with Habitat for Humanity where I restored homes damaged from Hurricane Katrina, as well as participated in other activities, such as clearing forest and environment degradation and volunteering at the local Boys and Girls club. For summer 2013, I am planning to work for a NGO or the government to further explore my interests in this field.