Sarosh Syed (Sri Lanka)

Sarosh Syed (Home for Human Rights – HHR – Sri Lanka): Sarosh is from Karachi, Pakistan. He moved to the United States in 1995 to attend Northwestern University where he received a BA in Math and Art History. After graduating from NU, Sarosh went to work for the software industry specializing in language translation and localization software. After a brief stint of traveling in Europe, he turned to the non-profit world. He worked with environmental organizations such as Conservation International, the Public Interest Research Group and social justice organizations such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the American Civil Liberties Union. Most of his Ngo work concerned marketing and communications. At the time of his fellowship, Sarosh was studying for a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree at Georgetown University.

Here goes…

28 May

I arrived in my hometown of Karachi, Pakistan last night Ц I leave for Colombo tomorrow morning. Between Washington, D.C. and Karachi, I have had 20-odd hours to think about what IТm going to find once I get to Sri Lanka. Part of me thinks the summer will be the proverbial piece of cake, but another, equally substantial part is convinced that IТm in WAY over my head. I am accustomed to working with small, under-funded, and often chaotic NGOs, and I grew up in a developing country in South Asia, so the summer shouldnТt be too much of a challenge. On the other hand, I speak none of the local Sri Lankan languages, IТm not much of a fan of the heat, and the guesthouse IТm staying at is all out of air conditioned rooms. The word УdisasterФ comes to mind.

But regardless of whether the summer will be a light-hearted breeze or a grueling misadventure, I know it will be meaningful. Many of the briefings and reports I read to prepare myself for the summer identify tsunami reconstruction and abatement of the government/LTTE conflict as the two major hurdles to Sri Lankan development. How often does one get an opportunity to work with an organization thatТs working on both? This fact alone is enough to make me look forward to my time with the Home for Human Rights, be it a cakewalk or a catastrophe.

All these concerns, however, can wait till later. Right now, I need to beat my jetlag.

Posted By Sarosh Syed (Sri Lanka)

Posted May 28th, 2005

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